SOAS University of London

School of Law

International Environmental Law II: Biodiversity, Wildlife & Habitats

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 2

This module follows and complements International Environmental Law I: Principles, Institutions & Enforcement. It moves on to address a series of regimes around the broad themes of biodiversity, wildlife & habitats. It examines theoretical and practical dimensions of international legal and institutional arrangements concerning some of the most crucial environmental issues of our time. This includes the various dimensions of the biodiversity regime, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, its protocols and related legal instruments. These cover a wide variety of issues ranging from conservation and use of biodiversity in general to specific implementation mechanisms like ‘access and benefit sharing’, measures addressing environmental safety in the context of the release of genetically modified organisms (biosafety), and proposed measures to take into account social and cultural dimensions of biodiversity conservation and use.

This module also addresses regimes focused on the protection of nature and animals (wildlife), including a focus on the protection of migratory species and specific conservation techniques, such as the regulation of trade (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). The course also covers measures for the protection of specific habitats, ecosystems and biomes, including forests and polar areas, where distinct legal regimes have made a significant contribution to the development of international environmental law.

Scope and syllabus

The module covers, for instance, regimes concerning:

  • Biodiversity conservation and use;
  • Nature and wildlife protection;
  • Habitats, ecosystems and biomes.

Suggested reading

  • Shawkat Alam, Sumudu Atapattu, Carmen G. Gonzalez & Jona Razzaque eds, International Environmental Law and the Global South (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
  • Pierre-Marie Dupuy & Jorge E. Viñuales, International Environmental Law (Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed 2018).
  • Ellen Hey, Advanced Introduction to International Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, 2016).
  • Timo Koivurova, Introduction to International Environmental Law (Routledge, 2014).
  • James R. May and Erin Daly, Global Environmental Constitutionalism (Cambridge University Press, 2015) 
  • Philippe Sands & Jacqueline Peel, Principles of International Environmental Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 4th ed. 2018)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules