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2010 Costa Rica program to support regional initiatives in environmental law in Central American and the Amazon

Costa Rica Program As part of two regional initiatives to develop environmental law education in Latin America, the 2010 University of Florida-University of Costa Rica Joint Program in Environmental Law will be enriched by the participation of attorneys and law students from Central America and Brazil.

The Central American participants will be part of a cohort that is being selected to participate in the development of a regional environmental law diploma for Central America, part of a broader capacity building initiative under the environment chapter of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Three participants will be selected from the pilot states of Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic in 2010. Another three will join the program in 2011.

For the fourth year in a row, the program will include participants from the Brazilian Amazon as part of larger University of Florida initiative to protect the world’s largest remaining forest through leadership skills training. The Amazon Conservation Leadership Initiative (ACLI) is a multifaceted effort to promote the development of leadership skills in the Amazon Basin. A key feature of this effort is the development of environmental law and environmental law clinics in the Brazilian Amazonian university system.

In 2007 and 2008, the clinic hosted two participants each year from the Federal University of Mato Grosso in the southern Amazon, which now has established an environmental law clinic. In 2009, the ACLI sent two participants from the Federal University of Pará in Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon River (see http://www.law.ufl.edu/conservation/costarica/spotlight/clinicbrazil.shtml). Discussions are now underway in Pará to create a new clinic focused on land tenure and the environment. For the 2010 program, ACLI will send participants from Mato Grosso, Pará and a third Amazonian state to Costa Rica further promote development of clinics and to encourage networking among clinics in the region.

U.S. students participating in the Costa Rica Program can assist with these regional programmatic movements as well as specific projects designed to promote environmental law in the region. All participants benefit from a culturally and educationally enriched classroom where the civil law, common law, international law, and the English, Spanish and Portuguese languages combine to form a sort of “environmental law creole.”

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