The Environmental Law Institute will present the 2017 Environmental Law Achievement Award to Achim Steiner “for his visionary leadership on global sustainability and rule of law in the environmental setting” on 18 October 2017 in Washington, D.C.
The annual Environmental Law Institute (ELI) Environmental Achievement Award this year honors Achim Steiner (Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)) for his career-long service to environmental conservation. Among his accomplishments he served as IUCN’s Senior Advisor for Global Policy in the IUCN-US office in the mid-1990’s involved in coordinating IUCN’s input at key policy and law meetings, particularly marine issues, as environmental issues became regular agenda items of the United Nations. He then served as IUCN Director General from 2001-2006 where he was a strong supporter of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, as well as the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law’s (WCEL) work to highlight the role, and increase the capacity, of the judiciary in upholding the rule of law to protect the environment and human rights.
As Executive Director of UN Environment from 2006-2015, Steiner provided leadership and vision for a number of accomplishments including the groundbreaking report, “Towards a Green Economy” putting the concept on the international agenda and building toward adoption of the outcome document “The future we want” by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Furthermore, these efforts drove vital contributions to the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Minimata Convention on Mercury. Scott Fulton, ELI President, is quoted as saying that, “Achim Steiner has been a singular champion for the rule of law in the environmental sphere, positioning environmental law at the heart of sustainable development and a just, fair, and sustainable future for everyone.” Such leadership includes inspiring the 2012 World Congress on Justice, Governance, and Law for Sustainable Development, and playing a key role to launch the Global Judicial Institute on the Environment in 2016.
Since 1984, the ELI Environmental Achievement Award has honored individuals and organizations for demonstrating outstanding commitment to environmental protection. Past honorees have included David Sive, Joseph Sax, Stewart Udall, Jane Lubchenko, the City of New York, and late WCEL members Bill Futrell, Françoise Burhenne-Guilmin, and Wolfgang E. Burhenne.