2021: GNHRE’s year in review and exciting developments in 2022!

In the last few years, the GNHRE has grown enormously, in the reach and impact of both our membership and our programs. Our membership has grown in every part of the world, and we now count among our 400+ members, scholars, activists, advocates, environmental rights defenders, diplomats, policy makers, and many others.  

In 2020, in the wake of the pandemic, we began sponsoring a number of online programs leading off with a year-long, round-the-world tour of Human Rights Strategies in Climate Change Litigation which featured an initial ice-breaking presentation, followed by full-panel webinars with expert practitioners and scholars discussing current actions in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and South Asia. We also partnered with the Ecological Law and Governance Association to host a webinar to showcase the contours of the field of human rights and the environment — a partnership we continued this year with our webinar on Queer and Feminist approaches to human rights and the environment. 

2021 has been even busier:

  • We hosted our first summer/winter school, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (organized by Dina Lupin and Angela Kariuki).
  • We launched a project on the Escazú Agreement in partnership with REDESCA (the Special Rapporteur for Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) (organized by Maria Antonia Tigre and Daniel Noroña).
  • We launched a second project focusing on climate litigation in the Global South highlighting voices from the Global South (organized by Maria Antonia Tigre and Melanie Murcott).
  • We continued and enhanced our book programme, launching six incredible new books this year alone.

More information, videos, and links about these programmes are available on our website

The GNHRE website continues to grow and improve. We have built up and enhanced our Research Repository which now houses more than 1300 entries in multiple languages. At the same time, we have revised the membership joining process and will soon be launching new membership pages. The GNHRE mentorship program led by Natalia Urzola has fostered several partnerships between members and allowed knowledge exchange. Due to its success, a second call was recently launched, which will provide a place for new partnerships to thrive in the coming year. If you want to join our mentorship program, please fill out this form. The GNHRE Blog has never been more active, with insightful and engaging posts on SLAPP suits, recent and upcoming litigation, and two ongoing blog symposiums, one on the Escazú Agreement (hosted by Maria Antonia Tigre) and one on the human rights implications of the outcomes of COP26 (hosted by Annalisa Savaresi and Dina Lupin). Our members have also been incredibly busy and active. Please keep sharing news of your conferences and events on the GNHRE jiscmail list!

The GNHRE is an entirely volunteer organization, managed by an extraordinarily dedicated Core Team comprising regional teams from North America (Sara Seck and Rebecca Bratspies), Africa (Clive Vinti, Caiphas Brewster Soyapi, and Angela Kariuki), Latin America and the Caribbean (Maria Antonia Tigre and Daniel Noroña and Lisa Benjamin), Europe (Annalisa Savaresi and Margarethe Wewerinke), Asia (Uday Shankar and Pankaj Karn), and Australia-Pacific (Paul Govind and Manny Solis), as well as our wonderful Membership Director, Natalia Urzola. Our team of blog editors, who ensure the excellent quality of our blog posts, are Rosemary Mwanza, Cleverline Brown, and Sumudu Atapattu (with many thanks to Astrid Bernal and Otto Spijkers who held the roles of web- and blog editors until mid-2021). Our webmaster extraordinaire, who has been developing and updating our website since GNHRE’s inception in 2008, is Tim Blackman. In addition, this year we have been ably assisted by two interns from the University of Chicago, Bianca Simons and Will Harding.  

Erin Daly has been privileged to serve as the Director of the GNHRE since 2017. After nearly 5 years of leadership and work expanding the Network and its research on human rights and the environment, Erin is stepping down from her role as director of the GNHRE. As of January 1, 2022, Dina Lupin will take over as Director, with Maria Antonia Tigre serving as Deputy Director. Dina and Maria Antonia will be joined by Natalia Urzola and Victoria Lichet, who will be serving as chief operating officers and supporting our growing programs and activities. 

In 2021, the Human Rights Council recognized and adopted the right to a healthy environment, marking a new era in the development of the field of human rights and the environment. In 2022, we hope to continue advancing this growing field and engaging in discussions on how to increase implementation throughout the globe. Dina and Maria Antonia, along with our stellar core team members, have several activities planned for 2022 and we hope you join us and engage with us throughout the year even more.  

We are growing our social media presence, so follow us on Twitter @GNHRECommunity, on Facebook, and LinkedIn

We wish all of our members a healthy and happy year’s end.

Erin Daly

Dina Lupin

Maria Antonia Tigre

and the GNHRE Core Team

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.