English website

IUCN and Bonn´s long standing relationship

By Dr. Alejandro Iza
Director, IUCN Environmental Law Centre

The Environmental Law Centre (ELC) of the IUCN has a proud history of achievements and association with the City of Bonn where it was first established in 1970.

From humble beginnings, the ELC has grown from having one full time staff to being an international office with around 14 highly skilled specialists. It is today recognized around the world as a leading global centre of excellence in environmental law and policy contributing to building the legal architecture for sustainability and the protection of the environment. It was the initial laboratory of conventions such as CITES, CMS, CBD and others.

The ELC is so far the only IUCN programme located in Bonn. The Centre houses two extensive libraries, one on Legislation and another on Literature and Soft Law and is the headquarters for the UNEP, FAO, IUCN Partnership ECOLEX - the tool through which the three organizations provide web-based access to their comprehensive holdings on environmental law.

The ELC attracts fellows and interns from around the world. They enjoy the rewarding experience of working in an international organization, and being in a city that has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability. 

In 2017, IUCN's position was reaffirmed on the international stage when the Federal Government recognized IUCN as an intergovernmental organization: “This decision recognizes IUCN’s important role in global efforts to conserve nature. It also reaffirms the position of the City of Bonn as a hub of international cooperation and the headquarters for international institutions and organisations”, said former German Minister for the Environment, Barbara Hendricks.

Paving the way through the ELC longstanding foundation, IUCN has now the prospect to consolidate and expand its presence in Bonn. Plans are underway to build up a programmatic center with other thematic programmes like climate change, drylands, and forests, among others, and build a service unit to other IUCN offices across Europe. In 2022, IUCN will continue fostering its endeavors and materializing the long expected expansion in the city of Bonn acknowledging the generous support that this city and the German Government have given to the organization.