Unique among international organizations, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) operates at the global, regional, and national levels to build governmental capacity to protect the environment. With a membership of over 75 sovereign states and 800 nongovernmental organizations, IUCN functions as an intergovernmental organization at the transnational level while operationally embodying the maxim "think globally, act locally." IUCN acts as a consortium of environmental scientists and professionals, including environmental lawyers who have proposed and secured adoption of significant environmental treaties such as the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and their implementing legislation. This Essay sets forth for the first time IUCN's unusual constitution in terms of international law and explains the techniques that IUCN employs--significantly, the use of comparative law--to build capacity in environmental law worldwide.
Nicholas A. Robinson, IUCN as Catalyst for A Law of the Biosphere: Acting Globally and Locally, 35 Envtl. L. 249 (2005), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/368/.