2005 International Environmental Law Award Recipient – Doctors Burhenne-Guilman and Burhenne

Francoise Burhenne-Guilmin and Wolfgang Burhenne have played leading roles in furthering the field of international environmental law as an essential component of environmental management. They have been leaders in the field through their work with the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Environmental Law Programme, and have been directly involved in nearly every major international conservation convention over the past twenty-five years.

Dr. Francoise Burhenne-Guilmin was Head of the IUCN’s Environmental Law Centre from its beginning in 1970 until her semi-retirement in 1999. Under her leadership, the Centre developed the world’s most extensive collection of legislative texts. Currently she serves as Senior Counsel for the Centre. She has been active in an extremely impressive set of international environmental protection efforts and has collaborated with a wide range of partner non-governmental organizations.

Dr. Wolfgang Burhenne serves as the IUCN’s legal adviser and Head of the Environmental Law Centre in Bonn, Germany. He was one of the founders of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), established in 1961 in the Morges Manifesto. He also served as Chairman of the IUCN’s Commission on Environmental Law from 1963-1969 and 1977-1990. Dr. Burhenne is one of only two persons to have participated in every United Nations Environment Programme Governing Council meeting (the other is CIEL Trustee Donald Kaniaru.) Following the Second World War, during which he spent 37 months in Dakau, Wolfgang commenced the study of law. This was interrupted by a call to work in the Bavarian ministry for natural resources. He never returned to the study of law but has been granted two honorary doctorates.

One of the couple’s first accomplishments was working with the Organization of African Unity to establish the Algiers Conservation Convention in 1968. They played significant roles in creating the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); the 1982 World Charter for Nature, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly; and the 1985 Association for South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Agreement on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Together, the Doctors Burhenne have made extraordinary contributions to the protection of the environment.