Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) uses the power of law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society. CIEL seeks a world where the law reflects the interconnection between humans and the environment, respects the limits of the planet, protects the dignity and equality of each person, and encourages all of earth’s inhabitants to live in balance with each other.

CIEL pursues its mission through legal research and advocacy, education and training, with a focus on connecting global challenges to the experiences of communities on the ground. In the process, they build and maintain lasting partnerships with communities and non-profit organizations around the world.

CIEL's strategy uses four cross-cutting legal levers for systemic change to have the greatest impact in supporting their mission and the work of partners around the world by:

  • Strengthening international law and systems to protect the environment and human rights;
  • Empowering communities to use international law to defend their rights;
  • Developing and advocating new strategies and global standards for international financial flows; and
  • Strengthening the legal tools to counterbalance corporate power and increase transboundary corporate accountability.

Through using, strengthening, and continually testing these approaches across many aspects of our programs, their goal is to create new legal tools whose potential far exceeds our own capacity to use them. In so doing, they seek to empower communities and NGOs far beyond those with whom they work directly and, in empowering the broader movement, enable change at a grander scale.

To have the greatest impact, they focus our efforts in four key areas: protecting children and families from toxic risks; accelerating the transition from fossil fuels; slowing the expansion of minerals mining and other extractive industries; and safeguarding forest peoples and biodiversity.