The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University is pleased to announce that the 2023 Elisabeth Haub Award for Environmental Law and Diplomacy will be jointly awarded to Ambassador Marja Lehto of Finland and former Ambassador Marie Jacobsson of Sweden for their pivotal roles advancing environmental law and policy to protect the environment in times of armed conflicts.
Ambassador Lehto is Senior Expert on Public International Law for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and, until recently, Ambassador Jacobsson served as Principal Legal Adviser on International Law, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden. While Members of the UN International Law Commission (ILC), both served successively as Special Rapporteur for the topic of the “Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflict.” In this role they worked tirelessly for a decade to develop the Draft Principles of International Law to Protect the Environment in Times of Armed Conflicts (PDF) and then skillfully led the adoption of the draft principles by the ILC and their acceptance by the United Nations General Assembly in 2022.
The principles lay out the urgent need and common objectives to reinforce and advance the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of the environment for present and future generations, specifically with respect to the protection of the environment before, during or after an armed conflict, including in situations of occupation. Remarkably, over the years, more than 60 States engaged with the topic, offering support and observations as did international governmental and Non-Governmental organizations.
“We are honored to recognize two exemplary women for their groundbreaking work and leadership developing principles that will guide and protect the future of our planet,” said Horace E. Anderson Jr., Haub Law Dean and President of the Haub Award Jury. “The Elisabeth Haub School of Law’s No. 1 ranked environmental law program is committed to advancing the rule of environmental law across the globe and to developing the skill, knowledge, commitment and passion for the cause that both Ambassador Lehto and Ambassador Jacobsson so admirably demonstrate.”
The prestigious Elisabeth Haub Award for Environmental Law and Diplomacy was established in 1997 by the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, in cooperation with the Haub Family, to honor the legacy of Elisabeth Haub (1899–1977), a noted philanthropist and advocate for strong laws for the conservation of nature. The award was first established to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Stockholm Conference and the 5th anniversary of the United Nations Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit and is considered the world’s most distinguished award in the field of environmental law. Chosen annually by an esteemed jury, the award recognizes the innovation, skill, and accomplishments of lawyers, diplomats, international civil servants and other advocates who work to create the world environmental order.
“Through the prestigious Elisabeth Haub Award for Environmental Law and Diplomacy we aim to recognize the tireless efforts of two bold women whose leadership, insight, and commitment are making a difference in our fight to create a more sustainable world,” said Pace University Trustee Liliane A. Haub. “The importance of protecting the natural environment and its vital resources during and after armed conflicts has becoming increasingly important, and their work will have an important impact on our humanity, especially for those whose countries are in disarray.”
“The principles respond to a long-time quest for a consolidated legal framework for the protection of the environment in armed conflicts. Their temporal scope derives from the recognition that to be effective, protection of the environment has to be continuous: before, during and after armed conflict,” said Ambassador Marja Lehto. “The conferment of the prestigious Elisabeth Haub Award to this work amplifies the message that the environment is no more a silent casualty of war.”
“The war on aggression against Ukraine has clearly demonstrated the need and complexity in managing environmental challenges in times of an armed conflict. Such challenges do not stop when a war is over. The principles clearly show that post-conflict rebuilding and repairing cannot be left to a war-torn State, but require cooperation of the international community”, added Ambassador Marie Jacobsson. “The Elisabeth Haub Award illustrates the necessity of post-conflict environmental peace-building.”
The ceremony for the 2023 Elisabeth Haub Award for Environmental Law and Diplomacy honoring Ambassador Marja Lehto and Ambassador Marie Jacobsson will take place on Monday, October 23 at 4:00 p.m. EST and be broadcast virtually.