CIEL Protects the global environment and human health, Donate To CIEL Donate Now

CIEL’s current projects include:

Additional highlights of our work over the last two decades include:

2009 CIEL successfully represents former sugarcane workers in Nicaragua involved in a complaint against an IFC-funded sugarcane plantation-ethanol project who are affected by an epidemic of chronic kidney disease and achieves systemic reforms in how the IFC evaluates risks associated with its projects; CIEL serves as part of the UNEP secretariat with respect to mercury, providing insights that launch international negotiations, breaking years of impasse.
2008 CIEL helps engineer a UN Human Rights Council resolution that links climate change and human rights; CIEL helps accelerate REACH, the sweeping European chemicals law, and assists companies seeking safer alternatives to toxic chemicals.
2007 CIEL organizes and testifies at a hearing of the IACHR (the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) concerning the devastating impacts of global warming on human rights, leading to a recognition of the impact on human rights from climate change. View Inuit Case
2006 CIEL protects the human rights of indigenous communities in San Mateo, Peru, from mining contamination, and obtains the first ruling from the IACHR that pollution can violate human rights.
2005 CIEL obtains the first ruling from an investment arbitration panel operating under the rules of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) that establishes the panel’s authority to accept amicus curiae briefs despite objections from disputing parties.
2004 CIEL co-organizes the All-Asia Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, bringing together more than 50 public interest lawyers from around the region.
2003 CIEL assists in settling the BioBio case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on precedent-setting terms that are favorable to the indigenous people being displaced by a large dam project.
2002 CIEL and Earthjustice file a petition on behalf of Bolivian partners and others in an investment dispute stemming from the “Water War” in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
2001 CIEL, along with Earthjustice and others, petitions to file an amicus curiae brief in the Methanex Corporation arbitration, a precedent-setting attempt to open the NAFTA arbitration process to civil society.
2000 CIEL leads a campaign to protect big-leaf mahogany under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
1999 CIEL provides support to the Philippines-based Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center in a Supreme Court hearing that upheld the constitutionality of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997.
1998 CIEL provides legal analysis and support to the international effort that defeats the Multilateral Agreement on Investment.
1997 CIEL, with the Center for Marine Conservation and other NGOs, submits an amicus curiae brief to the WTO Dispute Settlement Panel on the controversy over the killing of turtles by shrimping practices.
1996 CIEL pushes for greater transparency at the WTO and issues a Handbook for Obtaining Documents from the World Trade Organization.
1995 CIEL and other groups persuade the Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity to adopt recommendations for marine and coastal conservation.
1994 CIEL assists in creating Centro Mexicano Derecho Ambiental, the first public interest environmental law organization in Mexico.
1993 CIEL and other groups successfully convince the World Bank to establish the precedent-setting World Bank Inspection Panel.
1992 CIEL launches the Joint Research Program in International Environmental Law with American University’s Washington College of Law.
1991 CIEL launches its Trade and Environment Program, with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which continues to be a driving force for environmental protection and sustainable development.
1990 Along with European groups, CIEL successfully lobbies the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to become the first international financial institution with the concept of “environmentally sound and sustainable development” included in its mandate.
1989 CIEL provides assistance to the Association of Small Island States regarding negotiation of the climate change regime.

Learn More!

To receive CIEL's monthy newletter, click here.


"CIEL provides critical legal support to indigenous peoples, which allows us to defend our rights at the international level."

—Adolfo Millabur Ñancuil, Coordinaciõn de Identidades Territoriales, Mapuche, Tirúa, Chile

Protecting the Global Environment and
Human Health

CIEL uses and strengthens international environmental law through the conservation of biological diversity, mitigation of climate change, protection of endangered species, and the control and elimination of toxic chemicals.

We seek to advance a responsible international framework for regulating nanotechnologies as well as to protect our oceans and the marine life they harbor.

James Cameron“You know that a CIEL attorney understands international law, knows how it relates to domestic law, especially here in the US, and understands comparative law so they know others who work on environmental issues using their legal skills in other legal jurisdictions. They share information. They share experience. This gives them real strength when arguing their positions.”

- James Cameron, Co-founder, CIEL Executive Director and Vice Chairman, Climate Change Capital, London, England


Family On Farm


CIEL (UNITED STATES) | 1350 CONNECTICUT AVENUE, NW SUITE #1100 | WASHINGTON, DC 20036| PHONE: (202) 785-8700 FAX: (202) 785-8701 | E-MAIL:
CIEL (SWITZERLAND) | 15 RUE DES SAVOISES, 1205 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND | PHONE:41-22-789-0500 FAX: 41-22-789-0739 | E-MAIL: