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Kristen Genovese, Senior Attorney

Photo of Kristen Genovese, CIEL Senior AttorneyMs. Genovese is a Senior Attorney for CIEL's International Financial Institutions Program and the Director of the organization's Law & Communities Program. Together with her colleague, Nira Amerasinghe, Ms. Genovese also coordinates CIEL’s intern program.

Since 2007, Ms. Genovese has been providing legal support to sugarcane workers in Nicaragua affected by chronic kidney disease to help determine the cause of the epidemic and to obtain improved health and social services. She also works with mining-affected communities in Guatemala and Bolivia.

Prior to joining CIEL in June 2007, she was International Counsel at Defenders of Wildlife where she focused on the implementation and enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In particular, she lobbied CITES parties to address the illegal and unsustainable logging of mahogany in Peru. She also led a campaign to improve environmental protections in the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement, resulting in an Annex on Forest Sector Governance and the incorporation of a requirement to implement and enforce obligations under several multilateral environmental agreements.

Ms. Genovese was a Law Fellow at the Environmental Law Institute after graduating from law school. Prior to law school, Ms. Genovese spent a year in the Ecuadorian Amazon taking photographs of trees for a project started by former CIEL Fellow Margot Bass.

Ms. Genovese received her law degree from New York University School of Law in 2004. During her time at NYU, she interned at Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (the Mexican Center for Environmental Law) and Earthjustice's International Program. Her B.S. in Environmental Policy and Behavior is from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and the Environment. This is her third tour at CIEL. She interned at CIEL as an undergrad and then worked for a year as a Program Associate for the Biodiversity and Trade Programs.

Ms. Genovese can be reached at


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ASOCHIVIDA Community Members in Nicaragua
“For the last 10 years, we have been suffering from a health crisis of epidemic proportions. Every day, we have seen our companeros die from chronic kidney disease. Six years ago we created ASOCHIVIDA to look for solutions, to improve the lives of the people here, and find the cause of the disease. For that reason, we looked for help at the international level, and in 2006, students at Yale University put us in touch with CIEL. We never imagined a mediation process that today is now being advanced with the help of CIEL.

CIEL Attorney Kris Genovese prepared the complaint and brought the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman of the World Bank to Nicaragua. But most importantly she has provided the moral and psychological support to keep fighting, to strengthen ASOCHIVIDA, and to participate in a dialogue with the company.

With her help, we have achieved a lot from the negotiations. We now have monthly food distribution to 1800 members of ASOCHIVIDA, $100,000 microcredit facility, and we have Boston University undertaking a study to determine the cause of the disease. We very much appreciate the help that CIEL and Kris have given us. We hope that with her help we can improve the lives of the sugarcane workers here.”

- Community members of ASOCHIVIDA, Nicaragua

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