Our Strategic Approach

For nearly 50 years, ELI has been developing and catalyzing implementation of sound and effective laws and policies that address environmental problems.

Through our strong partnerships with governments, non-governmental and community groups, businesses, universities, judges, and environmental professionals across the globe, ELI is able to play a central role in bringing the best and most effective environmental solutions to bear, tailored to local circumstances. ELI also builds the capacity of stakeholders across the United States and around the world to improve environmental outcomes through teaching them about the law, procedures, their rights and strategies for change. ELI helps illuminate the most critical environmental decisions of the day by providing objective data and analysis, resulting in solutions. And ELI convenes diverse groups to work together to solve today’s most pressing challenges through seminars, workshops, trainings, and events.

As we look ahead, and as outlined in ELI’s Strategic Vision for 2021, ELI will amplify its strengths through a focus on:


Building Effective Environmental Protection SystemsBuilding Effective Environmental Protection Systems: From Law Development to Implementation

Supporting the development and improvement of effective governance and rule of law globally remains a core competency of  ELI. We will also focus efforts on how to harness private-sector partnerships, focusing on facilitating effective private environmental governance practices and on a shared long-term interest in building rule of law in foreign settings.

Current and past initiatives include:


Protecting the Global CommonsProtecting the Global Commons and Global Resources: Climate, Oceans, and Other Shared Resources

ELI will work on the governance dimensions of climate change, with particular focus on the environmental/energy law interface; the integration of climate adaptation, resilience, and water resource sensitivity considerations into environmental decisionmaking; law development and enforcement in emerging economies; and climate literacy training throughout the governance chain. ELI will also continue its focus on oceans and on building effective, transferable ocean protection laws and governance approaches, addressing such areas as marine resource planning, management of ocean fisheries, permitting and regulation of energy development, and marine natural resource damages. These “global commons” initiatives include:


Leading and Facilitating SustainabilityLeading and Facilitating Sustainability as a Foundation for a Healthy Environment, Prosperous Economies, and Vibrant Communities

ELI will continue its strong emphasis on law and governance as a means of advancing sustainability objectives and addressing natural resource conflicts. In addition, ELI will focus on technology and its role as an enabler and driver of environmental compliance and performance. Our current and past initiatives include:


Preventing PollutionPreventing Pollution of Air, Water, and Land Resources

ELI’s research, convening, and thought-leadership have helped clean the air, water, and land since our inception in 1969. However, the problems are not the same as they were, and neither are the solutions. ELI will therefore continue its work to protect the environment. Projects include:



ELI also publishes numerous books, research reports, and periodicals, furthering our efforts to make law work for people, places, and the planet.