CIEL Awards Dinah Shelton 2016 International Environmental Law Award

December 14, 2016

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) today announced that it has awarded the 2016 International Environmental Law Award to Dinah Shelton, emeritus Manatt/Ahn Professor of Law at the George Washington University of Law. The award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the effort to achieve solutions to environmental problems through international law and institutions.

Professor Shelton’s award recognizes her more than four decades of contributions to the theory and practice of international environmental law and international human rights – and to the progressive integration of both.

A globally recognized scholar in both international environmental law and international human rights, Professor Shelton made critical advances in both fields and contributed directly to their integration through her roles as a Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and as a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights from 2010-2014. Of particular note is her leadership during a term as Commission President, at a time when the Commission faced profound political pressure from Parties for its precautionary measures in environmental cases.

“As human rights take an ever-greater role in the climate debate in the wake of the global Paris Agreement, it is a particularly fitting time to recognize Professor Shelton’s contributions,” says CIEL President Carroll Muffett. ”Climate change is at once the greatest threat to the planet and the greatest threat to human rights we have ever faced, Dr. Shelton’s work laid the foundations to enable us to recognize and confront those challenges together.”

“Recognition from CIEL is a high honor indeed, and I am most appreciative of the laudatory citation,” says Professor Shelton. “I have to note that as nearly all my work has been in collaboration with other scholars and activists, they merit equal or greater acknowledgment for any and all of the advances achieved. There remain daunting challenges which I hope the community can meet; in this CIEL will always be a leader.”

Professor Shelton holds the singular distinction of being the only laureate to be honored with both the Elizabeth Haub Prize in Environmental Law and the American Society of International Law’s Butcher Medal for outstanding contributions to international human rights law. “We are honored and humbled to add CIEL’s International Environmental Law Award to that illustrious list,” adds Muffett.

Past recipients of CIEL’s International Environmental Law award include Francoise Burhenne-Guilmin, Wolfgang Burhenne, Edith Brown Weiss, Justice Christopher Weeramantry, and, most recently, Professor Philip Allott.