The Center for Social and Environmental Studies is a Colombian non-governmental organization, without political affiliation, committed to research, environmental education, monitoring of public policies and defense of the environment.

Through its Observatory for Coastal Marine Governance, it focuses several of its activities on the protection of coastal marine ecosystems and the communities that inhabit the coastal territory.

Our work is inspired by the principles of environmental sustainability and environmental justice, respect for human rights and the Social Rule of Law.

Our main areas of work are: coastal marine governance, environmental and climate justice, and the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 4 on education, SDG 7 on energy, SDG 13 on climate action, and SDG 14 on life below water and coasts


Ana Lucia Maya-Aguirre. Director. She is a lawyer and specialist in constitutional law of the National University of Colombia, and she holds an LLM in Energy and Environmental Law from Tulane University with the support of the J. William Fulbright scholarship. She is the Regional Director for Latin America of the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE). She is a member of the IUCN WCEL Group of Specialists in Oceans, Coasts and Coral Reefs. She was a visiting scholar of the Environmental Constitutionalism Program at the Global Scholar-in-Residence at Delaware Law School, Widener University. She was a fellow of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW). She was a consultant at The Access Initiative of the World Resources Institute and the Swiss Foundation for Development Cooperation (Swissaid). She coordinated the Right and Displacement Network, made up of 14 universities in Colombia with programs to address the population displaced by violence, a project implemented by the Latin American Institute for an Alternative Law and Society (ILSA) and supported by UNHCR and the Norwegian Refugee Council . Contact: anamaya@ceambientales.org

Lina Malagon. Coordinator of the Environmental Peace-building Area. She is a human rights lawyer and PhD in International Relations at University of St Andrews, UK. Her career has balanced academic scholarship, with work as a researcher, litigant and developing advocacy in conflict-affected and post-conflict countries. Her knowledge and experience is based on the interdisciplinary academic career and as a practitioner in the field of human rights, transitional justice and environmental peacebuilding, and the construction of public policy in Colombia, other Latin American countries, North America and Europe, for more than sixteen years. She was the principal adviser for the High Commissioner for Victims, Peace and Reconciliation in the Office of the Major of Bogota, Colombia, and Director of International Advocacy at the Colombian NGO, the Colombian Commission of Jurists.

Gerardo Gentil Orozco. Researcher and Coordinator of the Area of ​​Constitutional and Environmental Studies. Researcher and coordinator of the area of ​​constitutional and environmental studies. Graduated graduated with honors from the IDPHU Campestre Bilingual College, distinguished student of the last year at the Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla-Colombia and academic monitor in the area of ​​public law. He was an intern in the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment, and a member of the Environmental Law Clinic of the Universidad del Norte, where he was noted for his research work and high-impact litigation in national affairs. Currently, he is working on the development of an environmental law manual for non-lawyers and participating in the presentation of contributions to bills in the Colombian Congress, as well as reports to the United Nations bodies.

Lady Viviana Esteban García. She is a biologist from the National University of Colombia. She holds a master's degree in International Studies in Aquatic Ecology from the Tropics of the University of Bremen in Germany. She was a DAAD Fellow. She has special interest in the studying the biodiversity and governance of coastal ecosystems, territorial planning and public policies. She was a fellow of the Leibniz Institute in Tropical Marine Research and the University of Dar es Salaam to develop her master's thesis in Zanzibar, Tanzania evaluating the reproduction of corals after the coral bleaching event on three islands located in the urban area of ​​Zanzibar. She obtained the diploma in the international postgraduate course in environmental management for developing countries with the support of UNEP, UNESCO and the BMUB of Germany. She worked at the Institute of Urban Studies of the National University coordinating the preparation of the baseline studies for the declaration of the Regional Forest Reserve of the North of Bogotá, Thomas van der Hammen.

Faisury Cardona-Guerrero. Researcher. Agricultural engineer with a master's degree in sustainable development. She has experience in designing and development research projects, and application of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. She has worked on technical assistance to rural communities in climate change adaptation, food sovereignty, agroecology and water resources. She has experience researching on sustainable production systems for soil and water conservation, biophysical characterization of river basins for their integrated management, analysis of climate variability and climate change, and adoption of adaptation practices to climate variability. She was a fellow of the program for young researchers of the Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation of Colombia (Colciencias). Member of the Research Group on Water Resources Engineering and Soil (IREHISA), Universidad del Valle.

Edier Alexander Buitrago-Hernández. Researcher. Sociologist from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He holds a postgraduate degree as specialist in Digital Journalism at the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University. He was a member of the Human Rights Research Group of the Universidad del Rosario and worked as an assistant coordinator in the Project of the Colombian Observatory of Water Governance. He is the author of one of the chapters of the book "Caring for the earth: women, environment and climate change". He currently works as a journalist at the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University and is part of the editorial team of the journalism journal of the same university, Expeditio.

Luis Fernando Sánchez Lawyer, LLM and candidate to a PhD in law at the National University of Colombia. Professor at the Universidad de la Salle and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He has worked as a researcher and consultant in matters related to environmental law, human rights and constitutional law. He is co-author of several publications, such as "Environmental Conflicts: Conceptual and Methodological Elements for Analysis" in Environmental Conflict and Affectation to Environmental Rights (Editorial Universidad Nacional de Colombia), and "Constitutional Debates in Perspective of Environment: Contributions to Recent Judicial Decissions of the Constitutional Court "in Contemporary Environmental Debates (Editorial Universidad Nacional de Colombia).


