Center for International Environmental Law

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The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) is a public interest, not-for-profit environmental law firm founded in 1989 in the United States to strengthen international and comparative environmental law and policy around the world. With offices in Washington, DC and Geneva, Switzerland, CIEL’s staff of international attorneys provide legal counsel and advocacy, policy research and capacity building in the areas of biodiversity, chemicals, climate change, human rights and the environment, international financial institutions, law and communities, and trade and sustainable development.

Carroll Muffett is the current president.[citation needed]

Mission statement[edit]

The mission is to use the power of law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society.

About CIEL[edit]

CIEL is incorporated as a U.S. nonprofit organization designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity. CIEL meets the rigorous public accountability standards of the federal government’s Combined Federal Campaign, including by conducting an annual audit; completing a Form 990; and publishing an Annual Report made available to the public. CIEL is governed by a nine person Board of Trustees that oversees the general policies, finances and operation of CIEL.

Since 1989, CIEL has worked not only to support communities and defend the environment in the face of looming threats, but to change the very system that gives rise to those threats. CIEL works creatively to build the legal levers for change that will be effective not only for CIEL and its partners, but for others far beyond CIEL’s reach.


CIEL's vision for the world is one where the law reflects the interconnection between humans and the environment, respects the limits of the planet, protects the dignity and equality of each person, and encourages all of earth’s inhabitants to live in balance with each other. In every aspect of its work, CIEL promotes the rule of law; transparent, just and sustainable processes; balanced economic and political power that protects the rights of communities and the environment; democratic inclusion; intra and inter-generational equity; the interconnectedness of life on the planet; and the intrinsic value of nature and the inherent rights of species and ecosystems.

Program areas[edit]

  • Climate & Energy
  • Environmental Health
  • People, Land, and Resources

Internships and fellowships[edit]

CIEL's intern/extern/fellowship program offers lawyers, law students and other exceptionally motivated students and graduates excellent opportunities to gain experience in the field of international environmental law.

Over its 20 years, CIEL has trained more than 350 interns from 53 countries, providing an important educational opportunity for lawyers in training. CIEL’s Intern Program trains new lawyers and law students by giving them the opportunity to work on cutting-edge international environmental issues in Washington and Geneva alongside and under the mentorship of CIEL’s experienced staff attorneys.

American University, Washington College of Law CIEL's joint research and teaching program with The American University, Washington College of Law includes specialized courses on international and comparative environmental law and on-the-job experience through an extensive internship program to help launch the careers of law students and lawyers dedicated to environmental protection.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]