Landmarks in our history

Achievements and projects that have marked IIDMA's trajectory

A recognised work

Institutions endorse IIDMA

In September 1998, IIDMA was accredited by the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (now the United Nations Environment Assembly).

In September 2001, the Ministry of the Interior declared IIDMA a Public Utility Organisation.

In December 2019, IIDMA obtains accreditation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In February 2022, IIDMA obtains accreditation to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

Trajectory

In 1997 the International Institute of Law and Environment was founded with the aim of contributing to the protection of the planet through the analysis, application and enforcement of the law.

The illustrious Valencian cartoonist Javier Mariscal was commissioned to design our first logo.

The study “Local Communities and Fishing Disputes in Saharawi and Moroccan Waters: Opportunities for New Conflict Resolution Mechanisms” focused on fisheries relations between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco. This initiative was carried out in the framework of the Earth Council (Costa Rica) project aimed at creating an International Environmental Ombudsperson.

Carried out jointly with Euronatura (Portugal), the objectives of this project were to design and promote a sustainable management model which, under the principle of basin unity, would favour transboundary cooperation, inter-institutional coordination in each of the States and the participation of civil society. The project was funded by the Tinker Foundation (USA) and the Fundaçao Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento (FLAD), with the support of the Rei Afonso Henriques Foundation, New York University School of Law, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and the Center for International Water Affairs (Colorado State University).

Project funded by DG Environment (European Commission), the Ministry of Environment, the AGBAR Foundation and the Biodiversity Foundation.

This project consisted of the organisation and preparation of a seminar for professionals and decision-makers, the preparation of a document on the negotiation process of this directive as well as the edition and publication of the book: The Implementation of the Water Framework Directive in Spain: Challenges and Opportunities reflecting the results of the seminar which focused on analysing the implications that the then proposed Water Framework Directive could have for Spain as well as practical strategies to ensure its effective implementation. This project was funded by DG Environment (European Commission), the Ministry of Environment, the AGBAR Foundation and the Biodiversity Foundation.

Este proyecto consistió en la organización y preparación de un seminario de profesionales y responsables de la toma de decisiones, la preparación de un documento sobre el proceso de negociación de esta directiva así como en la edición y publicación del Libro: La Aplicación de la Directiva Marco del Agua en España: Retos y Oportunidades reflejando los resultados del seminario que se centró en analizar las implicaciones que podría tener para España la entonces propuesta para una Directiva Marco del Agua así como estrategias prácticas para asegurar su aplicación efectiva. Este proyecto fue financiado por la DG de Medio Ambiente (Comisión Europea), el Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, la Fundación AGBAR y la Fundación Biodiversidad.

Assistance to the Directorate-General for the Environment (European Commission) in the elaboration of its communication strategy for the Water Framework Directive.

Assistance to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on the enforcement of international wildlife trade controls in the European Union.

Technical assistance to the Generalitat de Catalunya throughout 2001 and 2002 for the preparatory process of the World Summit for Sustainable Development.

Publication of the book 'La participació pública en els procediments administratius ambientals' as a result of a conference organised jointly by the IIDMA and the Fundació Internacional Olof Palme.

This was a second phase of the Ondina project and its objective was the promotion of mechanisms for the sustainable management of shared water resources between Spain and Portugal and the implementation of the WFD and the 1998 Portuguese-Spanish Convention on the sustainable management of shared basins. The project was funded by DG Environment (European Commission), the Tinker Foundation of the USA and the Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento (FLAD) of Portugal. Three workshops were held in the basins of the Duero (Zamora), Tagus (Castelo Branco) and Guadiana (Mérida). One of the results was the publication of two booklets on "The Water Framework Directive and the Spanish-Portuguese Agreement: repercussions for the Iberian basins" and the "Legal and Institutional Framework for Public Participation in the Iberian Basins".

Assistance to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the organisation and development of an initiative on human rights and the environment (2002).

