Stetson Law crosses borders to protect wetlands: Professor and Stetson students help draft resolution adopted in Bucharest, Romania, in July

Stetson University College of Law Professor Royal Gardner and several Stetson Law students played a significant role in the adoption of a resolution on wetland conservation at a global conference in Bucharest, Romania, in July. The Eleventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands adopted the resolution by consensus. More than 160 countries are parties to this international treaty, which is devoted to the wise use of wetlands.

Professor Gardner, the director of Stetson’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy and an expert in environmental law and wetlands, introduced the resolution, which provides a framework to avoid, mitigate and compensate for wetland impacts around the world.

Third-year student Erin Okuno along with recent Stetson Law graduates Marcela Bonells JD ’12 and Juan Zarama LL.M. ’12 conducted research to support the resolution. The students and Professor Gardner published a Briefing Note that reviewed wetland laws and policies throughout the world. Stetson students, including exchange students from the University of Toulouse, translated the Briefing Note into Spanish and French, the other official languages of the convention.

Professor Gardner was invited to Romania as an expert of Ramsar’s Scientific and Technical Review Panel, a subsidiary body of the convention that provides guidance on wetland conservation. Stetson’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy works with the Ramsar Convention, and Stetson is the only law school in the world that has a memorandum of cooperation with the Ramsar Secretariat.

The draft resolution was produced in part at a Ramsar workshop that Stetson hosted at its Tampa Law Center in October of 2010, and in part at a Ramsar workshop hosted by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in the UK in July of 2011. The final resolution expresses appreciation to both Stetson and the UK government.