Cuba Delegation 2: Our July 2017 Presentation in Havana and ACOEL Progress on Pro Bono Projects in Cuba (Part 1 of a Two-Part Series)

Posted on September 12, 2017 by David B. Farer

In July, Mary Ellen Ternes and I spoke at the XI International Convention on Environment & Development in Havana, Cuba.  Our topic was Lessons Learned:  Effective Environmental Regulation of Critical Infrastructure Development & Operation.  Our paper on the topic was published in the proceedings of the Convention.

Our participation at the event was an outgrowth of the continuing work of the ACOEL Cuba Working Group, which explores the potential for ACOEL pro bono projects there.  Following our initial delegation to Havana in September 2016, the Working Group's further efforts have now also resulted in encouraging indications that we will be able to establish Memoranda of Understanding for Fellows to move forward on specific assignments in Cuba.

For our written and oral presentations, Mary Ellen and I focused on (a) the way that environmental controls over infrastructure development and operation have evolved and improved substantially in the U.S. over the last fifty years, and (b) the benefits of the lessons learned.  Mary Ellen addressed the areas of air and water quality, water supply, waste management, and sewage treatment.  I concentrated on remediation of contaminated media and the College's commitment to pro bono work.  In particular, I emphasized the goal of having Fellows provide pro bono environmental law services as may be requested on behalf of the Cuban people and certain institutions or environmental agencies in Cuba. 

During our Havana meetings, we were also invited to submit proposed MOUs for a joint research project and a teaching project.  We will be developing those MOUs and hope to have additional positive news and pro bono prospects on which to report.

Hurricane Irma Note:  As of the date of this posting, the Cuban people  – like so many others in the Caribbean and our own country -- are facing a long and difficult road to recovery from the hurricane’s devastation.    We hope that the College’s efforts can aid in this process.