This project was awarded to the Milieu Ltd- IIDMA consortium, and consisted of a detailed analysis of the measures adopted by the Kingdom of Spain to transpose eighteen EU directives in different environmental sectors: EIA, air quality, water, hazardous substances, biotechnology and waste.

This project, financed by the British Council and the SCH Foundation, consisted of the preparation of a document on governance for sustainable development and the organisation of a workshop and a conference held on 19 and 20 January 2005 to exchange experiences on the implications for sustainable development of the EU White Paper on Governance and the European Constitution.

Analysis of the judicial and administrative channels and channels in international forums to defend these cetaceans against the use of low-frequency sonar in military manoeuvres. Commissioned by the Fuerteventura Island Council.

Project funded by the World Bank. Members of the IIDMA team are participating in a World Bank funded project, advising the General Water Directorate of the Republic of Serbia and the Water Executive Office of the Republic of Montenegro in the preparation of their respective Water Laws.

This project, awarded by the Biodiversity Foundation to IIDMA, focused on the preparation of a study and a practical guide providing information on the legal mechanisms available to citizens both to prevent damage to the environment, such as the various mechanisms for public participation offered by our legal system and EU and international institutions, and to bring to the attention of the relevant authorities the facts that cause aggression to the environment. The guide was distributed to 1,500 workers in SMEs and the self-employed throughout Spain.

The Legal Regime for the Protection of Deep-sea Habitats. Legal analysis on the protection of deep-sea habitats prepared at the request of Oceana-Europe.

El IIDMA participó en la Cuarta reunión de la Academia de Derecho Ambiental de UICN celebrada en la Universidad de Pace (Nueva York) del 16 al 20 de octubre de 2006, Implementando el Derecho Ambiental. El Papel Crítico en su Ejecución y Cumplimiento.

IIDMA participated in the Fourth Meeting of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law held at Pace University (New York) from 16-20 October 2006, Implementing Environmental Law. The Critical Role in its Implementation and Enforcement.

Project carried out for the European Commission as a result of a consortium with Milieu Ltd. consisted in the elaboration of studies to analyse the conformity of Spanish legislation with certain environmental directives. IIDMA's work focused on the analysis of the following Directives: Groundwater (80/68); Emissions Trading (2003/87); GMOs (2001/18); Animal Testing (86/609) and Large Combustion Plants (2001/80).

This project consisted of analysing the conformity of the Water Law Initiative of the Mexican State of Zacatecas with the Mexican Water Law, as well as drawing up proposals and recommendations for differentiating elements to be introduced in the same. To this end, IIDMA staff travelled to Zacatecas to hold interviews with the team of the Secretary of Agricultural Development of the State of Zacatecas and representatives of the main stakeholders.

Elaboration of a useful and practical guide that contributes to the dissemination of knowledge on international environmental law and therefore to its application, respect and protection. It is intended to serve as support and reference material.

This project was co-financed by Obra Social de Caja Madrid.

Commissioned by the International Organisation Oceana-Europe, IIDMA prepared the report The Protection of Sharks: a Legal and Policy Analysis in 2007.

The project consisted of the preparation of studies to analyse the conformity of Spanish legislation with certain environmental directives in the framework of a contract signed by Mileu Ltd. with the European Commission, namely the Directives on waste electrical and electronic equipment, on hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (2002/95) and on urban waste water treatment (91/271).

Assistance to the Expo Zaragoza 2008 bid in the elaboration of documents on international water resources policy.

This project carried out four studies on the legal-institutional framework of the aforementioned countries and included an analysis or mapping of the main stakeholders in these countries and was part of the work being carried out by the Conference of Ibero-American Water Directors General.

The main objective of this project has been to contribute to the implementation process of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the future Maritime Policy of the EC through:

The identification and analysis of the main legal mechanisms existing in the Spanish legal system for the protection and conservation of the marine environment of Spanish waters in the face of potential negative impacts caused by maritime and/or land-based human activities.

The drafting of proposals in order to overcome the legal loopholes detected.

The promotion and encouragement of an effective application of the regulations for the protection of the marine environment, which will consequently lead to the improvement of marine ecosystems.

