About us

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 part of the Marine Working Group of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW). She is a member of the Advisory Council of the Dignity Rights International (DRI) in the US. She was 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 at ELAW. She has been consultant at The Access Initiative of the World Resources Institute, Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) 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

Héctor Herrera. Deputy Director. Coordinator of the Research and Public Policy Area. Lawyer with an Anthropology option from the Universidad de los Andes and a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He took courses in law and environmental culture at the Central European University, Hungary. He worked as a legal advisor for the Inter-American Association for the Defense of the Environment (AIDA) and as coordinator of the Environmental Justice Network in Colombia. He has organized more than 40 environmental education talks and workshops. He has been a consultant for Indepaz, Oxfam GB and Friends of the Earth in Colombia in issues such as environmental justice, climate, water issues, ecosystem protection, fair transitions, environmental participation and ethnic rights. He was a professor at the Universidad Sergio Arboleda in qualitative and quantitative research. He is Regional Assistant Director for Latin America of the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE in English).

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.


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).

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.

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).

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).


Our logo is inspired by the Pinctata 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. We monitor Colombian reports to international organizations about the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals . We develop projects that contribute to this achievement from the civil society sector. 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, and SDG 4 focused on an . inclusive environmental education.

Energy transition The current environmental and climate crisis faced by the planet is the result of the excessive use of fossil fuels. The international community has adopted commitments to reduce the use of coal and hydrocarbons in the world's energy matrixes, toward the energy transition to renewable energies. We analyze the effects of the energy transition. We contribute to the development of more democratic and effective forms achieve this transition, in order to protect ecosystems and communities.