ELP and ELS would like to congratulate the Environmental Law Society Summer Grant recipient for 2010, Melissa Uhl (1L). Melissa will be working with the Environment and Energy Group in the Bureau of Development Policy under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York.
She will be working on a land tenure, rights, and a governance action plan that surveys 120 member nations of the UN and seeks to identify the various human development priorities and how these can be tackled with several key Millennium Development Goals (reduce hunger, poverty, and mitigate climate change). Melissa will be working closely with the Legal Empowerment Team on the “property rights pillar,” which emphasizes legal access to property rights as one of the foundations of human empowerment. Melissa will be looking at two landscape scale categories for potential development investment: (a) avoidance of ecosystem destruction, and (b) transformations of landscapes into carbon sinks. It is not clear, yet, what the impacts of such investments will be on people living in or with a claim to such resources. Melissa’s research will contribute to setting up a system that the UNDP could use to ensure that the land rights of local people are institutionalized in the UNDP’s work relating to large land use stewardship and policy changes. Congratulations Melissa!