Ethics Specialist Group, IUCN WCEL
Kathryn (Katy) Gwiazdon, J.D. currently lives and works in Washington, D.C. and serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Ethics and Law, an international non-governmental organization based in the U.S. (501(c)3). The core of her work advances the Biosphere Ethics Initiative, a program (adopted by IUCN) that seeks to evolve and push law and governance norms to better protect our planet and its natural and human communities. The heart of the work consists of meeting with local communities around the world to learn about the values that underlie their actions and decision-making, connecting these communities with one another to better address shared challenges, highlighting their stories on the global stage to help inform and move legal norms, and then support this work with inter-disciplinary scholarly research. Alongside her role as Executive Director, she teaches Public International Law and International Business Transactions at Northern Illinois University College of Law. In addition, Katy is a founding member of the Ecological Law and Governance Association, has served as Deputy Chair and Project Leader with the Ethics Specialist Group of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, and serves on the Executive Committee of the International Network for Epidemiology in Policy and as an Expert for the UN Harmony with Nature program.
Katy often presents her work with partner organizations, universities, Conferences of the Parties of treaty bodies, and at other local, regional, national, and international events. Notably, in 2020, she spoke as a Keynote at the Lisbon Forum of the North-South Center of the Council of Europe on using the ethical and legal principle of ubuntu as a methodology to build global solidarity. In 2018, she spoke before the UN General Assembly on corruption and ethics in environmental policymaking.
Right now, her research focuses on systems of law and governance that harm and/or help our human and natural world, including post-colonial theory and de-colonial action, with particular consideration to power dynamics. She is currently co-editing a publication on the Politics of Ecological Integrity, including a chapter on aspects of foreign direct investment in Brazil as modern-day colonialism, as well as a publication on Applied Climate Ethics (Routledge 2022) exploring the duties of nations to protect – and not harm – their citizens and the global community.