This project, carried out by IIDMA during 2008-2009, was supported by Obra Social Caja Madrid and the Oak Foundation. Its development consisted of the preparation of a series of reports; a survey of a hundred professionals related to the management, use and protection of the seas in our country in order to gather information and compare the preliminary results of the project and the convening of a workshop behind closed doors on 8 September 2009, held at the headquarters of the Representation of the European Commission in Spain, in which thirty professionals from different fields (administrations, research centres, professional and sport fishing, NGOs, renewable energy, etc.) participated, in which a version of the project was presented to the public. ) in which a preliminary version of the Guide "Governance for the Protection of the Marine Environment in Spain: Practical Guide", the final result of the project, was presented in order to reflect their opinions, suggestions and comments. The IIDMA aims to provide, through this document that can be downloaded here, an information and consultation tool that encompasses the main legal tools on the marine environment in Spain, with the aim of facilitating the work of all stakeholders in the planning and management of the marine environment.

The project consisted of the preparation of studies to analyse the conformity of Spanish legislation with certain environmental directives in the framework of a contract signed by Mileu Ltd. with the European Commission, specifically the Directives on Bathing Water Quality Management (2006/7/EC) and Packaging and Packaging Waste (94/62/EC).

This project, within the framework of the National Strategy for River Restoration, consisted of the elaboration of a legal study that analyses the legal instruments for the elaboration of a river restoration project including a comparative law perspective, the competence framework, the administrative management of riparian land, the techniques of defence and protection of the public hydraulic domain, the legal mechanisms for the disposal of river land and other measures for river restoration.

The project consisted in the elaboration of a legal study that analyses the instruments of land stewardship including a comparative law perspective, the actors of land stewardship, the legal mechanisms available in the Spanish legal system for land stewardship and the taxation aspects, among others.

On behalf of Oceana, IIDMA won a victory in court with a National Court ruling that forced the Secretary General of the Sea to provide data on the level of mercury contamination in Spanish fish products. After requesting this information since 2007, Oceana requested the swift execution of the ruling, which became known on 23 December 2009.

The project consisted of the preparation of studies to analyse the conformity of Spanish legislation with certain environmental directives within the framework of a contract signed by Mileu Ltd. with the European Commission, specifically the Directives on Floods (2007/60/EC), Batteries and Accumulators (2006/66/EC), Management of Waste from Extractive Activities (2006/21/EC), Groundwater Protection (2006/118/EC), National Emission Ceilings for certain Atmospheric Pollutants (2001/81/EC).

The project consisted in the elaboration of studies to analyse the conformity of Spanish law with these articles in various sectors of activity in the framework of a contract signed by Mileu Ltd with the European Commission.

The project consisted of the preparation of studies to analyse the conformity of Spanish legislation with certain environmental directives within the framework of a contract signed by Mileu Ltd. with the European Commission, specifically the Marine Strategy (2008/56/EC) and INSPIRE (2007/2/EC) Directives.

The project consisted of an analysis of the procedural and substantive law applicable to access to justice in environmental matters in Spain carried out for the European Commission. for the e-justice portal.

In the framework of the Life+ funding awarded in 2012 to Justice & Environment, an organisation of which IIDMA is a member, we carried out two case studies to analyse how climate change was taken into account in environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment procedures. For the first, the case of the Balboa refinery was chosen, and for the second, the case of the Renewable Energy Plan (2011-2010).

The project consisted in the elaboration of a legal study analysing both legal and institutional aspects related to resin harvesting including EU law and policy, forestry law, procurement law, EU subsidies and territorial contracts.

As part of the Life+ funding awarded in 2013 to Justice & Environment, an organisation of which IIDMA is a member, we carried out two case studies (the Siroco oil exploration and the Fayón combined cycle plant in Aragón) to analyse how the analysis of alternatives is carried out in EIA procedures in Spain. A case law analysis was also carried out to examine whether in Spain it is possible to appeal directly against the decision of an administration that decides on the submission to EIA of an Annex II project (screening decision).

