2013 Environmental Law Scholarship Awards

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Scholarship Awards were announced and presented at the 11th annual colloquium held in Hamilton, New Zealand on June 26, 2013. This year, the Academy again received nominations of a group of outstanding candidates and they made the task of the selection committee a very difficult one.

The prizes are awarded in two categories on the basis of scholarship, defined primarily to include published research such as academic books (edited or authored), journal articles and book chapters, as well as commissioned policy reports and other research studies.

In the first category, namely a scholar with less than 10 years academic experience, it was a tie and the Academy presented two Junior Scholar Awards to two outstanding scholars: Professor Anél du Plessis from North West University, South Africa and Professor Jolene Lin from the University of Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China.

Professor Anl du Plessis

The reviewers for Professor du Plessis stated the following about her achievements:

“She has a great number of publications on environmental law between 2008 and 2013 and one can definitely say that there has been a ‘sustained performance’ over this period. … Although the main focus of her research is on South African law, it also has a very strong international comparative component …. Other countries can no doubt learn from the South African experience as described by du Plessis. The fact that some of the articles of du Plessis have been published in international law journals as well as her contribution to numerous international conferences, suggests that those within the field also believe that other jurisdictions can learn from her research.”

Left: Professor Melissa Powers, Co-Chair of Research Committee and right: Professor Anél du Plessis

“Anél du Plessis is regarded as one of the most promising legal scholars on the African continent. Both domestically (in South Africa), regionally (in Africa) and internationally, the quality of her work, her working strength… have been acknowledged. … Her specialization of local environmental governance in Africa is particularly relevant. Already in her PhD-Thesis, she showed to be able to combine academic innovative research with practical recommendations and guidelines for local authorities in South Africa. This ability, to do high level academic research is extraordinary, and very sought after. ….She has an impressive list of publications, both articles in important law journals (including many journals outside of South Africa) and book publications in books published by the most important academic publishers of the world. The quality of her publications always in very highest….. Her publications are not based solely on traditional legal (desk study) methodologies. She also does a lot of empirical research to find out how the law works in practice…”

Professor Jolene Lin

The reviewers for Professor Lin stated the following about her achievements:

“The four articles I have reviewed show originality in the author’s thinking and an ability for succinct analysis of the issues. For example, her chapter on how to support adaptation in developing countries in south-east Asia, clearly shows the adequacy of the international framework, that an adaptation protocol is unnecessary, and that more needs to be done to support a national framework. She offers insight into possible solutions. Her 2012 chapter on mobilising local governance in China to deal with climate change issues shows a good understanding of the Chinese system and the difficulties within that system for local government to act. … The international significance of the author’s research can be seen in all of this work. These articles show varied theoretical analyses, an essential part of the toolkit for an environmental law scholar. She is willing to also develop new approaches to her analysis which is refreshing to see and needs to be encouraged in this field of law. She has a good understanding across a number of jurisdictions, particularly Chinese environmental law, the EU, Australia and south-east Asia, and these cross-jurisdictional analyses are critical for a global environmental scholar.”

Left: Professor Jolene Lin and right: Professor Melissa Powers

”Her publications are of high quality, she touches upon several complicated topics (ranging from illegal wildlife trade, emissions trading, land reclamation/landfill issues, biofuel certification schemes, the role of the courts in climate change, adaptation issues), and she tries to explore new, upcoming and very relevant topics. … Publications that I know from Jolene deal with biofuels regulations in the EU, the CDM mechanism, and climate governance in China. This shows her broad interest and her capability of doing research on complex legal topics in different legal systems.

In the second category, for scholars with more than ten years of academic experience, the Academy had the great pleasure of presenting the Senior Scholar Award to an outstanding environmental law scholar, Professor Michael Faure of Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Professor Michael Faure

Reviewers for Professor Faure stated the following about his achievements:

“Professor Faure has over many years made a substantial contribution to the understanding and development of environmental law (and related areas of the law) internationally, regionally, nationally and locally. His contribution in this way has continued over the last five years. His involvement with students, practitioners, academics and governments in the contexts of teaching and research has been impressive: particularly in relation to jurisdictions such as Indonesia and China. …Professor Faure’s list of publications over the last five years is both extensive and impressive. During this period there have been:

  • 9 books of which 2 are sole-authored
  • 19 edited books
  • 42 refereed articles or chapters of which 12 are sole-authored
  • 14 articles in USA journals of which 2 are sole-authored
  • 98 other publications of which 30 are sole-authored.”

Professor Michael Faure

“He is not only an excellent environmental law scholar, but is also regarded ‘top of the bill’ in criminology, law and economics and comparative private law. … He has supervised many PhD‐thesis, has been visiting professor at many outstanding institutions, has given guest lectures all over the world (incl. Africa and China), was member of editorials boards of numerous outstanding environmental law/policy journals, was member of many advisory committees, did excellent contract‐research, etc. … His scientific output is, both in terms of quality and quantity, excellent. “

The IUCN Academy congratulates Professors Michael Faure, Anél du Plessis and Jolene Lin for their distinguished achievements.

The IUCN Academy would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Research Committee, nominators for their nominations, the reviewers for taking time from their busy schedules to review the scholarly work of the nominees, and the members of the Scholarship Awards Selection Committee for taking time from their busy schedules to deliberate on this year’s Scholarship Awards.

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