The protection of the world environment is indispensable to the broader objective of sustainable development. With the earth’s oceans and atmosphere generally lying beyond the territorial sovereignty of UN member states, it is important to view pollution, warming, and disintegration as transnational threats. However, before environmental and social issues may be addressed within the international legal order, the order itself must be given equitable legal and institutional authority.
CDIL emphasizes the connection between issues relating to international democracy and global governance and issues tied to sustainable development and the environment. CDIL follow-through projects regarding environmental sustainability include researching and promoting the establishment of the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), local to global implementation of Agenda 21, and the strengthening of international environmental laws and institutions.
INTGLIM: CDIL co-chairs and is a secretariat for the UNCED International NGO Task Group on Legal and Institutional Matters (INTGLIM). Hundreds of experts and organizations from all issue sectors and regions in the world participated in INTGLIM deliberations during UNCED. INTGLIM continued to serve as an information clearing-house about UNCED follow-up, promoting "CSD Watch" activities, links between the Earth Summit and other U.N. issues, and organizing NGO collaboration and as a forum for debate and strategy formulation.
U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD): CDIL is one of most active organizations researching, monitoring and promoting an effective CSD.
For the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002, the INTGLIM served as a legal and institutional issues caucus and focused on the issues of global governance for the environment and sustainable development as well as legal issues. INTGLIM has been addressing issues of NGO access and participation, as well as "Type 2" partnerships, corporate accountability and other governance issues.
Agenda 21: CDIL is promoting local, national and international implementation of Agenda 21, the 40 chapter local to global long-range action plan to achieve sustainable development. CDIL is researching and promoting establishing bottom-up local, county, and state Agenda 21 and CSD processes in the U.S.
Citizens' Network for Sustainable Development: CDIL Director serves as a member of Executive Committee and Co-Chair of Legal and Institutional Working Group.
Sustainable D.C. Project: The SDC project goal is to assist in developing model sustainable development plans for Washington, D.C., especially by encouraging Washington-based national and international organizations to apply some of their expertise and resources to "their own back yard."
Environment and Development Resource Center - D.C. CDIL served as a Washington office cooperating with EDRC, a Brussels-based organization promoting global sustainable development. CDIL developed a program to promote clearing-house and capacity building goals between Northern and Southern NGOs.
Federalist-Green Project (FGP). FGP is a research project to develop and explore the use of resolutions, initiatives and referenda for the promotion of fundamentally new policies, directions and coalitions on global to local issues.