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International Environmental Law

UNEP’s Regional Seas Programme

Implemented through regional seas conventions, protocols and action plans

Elizabeth Mrema

Biography for Elizabeth Mrema

Elizabeth Mrema, LLB, LLM

Connection to MELP

Elizabeth Mrema is a former MELP graduate student at Dalhousie Law School.

Current position

  • Director of the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)


  • Postgraduate diploma in international relations and diplomacy (Summa Cum Laude) (Centre of Foreign Relations and Diplomacy, Dar-es-Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania)
  • LLM (Dalhousie Law School, Dalhousie University, Canada)
  • LLB (Hons) (University of Dar-es-Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania)

Areas of focus

  • Environmental policy implementation
  • International environmental law
  • Compliance and enforcement of environmental conventions
  • International environmental negotiations
  • Project management


Elizabeth Mrema has published several articles related to international environmental law. She has also developed a number of environmental law and negotiation tools, handbooks and guidelines currently being used in a number of UNEP and and other training programmes.

Career highlights

  • A key organizer and lecturer at the UNEP University of Joensuu (currently University of Eastern Finland) Diploma Course in International Environmental Law-Making and Diplomacy, 2004-2015
  • Executive secretary of the Secretariat for the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), 2009-2012
  • Acting executive secretary of CMS/ASCOBANS and interim executive secretary of CMS/Gorilla Agreement in Bonn, Germany, 2009-2012
  • Chief of the Biodiversity and Land Law and Governance Branch in the UNEP Division of Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC), 2007-2009
  • Lawyer and career diplomat with the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, 1981-1994


The 2013 Minamata Convention on Mercury

Will it protect the Arctic environment?

David VanderZwaag

Biography for David VanderZwaag

David VanderZwaag, BA, MDiv, JD, LLM, PhD

Connection to MELP

Dr. VanderZwaag is a MELP faculty member, the past co-director of Dalhousie's interdisciplinary Marine Affairs Program (1986-1991) and the past director of the Marine & Environmental Law Institute.

Current positions

  • Professor of Law
  • Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Ocean Law and Governance at Dalhousie University, where he teaches international environmental law
  • Member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL)
  • Co-chair of the WCEL’s Specialist Group on Oceans, Coasts & Coral Reefs
  • Member of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society (non-practicing)


  • PhD (University of Wales, Cardiff)
  • LLM (Dalhousie Law School)
  • JD (University of Arkansas Law School)
  • MDiv (Princeton Theological Seminary)
  • BA (Calvin College)

Areas of focus

  • Law of the sea
  • Fisheries law and policy
  • Regional sea cooperation
  • Toxic chemicals management
  • Polar oceans governance

Selected publications

Dr. VanderZwaag has authored over 150 papers in the marine and environmental law field. He has written widely on polar law and policy issues including co-leading the writing of the Governance of the Arctic Shipping chapter of the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (Arctic Council 2009). His most recent book publication is: Polar Oceans Governance in an Era of Environmental Change (edited with Tim Stephens) (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar 2014).

Career highlights

  • Elected member of the International Council of Environmental Law
  • Co-founder of the Australian-Canadian Oceans Research Network (ACORN)

25 Years of UN Climate Negotiations

Reflections on past failures and prospects for future success

Meinhard Doelle

Biography for Meinhard Doelle

Meinhard Doelle, BSc, LLB, LLM, JSD

Connection to MELP

Dr. Doelle is a MELP graduate and MELP faculty member. He currently serves as the director of the Maritime & Environmental Law Institute, after nine years as associate director.

Current positions

  • Professor of Law, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
  • Associate dean of research, Schulich School of Law
  • Director of the Marine & Environmental Law Institute


  • JSD (Dalhousie University)
  • LLM (York University)
  • LLB (Dalhousie University)
  • BSc (Dalhousie University)

Areas of focus

  • Environmental law
  • Climate change
  • Energy
  • Environmental governance
  • Environmental assessments
  • Public participation in environmental decision-making

Selected publications

  • Environmental Law: Cases and Materials (with Chris Tollefson)
  • Promoting Compliance in an Evolving Climate Regime
  • The Federal Environmental Assessment Process, a Guide and Critique
  • From Hot Air to Action: Climate Change, Compliance and the Future of International Environmental Law

Career highlights

  • Served on the Joint Federal/Provincial Environmental Assessment Review Panel for the Lower Churchill Hydro-Electric Project, 2009-2011
  • Visiting scholar at the Environmental Law Center of the IUCN in Bonn, Germany, 2008
  • Non-governmental member of the Canadian delegation to the UN climate change negotiations, 2000-2006
  • Executive director of Clean Nova Scotia, 1996-2001
  • Drafted the NS Environment Act, 1992