Vance Center Environment Program Is Spotlighted in Clifford Chance Podcast
In the podcast episode, Vance Center attorney Sam Bookman explains how the Environment program’s collaboration with Clifford Chance supported the work of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, providing an essential evidence base for the negotiations between states that led to this landmark resolution.
Clifford Chance Podcast guest speakers, including Vance Center attorney Sam Bookman. (Image credit: Clifford Chance)
The Vance Center’s work in supporting last year’s historic United Nations resolution on a right to a healthy environment was recently spotlighted on the Clifford Chance Podcast, which features experts from around the firm discussing pressing issues and trends faced by the business world. In the podcast episode, Vance Center attorney Sam Bookman explains how the Environment program’s collaboration with Clifford Chance supported the work of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, providing an essential evidence base for the negotiations between states that led to this landmark resolution.
Over the course of several months, Clifford Chance coordinated a massive global search of national constitutions, laws, treaties, and case law to identify countries which had already recognized a right to a healthy environment in their domestic laws. More than 100 lawyers from Clifford Chance as well as dozens more from other supporting firms, including White & Case, contributed to this effort. In the interview, Clifford Chance lawyer Carla Lewis, who worked on the project, described it as “the most extensive pro bono project in terms of scope” that the firm has ever undertaken.
The episode features Vance Center attorney Sam Bookman, who appeared along with Clifford Chance lawyers Carla Lewis and Janet Whittaker, who is also a Vance Center Committee member. It is available on major podcast streaming platforms and at this link.
This unique collaboration and unprecedented research produced an extensive database which demonstrated that 155 countries already recognized such a right – helping to persuade states that U.N. recognition would not be a major departure from existing state practice.
“The environment was left out of some of the key cornerstone multilateral treaties that underpin the international human rights system, so this resolution is part of a much broader process to bring environmental concerns up to that level of some of the other human rights that are widely recognized across the world,” said Bookman.
“For a long time, advocates at the international level have been trying to get the international community to recognize the existence of this right in some way,” he added. “This kind of research is incredibly valuable because of its finding that the vast majority of countries in the world… recognize the right in one way or another. The way that international law develops and progresses moves at a slow pace, so the more you can build evidence like this, is incredibly helpful.”