News Item

March 2011

New Zealand Law Foundation Distinguished Visiting Scholar 2011

Emeritus Professor in Environmental Law Ben Boer from the University of Sydney is the 2011 New Zealand Law Foundation’s Distinguished Visiting Fellow. Between 2006 and 2008, he was the international Co-Director of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Academy of Environmental Law and Visiting Professor based at the University of Ottawa, while continuing to teach in the Master of Environmental Law at the University of Sydney.

Professor Boer is in New Zealand during April and his visit is being hosted by Te Piringa – Faculty of Law at the University of Waikato. While in New Zealand Professor Boer will give public lectures in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin.

His lecture topics are:

  • Biodiversity, Climate Change & Protected Areas: The need for an integrated approach

This lecture looks at the need for integration of environmental law at international and national levels: agendas of Conferences of Parties to international environmental treaties are made more consistent, and that the obligations taken on under environmental treaties are consistently and adequately implemented at national level. The focus of this lecture will be on biodiversity, climate change and the role of natural protected areas

  • Reform of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

This lecture will focus on progress with reform of the Australian federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). It will outline the history of the drafting and implementation of the EPBC Act, and current efforts to amend it to incorporate a range of unaddressed or inadequately addressed issues, including a climate change trigger for initiating action under the legislation.

  • International Human Rights Norms and Environmental Law

This lecture will survey the development of closer connections between the international human rights regime and the international treaty regime for environmental protection, using examples from a number of regions.

  • The New South Wales Land and Environment Court

This lecture will examine the history and operation of the New South Wales Land and Environment Court: this lecture will look at the development of the Land and Environment Court, and its increasingly sophisticated approach to a range of issues. These will include the phenomenon of public interest litigation and costs orders, the response of the Court to the need for ecologically sustainable development, the development of various planning principles, as well as rules governing various aspects of the courts operation.

Dates for these lectures will be publicised soon.

With his departure from Canada, he was appointed as an honorary Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa. At the University of Sydney he continues to teach in various units of study in the Master’s program. In 2009 he was appointed as a Visiting Professor in the Research Institute of Environmental Law, Wuhan University, People’s Republic of China. In 2010, Ben took up a three month Fernand Braudel Senior Fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence, where he taught a course on Advanced Human Rights Law and the Environment.

Formerly, Ben was Professor in Environmental Law, University of Sydney (Personal Chair, 1997 -2008) and the Corrs Chambers Westgarth Professor of Environmental Law, University of Sydney (1992-1996). Prior to that, at Macquarie University, he was Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor, School of Law (1979-1991) as well as teaching in the Graduate School of the Environment (1979-1991), and Tutor and Lecturer, Department of Legal Studies, La Trobe University (1974-1979).

Together with his Sydney colleagues and environmental lawyers at the Australian National University and the University of Adelaide, Ben founded the Australian Centre for Environmental Law between the three universities in 1992. At the University of Sydney, this body is now called the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law.

Ben was a founder of the Australasian Law Teaching Workshop which commenced its programmes in 1989, and continues to be interested in the training the teachers process, with a recently completed comprehensive program for environmental law lecturers at the Research Institute of Environmental Law, Wuhan University, China.

Ben has published widely in the area of environmental and natural resources law and policy, including International Environmental Law in the Asia Pacific (with Ross Ramsay and Donald Rothwell), and Heritage Law in Australia (with Graeme Wiffen, Oxford 2006). He contributed to Francioni, F. (ed.) The World Heritage Convention; A Commentary (Oxford 2008). His latest work, of which he was the main editor, is Environmental Law and Sustainability after Rio (with Jamie Benidickson, Antonio Benjamin and Karen Morrow, eds. Edward Elgar 2011. He is currently the head of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Legal Frameworks Specialist Group. In this connection, he completed two extensive case studies on protected areas law for Australia and New South Wales in 2010.

Ben has served as a consultant to various intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations in the following countries: China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam and Samoa, as well as conducting research for various departments of the Australian Federal Government.

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