Dr. Heidi Weiskel is an American marine ecologist who spent her summers on the islands off the coast of New England. She credits that experience for her lifelong dedication to marine ecology and coastal protection. She has a BA from Harvard University; an MS from Tufts University; and a PhD from the University of California, Davis, where she studied the effects of nutrient pollution on marine species. She did her postdoctoral work on oyster reef food webs at the University of Georgia. In addition to her field research, Heidi was the Director of Pollution Policy at the Pew Oceans Commission, which developed recommendations for the U.S. Congress and Administration to improve marine resource laws and regulations. She also worked at the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission on marine mammal protection policy, as an environmental research fellow at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, and as a science editor at UNESCO in Paris. She now serves as an Advisory Council Member of the Estuary & Ocean Science Center at San Francisco State University and a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Marine Connectivity Working Group. Since 2011, she has served as Staff Scientist with the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, an international NGO that provides pro bono support for public interest environmental attorneys around the world working to protect the environment and local communities from harmful developments. ELAW has partners in 80 countries, and Heidi has traveled widely to collaborate with them on the ground. When she is not abroad for work, she can be found performing Cuban dance in the Bay Area, California, where she lives.

Thuli Makama is Oil Change International’s Senior Advisor for Africa, providing strategic direction and campaign support for the organization’s work in Africa. Thuli works closely with civil society organizations and other stakeholders in the Africa region to shift energy finance towards clean energy access and to expose the impacts of fossil fuel projects. As a public interest environmental lawyer, Thuli has decades of experience advocating for public participation in environmental and economic development decisions. In 2010, she was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize also known as the Green Nobel. Prior to founding the Environmental Law Center, Thuli was Executive Director of the environmental justice organization Yonge Nawe/ Friends of the Earth Swaziland. She currently serves on the Boards of Greenpeace International and Environment Technology Concentration (ETC).

Carlos Lozano. Lawyer from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Law and Natural Resources from the University of Oregon as a Fulbright Scholar. He has extensive experience in environmental issues and human rights. He has worked in water resources, climate change, biodiversity and hazardous waste in different countries of Latin America, including Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. He has also worked on issues of human rights, damages and litigation of public interest. He has been a professor at Universidad del Rosario, in Colombia, and a columnist for Semana Magazine. He has worked with national and international non-governmental organizations, cooperation agencies and governments.

Sebastian Rubiano-Galvis. Lawyer and Master in Geography of the Universidad de los Andes (Colombia) and candidate for Ph.D. in the Department of Science, Policy and Environmental Management of the University of California, Berkeley (USA). He has a special interest in the relations between environmental governance, expert knowledge and power. He is a co-founder and member of the Environmental Law Research Group of the Universidad de los Andes and a clinical professor affiliated with the Environment and Public Health Clinic -MASP- of the same university. He has been a professor of environmental law at the Universidad de los Andes and the master's degree in environmental law and management at the Universidad del Rosario. He has been a consultant in environmental law and policy for organizations such as WWF, Gaia Amazonas, Tropenbos, Humboldt Institute, OIM, among others. He is currently Visiting Doctoral Fellow (2018-2019) in the Faculty of Jurisprudence of the Universidad del Rosario. He is the author of several publications on issues of law and environmental policy, such as "Territories in transformation, rights in movement" (Ed Uniandes 2018, with B. Sánchez) and "Regional autonomous corporations and environmental regulation of the territory on the northern edge of Bogotá "(in Lamprea and Alviar (eds.) Ed. Uniandes 2016, with V. Esteban).

Erin Daly is Professor of Law at Delaware Law School in the United States and the Executive Director of Dignity Rights International, which advances the human right to dignity throughout the world through education, advocacy, and litigation. She has written extensively and co-edited numerous volumes on environmental constitutionalism, including Global Environmental Constitutionalism (2015) and Implementing Environmental Constitutionalism (2018) and she is the co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Human Rights and the Environment: Indivisibility, Dignity Legality, Geography (2019). She is the author of Dignity Rights: Courts, Constitutions, and the Worth of the Human Person (2013), a comparative analysis of jurisprudence about the right to human dignity from around the world, and co-author of Reconciliation in Divided Societies: Finding Common Ground (2006), co-written with South African scholar Jeremy Sarkin and with an Introduction by Archbishop Desmond Tutu., She is currently at work on several projects about dignity rights, including the first legal casebook on the subject. She serves as the Director of the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment, and as the US National Correspondent for the Centre international de droit comparé de l'environnement (CIDCE).


Our logo is inspired by the Pinctada Imbricata, known as pearl oyster or mother pearl. It is a native specie of Colombia and quite striking for its ornamented shell (and occasional pearls). Historically it has had traditional uses by Indigenous People, Afro-descendant and local communities. Unfortunately, it has been over-exploited and is at risk due to the acidification of the oceans, which affects its development.


Marine and Coastal Governance. We contribute to strengthen the rule of law, institutions and public policy measures to protect marine and coastal territories and their ecosystems. We promote and disseminate the best practices to protect these ecosystems as a priority concern in political and political decision-making processes.

Environmental justice and climate justice. Factors such as poverty, geographic location, lack of state capacity and discrimination in all its manifestations increase the risks and adverse effects of natural disasters and climate change, including environmental displacement. We help develop skills and abilities for people to defend their rights and advocates before authorities to take these and other factors into account.

Sustainable Development Goals. Our work is focused on SDG 14 regarding measures taken to protect marine and coastal ecosystems, SDG 13 with respect to legislation and public policy to mitigate the effects of climate change and take measures to adapt to it, SDG 7 to support the transition to clean energy, and SDG 4 focused on an inclusive environmental education.

Constitutional and Environmental Studies. Environmental challenges pose great challenges around protecting vulnerable communities, and especially for coastal communities. Faced with this, the Ecological Constitution and environmental constitutionalism represent important steps, as well as a roadmap to face these challenges. We develop analyzes that allow the community to understand the scope of the most important constitutional and legislative advances that develop the Social Rule of Law and guarantee environmental justice.

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