Environmental Law and Diplomacy is also the story of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the story of international environmental law, and the story of Donald Kaniaru’s home, Kenya, in the era of decolonization.
In his papers, the author describes the birth of UNEP, including Kenya’s involvement in the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment, where he helped forge an inclusive alliance to support Nairobi’s selection to host the new UN agency.
It reflects on the past and the potential future of the “brilliantly vague” concept of sustainable development, weighs the guiding principles of environmental law and discusses the opportunities and challenges posed by environmental tribunals, based in part on his experience as Chairman of Kenya’s Environment Tribunal. And among others, the book also touches on how seeds planted in that summer of 1972 sprouted into the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, a treaty that has emerged as UNEP’s – and the world’s – most successful environmental treaty.
“Over a career spanning nearly five decades, Donald Kaniaru has earned his reputation as not just as an extraordinary lawyer and a diplomat, but also as a mentor who has left a mark on all those who have had the pleasure of working with him,” said Durwood Zaelke, author of the book’s Foreword. “Donald’s legacy and work have had a tremendous impact across the modern environmental movement. There is still much to be done to avert the worst impacts of climate change and other challenges. This requires fast action under UNEP’s leadership, following in the footsteps of trailblazers like Donald, to ensure that we win both the sprint to 2030 and the marathon to 2050 to keep warming from breaching the 1.5° Celsius safety