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USAID Awards $700,000 to Vermont Law for Environmental Projects in Southeast Asia

March 7, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —
CONTACT: Peter Glenshaw, Director of Communications, Vermont Law School
Office: 802-831-1318, cell: 603-738-8487, home: 603-795-4764, pglenshaw@vermontlaw.edu

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt., March 7, 2014—The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law at Vermont Law School a $700,000 grant extension, increasing the total grant award to $6.8 million and enabling the partnership to expand its programs in Southeast Asia through September 2015.

The U.S.-China Partnership will use the funds to continue its efforts to raise awareness among Chinese government leaders of the importance of environmental protection and the need to create a legal or policy framework to promote sustainable development. This framework is needed not only within China, which faces tremendous environmental and public health-related challenges, but also for its overseas investments, which are on the rise. China is the third-largest investor internationally, behind the U.S. and Japan.

China’s most significant foreign investments have been made in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, in the nations of Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar, where Vermont Law is working to improve environmental governance. While such investments can improve standards of living and bring economic opportunities to these countries, they also bring environmental risk to disadvantaged communities that do not have the capacity to advocate for their own protection. The Vermont Law U.S.-China Partnership aims to address both the social and environmental impacts of foreign investment in the region by building upon the partnership’s relationships in China and successes collaborating with local officials and academic institutions.

“This extension reflects our accomplishments in China and will enable us to expand our expertise and work in the region,” said Siu Tip Lam, associate professor of law and program director of the U.S.-China Partnership. The extension will also draw from the rich student and faculty resources at Vermont Law School.

“Vermont Law students and faculty will be engaged in research projects that directly relate to the environmental governance issues that the region faces, especially with respect to mining projects, hydropower development, and agriculture,” Lam said.

With the support of USAID, Vermont Law launched the U.S.-China Partnership in 2006 to advance environmental governance and rule of law in China. In addition to receiving renewals of the USAID grant in 2009 and 2012, the U.S.-China Partnership also currently administers two environmental advocacy programs in China funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Kunming.

“USAID continues to offer Vermont Law a unique opportunity to make a difference in Southeast Asia,” said Marc Mihaly, president and dean of Vermont Law School. “We have a proven track record in China, and this grant extension reflects that. We look forward to watching as our faculty and students continue to positively influence environmental law and policy in that region.” For more information about the U.S.-China Partnership at Vermont Law School, visit www.vermontlaw.edu/china, email china@vermontlaw.edu or call 802-831-1341.

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Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, has the top-ranked environmental law program and one of the top-ranked clinical training programs in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; two Master’s Degrees (Master of Environmental Law and Policy, and Master of Energy Regulation and Law), and three post-JD degrees—LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, and LLM in Environmental Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, the South Royalton Legal Clinic, and the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. For more information, visit www.vermontlaw.edu, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

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