Identifying ecocide as a crime is not new - Sweden’s prime minister Olaf Palme highlighted it at the time of the Stockholm Declaration in 1972, and it was further discussed in the decades preceding the drafting of the Rome Statute in the 1990s, though it did not make the final draft (except as applied specifically to wartime environmental harm).
It was researched in depth from 2009 by UK barrister Polly Higgins (below), who proposed it into the United Nations International Law Commission in 2010 as a fifth Crime Against Peace (as the Rome Statute crimes were called). She has advocated its crucial importance ever since. Polly Higgins has familiarised the world with the term “ecocide” in contexts ranging from international diplomatic circles to NGOs and cultural forums to journalists and grass roots activists, inspiring a worldwide awareness of the potential of a law of ecocide. [...continued below]
Mission LifeForce came into existence in 2017 to enable the next stage of putting that law in place by financing those States who can take it forward, while simultaneously creating the opportunity for
- conscientious protectors standing up for frontline communities to be heard in a court of law
- judiciary to recognise ecocide as a missing crime
You can read more about Polly, and about ecocide law and its history here.