CIEL focuses its work around three program areas:
Climate & Energy Program (C&E)
The goal of CIEL’s Climate & Energy Program is to develop and use a body of international law to effectively address the threat of climate change while promoting a just and sustainable society. To achieve this goal, we work to hold state and corporate actors responsible for their contributions—both actions and inactions—to climate change; address harms already occurring as a result of climate change; push governments and key financial institutions to take urgent action to mitigate climate change and transition to clean energy sources; build capacity of and provide direct support to affected communities to defend their rights in strategic cases; and work to ensure that measures to address climate change do not harm but rather benefit people and the environment.
The Environmental Health program is deeply engaged in the fight to improve the regulation of toxic chemicals around the world and to prevent actions that will undermine the progress that has been made. The program combines over twenty years of experience working to reform US, EU and global laws for chemical management with recognized expertise in the area of international trade law to protect our right – and the right of future generations – to a healthy planet. To achieve this, we seek to create a stronger legal regime to limit toxic exposure by leveraging progress in one region to accelerate change globally. We have worked with EU partners to push the EU towards bold action on emerging areas of concern, namely endocrine disruptors and nanomaterials. We also work with NGO partners and coalitions in the global south to prevent the leakage of pollution to vulnerable communities with limited resources, and to support communities affected by toxic exposure from industrial processes, like metal mining.
The People, Land & Resources Program (PLR) seeks to protect and defend the environment and human rights against the adverse impacts of development. We work at all levels – from international to grassroots – to ensure that the laws and policies governing development activities are consistent with those protecting the environment and human rights; and to hold governments and corporations accountable for their actions. Our team scrutinizes the companies that carry out development projects, the banks that finance them, and the governments that promote and regulate them to determine the best legal leverage to protect human rights and the environment. The PLR Program focuses primarily on those development activities that create the greatest risks for land and resource rights, including extractive industries and agribusiness.