As part of the Life+ funding awarded in 2013 to Justice & Environment, an organisation of which IIDMA is a member, we conducted a review to assess the functioning of the European Commission's EU Pilot complaints register in environmental matters.

As part of the Life+ funding awarded in 2013 to Justice & Environment, an organisation of which IIDMA is a member, we conducted a review to assess how energy transition aspects are addressed in legislation and policy relating to:

  • Renewable energy production.
  • Smart grids that are capable of distributing and storing energy from renewable sources.
  • Reducing energy consumption, including energy efficiency.

Since then it has achieved:

  • Lowering the authorised emissions of several thermal power plants.
  • Stopping the discharge of waste water from large combustion plants.
  • Raising awareness among citizens, companies and administrations about the negative effects of coal on health and the environment.      
  • Make contributions to the boards of directors of large energy companies to promote the closure of power plants and to support the promotion of renewable energies.

The main objective of this project has been to contribute to the achievement of the objectives and principles of the Common Fisheries Policy as set out in its 2013 Regulation, promoting the correct implementation and enforcement of that policy, in accordance with the provisions of the EU Fisheries Control Regulation.

This project, carried out by IIDMA from October 2014 to September 2015, was supported by the Oak Foundation. Its development consisted of the analysis of the application of the Fisheries Control Regulation in Spain through the so-called legal gap analysis, the search for data, conducting interviews and surveys with professionals related to fisheries in order to gather information and compare the preliminary results of the project and the convening of a closed workshop on 29 June 2015, held at the headquarters of the Representation of the European Commission in Spain, in which thirty professionals from different areas (Administrations, professional fisheries, and NGOs) participated. The aim of the workshop was to present a preliminary document of the project in order to gather opinions, suggestions and comments.

The result of this project is the document entitled "The Implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy: The Application of the Control Regulation in Spain" which can be downloaded here. With this document, IIDMA wishes to offer an information and consultation tool that encompasses the main legal tools on the implementation of the Fisheries Control Regulation in Spain, with the aim of facilitating the work of stakeholders in fisheries.

2017 -

The Supreme Court has ruled that NGOs can be parties to environmental sanctioning proceedings, which means that other environmental organisations can also be parties to such administrative proceedings.

The ruling was the final result of a long legal process initiated as a result of the discharges in 2011 by the ships Burgas 3 and Schackenborg off Tarragona.

The ruling established case law in favour of transparency and the defence of the environment.

This decision recognised the direct implementation of the Aarhus Convention on access to information and justice in environmental matters. By appearing in a case, NGOs have the right to receive notifications, participate in the investigation and present arguments, as the Supreme Court understood that their interest is to serve a common good such as the preservation of the environment.

The IIDMA collaborated with the EUKI Project, an initiative promoted by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) that ran until February 2020, with the participation of Germany, France, Ireland, Spain and Hungary. This project seeks to promote cooperation between different countries of the European Union to adopt and disseminate best practices among professionals in the sector in the field of climate change mitigation, and to create multidisciplinary working networks. To this end, workshops, policy analysis and communication actions were developed to raise public awareness. More info, here.

The LIFE-A2J-EARL project aimed to promote the correct application and enforcement of European Union environmental law through effective access to justice for the public by enabling the review (both administrative and judicial, as well as through complaint procedures before other review bodies) of acts or omissions by a public authority that undermine the environmental legal order. Access to justice is a fundamental means by which citizens and NGOs can support the implementation and enforcement of laws and policies to protect the environment. More info, here.

An unprecedented order of the Supreme Court of March 2019 annulled the assessment of costs approved in a judicial process to the payment of which the International Institute of Law and Environment (IIDMA), a non-profit organisation, which had previously been granted free legal aid by the corresponding Free Justice Commission, had been ordered to pay. This recognition was granted by direct application of Law 27/2006 (Aarhus Law), as it is an environmental NGO that meets the requirements established by this Law. established by this Law.

