WEBINAR: Human Rights Strategies in Climate Change Litigation – A Latin-American Perspective

On August 5th, 2020, the GNHRE hosted the third of its webinar series, “Human Rights Strategies in Climate Change Litigation Across the Globe”. The third webinar focused on human rights and climate change litigation in Latin America, where regional and international experts will share insights from practice, policy, and scholarly perspectives.

The recording of the webinar is available here or here.

The failure of the international community to agree on more stringent climate action from states has prompted increased climate litigation, pushing for increased mitigation commitments and better adaptation to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Jurisprudence in the Global South, and particularly in Latin America, is developing rapidly and challenging our assumptions about the most fundamental questions, changing the way we think about the relationship between the states and the regional and international communities, the obligations owed by states to present and future generations, and the place of humanity in our planetary ecosystems. This webinar will broaden our knowledge and deepen our understanding about cases and trends in human rights-based climate litigation in Latin America.


Soledad García Muñoz is the current Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights (REDESCA), from the IACHR, OAS. She has provided professional and voluntary services to different agencies of the United Nations, to Amnesty International, the Ibero-American Youth Organization, among other prestigious organizations. Before starting her tenure as Special Rapporteur, she was the regional representative for South America of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights based in Montevideo, Uruguay. She is the first holder of REDESCA’s mandate, after being elected by the IACHR in an Inter-American public competition. She graduated from the University of Alcalá de Henares and pursued her Advanced Studies in Human Rights from University Carlos III in Madrid, Spain. 

Astrid Puentes Riaño is Co-Executive Director of AIDA. She is responsible for AIDA’s legal efforts and organizational management. Originally from Colombia, Astrid has worked for AIDA since 2003, and in Mexico City since 2004. She has significant experience with public interest litigation, especially in the field of human rights and the environment, representing communities from Brazil, Mexico and Peru.  Astrid holds an LL.M. in Comparative Law from the University of Florida, a Masters in Environmental Law from the University of the Basque Country, and a J. D. from the Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia.

Juan Auz is an Ecuadorian attorney and a PhD candidate at the Hertie School in Berlin, where he also collaborates with its Centre for Fundamental Rights. Before this, he was an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). His main research interest lies at the junction of human rights and climate change law. Juan has worked for in Ecuador as the Co-Founder of Terra Mater and Executive Director of Fundación Pachamama, both of which defend the rights of indigenous peoples in Amazonia. Juan received his LL.B. from Universidad de las Americas in Quito and LL.M. in Global Environment and Climate Change Law from the University of Edinburgh. He is a member of CIVICUS, the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law and the European Society of International Law (ESIL).

Monica Feria-Tinta is a barrister at the Bar of England & Wales.  She is a leading specialist advocate on public international law with over 20 years experience in international litigation (both regionally and in world litigation) and a thought-leader in climate change justice.  Monica is an expert in the Inter-American System of Human Rights where she litigated landmark cases as lead counsel.  She has also appeared/intervened in climate change-related cases before the Constitutional Courts of Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico, most recently in a case of global biodiversity importance – the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, La Linea Negra case. 

Her practice on environmental/international law cases has dealt with sea-level rise issues, sinking islands, environmental degradation, oil spills, transboundary harm, climate change as a human rights issue, environmental harm of waterways, protection of rivers, phasing-out coal mining and the enforcement of the Paris Agreement before a variety of international courts and tribunals, including ITLOs, ICJ, Investment Arbitration, UN Special Procedures, and English Courts. She is counsel in the first international case (Torres Strait Islanders v Australia) seeking remedies for climate change before the UN Human Rights Committee, in the Cerrejón case (coal mining litigation) before the UN Special Procedures, and on the Montara Oil Spill case, acting for 13 West Timor regencies.   

The Lawyer magazine featured her recently as amongst “the most daring, innovative and creative lawyers” in the United Kingdom.  She is the author of two chapters on an upcoming publication on climate change litigation by the British Institute of International & Comparative Law and the author of recent environmental law articles in the yearbook of  International Environmental Law and the Anuario Colombiano de Derecho Internacional.   Monica advises in English, Spanish and French.    

Prior to the Bar, she acquired curial experience working at the ICJ and the ICTY advising on seminal cases on genocide and crimes against humanity.  Her experience advising sovereign States includes having served as Assistant Legal Adviser to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

She holds an LLM from the London School of Economics (1996) and The Diploma of the Hague Academy of International Law (2000) and has further trained in international law in Strasbourg,  Geneva,  and Hamburg. Monica is Partner Fellow at the LCIL (University of Cambridge) and a member of IUCN, WCL.  In 2007 she was awarded the Gruber Justice Prize for her international litigation work.

The webinar will be moderated by Maria Antonia Tigre, Director of Latin America for GNHRE. 

Astrid Milena Bernal

By Astrid Milena Bernal

Astrid Milena Bernal Rubio is a Colombian environmental lawyer and a PhD-Law student at the University of Melbourne - Climate Futures Center. Formerly LL.M student at Pennsylvania State University (concentrations in International Law and Energy and Environmental Law). She is also a lawyer from the Universidad Católica de Colombia, a Magister in Environmental Law from the Complutense University of Madrid and a Specialist in human rights and critical legal studies from the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) Latin American School of Public Policy- ELAP.

As part of the technical team of GFLAC (climate finance group for Latin America and the Caribbean), she supported the creation of the MRV system (monitoring, reporting and verification) for climate finance in Colombia. In addition, she has been a consultant for the WRI (World Resources Institute) and The Access Initiative (TAI), working as the National researcher for the Environmental Democracy Index (EDI). Also, she has worked as a consultant for AVINA Foundation, The Bogotá’s drainage and sewerage company (EAAB), Green Faith (NY based NGO), Brighter Green (NY based NGO) and worked as Campaign coordinator against unsustainable livestock production at the Global Forest Coalition. Astrid has worked as a lawyer and researcher on issues associated with public participation, access to information, forests, carbon markets, Just Energy transition and rights of indigenous peoples and rural communities in Colombia.

Astrid was a volunteer for the Network for Environmental Justice in Colombia and promoted the creation and growth of the climate justice division at the Environment and Society Association (AAS) of Colombia. Astrid was a senior research coordinator in a joint research project with UNICEF to contribute to the fulfilment of the SDGs (6), focusing its work on guaranteeing the rights of access to sanitation for rural, indigenous and Afro-descendant populations in Colombia. She is also part of the founders of the Colombian NGO- CAMBIUM (Climate, Environment and Research-Action Uniting Worlds). This organization aims to, directly and indirectly, influence processes carried out by civil society and decision-makers related to climate change.

Astrid also supported the work of Pivot Point and the CLARA group (Climate, Land, Ambition and Rights Alliance), promoting the understanding and participation of CSOs to ensure higher ambition of NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) in Spanish speakers countries through the website

Astrid was a research assistant at Penn State University identifying how different kinds of transboundary river basin organizations have written and used dispute resolution mechanisms in both the bilateral agreements between the US, Mexico and Canada (NAFTA-USMCA) and the Autonomous Binational Authority of the Basin of Lake Titicaca (Bolivia, Peru).

Astrid was one of the members of the core team in the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE), and she is part of the global network of environmental lawyers (ELAW). In her free time, she collaborates as a volunteer for The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition- CAIR coalition.