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ClientEarth Communications

22nd June 2023

Environmental justice

ClientEarth Berlin Symposium – 22 June 2023

Today we host our first public half-day Symposium in Berlin, Germany.

The event will serve as a platform for sharing knowledge, expertise, and innovative solutions in our fight against climate change and environmental degradation.

The event brings together environmental professionals, media representatives, and decision-makers to explore key areas of ClientEarth's work in Germany.

The keynote address will be delivered by Jennifer Morgan, State Secretary and Special Envoy for International Climate Policy.

PANEL 1: The role of international courts in climate justice

The first panel explores how international courts and tribunals have emerged as pivotal actors in advancing global climate action. 

For example, the Commission of Small Islands States on International Law and Climate Change (COSIS) asked the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to give its opinion on how countries should prevent pollution of the oceans caused by human activities that release greenhouse gases. 

Similarly, Colombia and Chile asked the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to clarify how countries should protect human rights in the face of the climate crisis.

The United Nations General Assembly, with support from Vanuatu, also requested advice from the International Court of Justice on the legal responsibilities of countries in relation to climate change. 

While these opinions are not legally binding, they provide essential guidance and help shape the development of laws in this important area.


The panel will begin with a video address from the Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, Minister of Climate Change of the Republic of Vanuatu. Earlier this year, the pacific island state scored an important success when their initiative for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the obligation of UN member states in relation to climate change was approved by the UN General Assembly.

Moderator: Laura Clarke OBE, ClientEarth CEO

PANEL 2: Using supply chain legislation to protect the environment & human rights

The second panel addresses the detrimental impacts of transnational corporations in our globalized economy. While global corporations benefit from the dismantling of trade barriers, people and nature in the Global South can suffer the consequences. 

Through their value chains, corporations can contribute to human rights violations, ecological degradation, and biodiversity loss.

Local communities, including indigenous peoples and producers, bear the burden of land grabbing and exposure to toxic chemicals. 

The discussion will explore the consequences of value chains, legislative progress, and the importance of legal interventions to hold corporations accountable and support affected individuals in their fight for justice.


Moderator: Dr. Christiane Gerstetter, Senior Lawyer at ClientEarth.

Closing Remarks: Prof. Dr. Hermann E. Ott, ClientEarth Head of the German Office.