2010 International Environmental Law Award Recipient – Donald Kaniaru
The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) is pleased to award the 2010 CIEL International Environmental Law Award to Mr. Donald Kaniaru, an advocate and specialist in international and environmental law. This award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the efforts to achieve solutions to environmental problems through international law and institutions. Mr. Kaniaru is honored for his many distinguished contributions to the development and implementation of international environmental law.
Mr. Donald Kaniaru has wide experience and expertise in environmental law and diplomacy having worked with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and with Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He had an extraordinary career and made many outstanding contributions as legal officer and senior legal adviser at UNEP, as head of the agency’s law unit, and at over 30 regular and special sessions of UNEP’s Governing Council.
Mr. Kaniaru worked at UNEP for three decades, and most recently served as Director in the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He made immeasurable contributions to UNEP and the fight for a healthy planet throughout his career with the organization, and played an instrumental role in negotiating and drafting various international law instruments for several landmark UN conferences. As head of the environmental law, legal advisor and programme manager, he participated in all aspects of UNEP’s work, including capacity building and implementation and enforcement of environmental law. Mr. Kaniaru also served as Special Senior Legal Advisor to the Executive Director of UNEP. He was a voice of reason and consistency through the many governing meetings he attended.
Mr. Kaniaru currently is the managing partner of Kaniaru and Kaniaru Advocates, and is the Chair of the National Environmental Tribunal of Kenya. He remains active in international environmental protection efforts.
About Donald Kaniaru
Donald Kaniaru is a citizen of Kenya. He is an environmental lawyer by profession, who has worked with Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Kenya, holding a number of positions including Counselor/Under Secretary. He is regularly invited as Resource Person to brief ambassadors and diplomatic staff at Kenya’s Foreign Service Institute.
Mr. Kaniaru joined the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1975. As head of the environmental law, legal advisor and programme manager, he participated in all aspects of UNEP’s work. When Mr. Kaniaru became Director of Environmental Implementation at UNEP, he was responsible for capacity building, implementation and enforcement of environmental law, the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and the Dams and Development Project.
As the Director of the Division of Environmental Conventions, his responsibilities included promoting and enhancing linkages and synergies among multilateral environmental agreements and related legal instruments and programmes. Mr. Kaniaru has also served as Special Senior Legal Advisor to the Executive Director of UNEP. His experience includes participating in, leading, and chairing negotiations on different issues at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE), the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), the OAU, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the Asian African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO).
He is a member of the Law Society of Kenya, the East African Law Society, the British Institute of Public and Comparative Law, the International Council of Environmental Lawyers (ICEL), and the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law. He has served on the Board of Trustees for CIEL since 2004. Mr. Kaniaru’s more recent appointments include chairman of the National Environmental Tribunal of Kenya and member of the Board of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development. He is also Regional Governor, International Council of Environmental Law, and the Council’s representative to the United Nations in Nairobi.
Mr. Kaniaru’s main interests are in public and environmental law, law of the sea, oceans and natural resources and management, policy and administration, comparative law, UN administrative law and procedural issues as well as human rights law as well as issues related to public access and enforcement of environmental law, multilateral negotiations and management, including: compliance and enforcement of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), environmental policies, institution-building and overall capacity enhancement in different areas of environmental law, and project implementation and evaluation.
Mr. Kaniaru has co-authored many articles and contributed to a number of books and publications. He co-edited Making Law Work – Environmental Compliance and Sustainable Development (2005, Vol 1 and 2), and edited the Montreal Protocol – Celebrating 20 Years of Environmental Progress – Ozone Layer and Climate Protection. Mr. Kaniaru received the Elizabeth Haub Prize for International Environmental Law in 2009. He has an LL.B. (Hons) from the University of East Africa in Dar Es Salaam and attended the Kenya School of Law. Mr. Kaniaru is an advocate of the Kenya High Court.
Mr. Kaniaru joins an illustrious group of individuals who have received this award in the past. Louis B. Sohn received the inaugural CIEL International Environmental Law Award in 2003, followed by Alexandre Charles Kiss (France) in 2004, Drs. Francoise Burhenne-Guilmin (Belgium) and Wolfgang Burhenne (Austria) in 2005, Ambassador Raul Estrada-Oyuela (Argentina) in 2006, Professor Edith Brown Weiss (USA) in 2007, Antonio A. Oposa Jr. (Philippines) in 2008, the four co-founders of CIEL (James Cameron, Wendy Dinner, Philippe Sands, Durwood Zaelke), and Barbara Shaw in 2009 and, a special institutional International Environmental Law Award given to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP, Kenya) also in 2009.