Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC) has launched a new project which aims to tackle environmental crime across the globe.
The project has just received a £525,000 UK Government grant through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund to support the work.
Lawyers, conservationists, scientists, and economists from around the world will now begin five precedent-setting legal cases as part of a green wave of biodiversity litigation seeking justice for nature.
Members of the project met in the Lake District on September 28 to officially launch CLAW.
The dynamic and diverse team is building coordinated legal actions for nature on a strategic scale never before attempted, developing cases against wildlife crime offenders in five countries – Cameroon, India, Indonesia, Italy, and Liberia.
The project is led by Conservation-Litigation.org - a multidisciplinary network committed to introducing new, creative legal responses to drivers of the world’s biodiversity crisis, initially targeting illegal wildlife trafficking and trade.
Jacob, who is the co-founder of Conservation-Litigation.org, and leads the Conservation Governance Lab at LEC, said: “The laws to remedy nature already exist in many countries.
“Yet they are rarely used to effectively hold offenders to account for the harm they cause.
“Our work highlights the potential of our laws not only to punish, but to heal.”
The network develops easy-to-understand legal analyses that identify how offenders can be held legally accountable for remedying harm to nature.
The network also supports governments and NGOs in designing and litigating precedent-setting cases in court.
Rika Fajrini, from the Indonesian Centre of Environmental Law, said: “While current legal approaches focus on punishing offenders through monetary fines or imprisonment, this does little to remedy the damages resulting from their actions.
“Conservation-Litigation.org is introducing additional legal responses that order offenders to take direct action to repair some of the harm caused, such as restoration, care for injured wildlife, public apologies, and community and cultural programmes.
“The network is now developing strategic cases around the world.”
Maribel Valero Rodriguez, co-founder of Conservation-Litigation.org, said she is confident that the project will deliver tangible results.
“Our analyses show that our cases are supported by a strong legal foundation, and could enable us to transform the proverbial ‘slap-on-the-wrist’ into genuine restorative action that can help to repair the harm offenders cause,” she said.
The approach is also supported by the on-the-ground experience of its network.
Ofir Drori, founder of the Last Great Ape Organization in Cameroon said: “We have been successfully litigating against wildlife criminals for several years.
“By uniting our experience with the strategic coordination of the new network, we hope to generate a rising wave of green litigation that has the power to fundamentally shift the global response to the biodiversity crisis.”
Jenny Desmond of Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection added: “Strategic litigation has already delivered benefits in several areas of civil society.
“Wildlife is under critical threat. It’s time we used our laws to protect it.Back to News