IIDMA prepared the analysis 'The UK Climate Change Committee: A model for Spain?' in which it recommended the creation of a Climate Change and Energy Transition Committee as a collegiate and consultative body for scientific advice on climate change. The creation of this independent body was finally contemplated in the Spanish Climate Change and Energy Transition Law.

This analysis identifies needs and makes recommendations to harmonise the development of renewables in Spain and the preservation of biodiversity and territory.

Early identification of risks is essential to avoid significant impacts on our biodiversity. The most appropriate instrument is the strategic environmental assessment, which allows the effects of plans, programmes and policies to be studied. Spain has the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan, the Energy Transport Network Development Plan and the energy planning of the Autonomous Communities, which also plays an essential role in this case. However, not all of these plans have sufficiently taken into account the relationship between the deployment of renewables and the impacts on biodiversity and territory.

The International Institute for Law and Environment (IIDMA) presented a comprehensive report analysing the sectoral policies of the six main Spanish banks (Bankia, Bankinter, BBVA, CaixaBank, Sabadell and Santander) and offering a series of recommendations to the sector.

IIDMA prepared the report 'The role of the Autonomous Communities in the fight against climate change: autonomous energy and climate plans', which analyses the progress made by the Autonomous Communities in the fight against climate change. In particular, the report examines the constitutional regime of distribution of competences in the area of climate change and energy transition, analyses the current state and content of the regional energy and climate plans, as well as the institutional framework and existing mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of energy and climate plans and/or strategies at regional level.

The study entitled Spanish Banks and Environmental Reporting: Analysis of Non-Financial Information Statements 2020 aims to contribute to the transparency of Spanish banks with respect to the environmental footprint of their financial activity. Although it is not possible to establish a ranking, due to the heterogeneity of the data provided by each bank, it does highlight the progress made by Bankinter, BBVA and Banco Santander in publishing information on their participation in carbon-intensive sectors.

These conferences, organised by IIDMA, facilitated the exchange of views and experiences on climate and energy action at regional level. The different events were attended by dozens of specialists from the political, academic and environmental and energy law fields.

The report "The regional Climate Change Expert Committees and their contribution to achieving climate neutrality" was presented at the conference. This publication highlights that, although the creation of these committees should be viewed positively, their translation to the regional level is failing because they lack the necessary mechanisms and resources to carry out their task. For this reason, the IIDMA recommends that these bodies be accompanied by a clear and detailed regulatory framework, greater transparency, functional and budgetary independence, and a system of remuneration for their work.

UN Summits

IIDMA has been attending major UN conferences on the environment since 1997

23-27 June 1997, New York - As a member of the field delegation, IIDMA assisted the representatives of the indigenous peoples of Latin America.

24-28 November 1997, Madrid - IIDMA provided legal assistance to Indigenous peoples' representatives on access to biological resources and protection of traditional knowledge.

25 October-5 November 1999, Bonn - Invitation by LEAD-EUROPE (Leadership for Environment and Development).

26 August-04 September 2002, Johannesburg - Participation as observers.

13-15 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - Participation as observers.

20-22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - IIDMA presented a proposal for Rio +20 supported by numerous NGOs to improve the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.

20-22 May 2019, Nairobi - IIDMA participated in the three ad-hoc WG meetings on the Global Compact for the Environment in Nairobi in 2019.

20-21 June 2019, Geneva - Invitation by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment.

2-15 December 2019, Madrid - Attendance as observers and participants in different events.

31 October-13 November 2021, Glasgow - Attendance as observers and participants in different events.

23-27 June 2014, Nairobi - IIDMA participated in different meetings.

30 June-2 July 2014, Maastricht - IIDMA participated in different meetings.

23-27 May 2016, Nairobi - IIDMA participated in different meetings.

11-15 March 2019, Nairobi - IIDMA participated in different meetings.

15-17 June 2015, Geneva - IIDMA made a presentation on Financial Barriers to Access to Environmental Justice in Spain: Cost Mitigation.

11-13 September 2017, Budva (Montenegro) - IIDMA participated in different meetings.