The Law School and the 2018 IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium

July2018: The University of Strathclyde Law School successfully hosted and organised the 2018 instalment of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium. The gathering, which has run every year since 2003, arrived in the United Kingdom for the first time in 2018 after the Law School bid for it in 2014.

The Colloquium’s theme was “The Transformation of Environmental Law and Governance: Innovation, Risk and Resilience”, which chimed well with Strathclyde’s strategic themes and with the mission of the event’s venue: the Technology and Innovation Centre. With over 400 participants and 66 parallel sessions over three days, the event was one of the largest of its kind in the field of environmental law and governance. The event has undoubtedly raised the international profile of the University of Strathclyde Law School and its Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG) in this important field of law.

In addition to the parallel sessions, the Colloquium featured a number of plenaries with invited keynote speakers coming both from academia and from practice, including Prof John Knox, UN Special rapporteur on human rights and the environment and Prof Paul Hunt, former Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of health roundtable. The event also featured a plenary devoted to entrepreneurial innovation with speakers from organisations such as SASOL, Scottish Power, Our Power, Scottish Government and Brewgooder. Participants to the Colloquium also enjoyed many interesting posters, the Climate Ready Scotland exhibition and information about the Island Explorers project led by SCELG.

Participants gathered in Glasgow from all over the world and experienced the best of the city and of Scotland, with a magnificent reception at City Chambers, a Colloquium Dinner at the Radisson Blue, a ceilidh at the Trades Hall, and a field trip to Loch Lomond.

An app was developed to guide participants through the 66 parallel sessions, but also to allow them to keep in touch during and after the event. On the app and the parallel web site, participants can now find slides from the presentations delivered at the colloquium. A further legacy of the event will be a book published by Edward Elgar in its IUCN Academy of Environmental Law book series. In the immediate follow up to the event, co-organisers Stephanie Switzer and Francesco Sindico, with assistance from a task force of SCELG research students and visiting researchers, published a SCELG Policy brief that captures some of the insights stemming from the very rich event.

The event was organised and led by Stephanie Switzer and Francesco Sindico with the collaboration of colleagues within the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) Research and Knowledge Exchange Team and a fantastic group of student volunteers. The Colloquium’s hashtag #IUCNAEL2018 gives you an interesting account of the event and is still used by participants to share information about its legacy and news about risk, resilience and innovation.