USA and Switzerland
The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) was founded in 1989. Its core mission is, in its words, ‘to use the power of law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society’. It pursues this work through legal research and advocacy, education and training.
The Center for International Environmental Law attends CITES’ CoPs, where it supports prohibition on all trade in elephant products, especially the sale of ivory by Southern African states. According to CIEL, ‘the prospect that a legal market in ivory might be restored in order to undermine poaching is an invalid argument because legal trade stimulates illegal trade and thereby increases the chance that elephants will be made extinct’. Hence CIEL believes that even speculation that the ivory trade could be legalized ‘encourages poachers’. This line of thinking leads CIEL to argue against the sale of existing stockpiled ivory and the harvesting of new sources of supply. (See: Remembering Elephants at CITES, by Chris A Wold).
Another of CIEL’s major concerns within CITES is forestry and the enforcement of timber species’ listings in the appendices. CIEL has consistently supported the trade embargo on the sale of precious woods by Madagascar, which was imposed because of the nation’s ‘failure’ to implement CITES’ regulations on rosewood exports. This trade embargo also applied to existing stockpiles of rosewoods (originating from before they were included in CITES’ appendices), the sale of which would have no impact on the environment. CIEL has also opposed liberalising the restrictions placed on the sale of Afrormosia in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
More broadly, CIEL campaigns from a legal perspective against the fossil industry and on climate change-related issues.
Carroll Muffett, President and CEO, former Deputy Campaigns Director at Greenpeace USA.
Board of Trustees chaired by David Mattingly.
According to its annual report, in 2020 its revenue was USD4,526,548 and its expenses were USD3,647,631. One of its institutional funders is the Oak Foundation.