Edith Brown Weiss

Francis Cabell Brown Professor of International Law

A.B., Stanford; J.D., Harvard; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley; LL.D.(Hon.), Chicago-Kent; LL.D. (Hon.), University of Heidelberg

Areas of Expertise:

Environmental Law, International Law

Professor Brown Weiss is highly active in the areas of public international, environmental, and water resources law. In September 2002 she was appointed to a 5-year term on the...

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Professor Brown Weiss is highly active in the areas of public international, environmental, and water resources law. In September 2002 she was appointed to a 5-year term on the 3-member Inspection Panel of the World Bank and from 2003-2007 served full-time as the Chairperson of the Inspection Panel, an appointment at the Vice-Presidential level. Since January 2012, she has served as a Judge on the International Monetary Fund's Administrative Tribunal. Professor Brown Weiss is also a member of the nine person United Nations Environment Programme's International Advisory Council on Environmental Justice for UNEP's program on the rule of law.

Her past professional experience includes positions as Associate General Counsel for International Activities at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1990-92, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and Politics at Princeton University, and Research Associate at Columbia University and the Brookings Institution. 

Her numerous professional activities have included positions as President of the American Society of International Law, April 1994-96, U.S. Special Legal Advisor to the North American Commission on the Environment 1996-2002, chair of the Committee for Research on Global Environmental Change of the Social Science Research Council, 1989-94, and elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Law Institute, and the Commission on Environmental Law of the IUCN. She has been a member of the National Academy of Science's Commission on Geosciences, Environment and Resources, NAS Water Science and Technology Board, the NAS, Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Territories Panel on Sustainable Water Supplies in the Middle East, and the NAS Environmental Studies Board.

She served on the Board of Directors of the Japanese Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, the Council of Advisors to the Cousteau Society, the Board of Trustees for the Center for International Environmental Law, and the Advisory Council of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Professor Brown Weiss is a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law; the Journal of International Economic Law; the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law; the Asian Journal of 
International Law; the Indian Journal of International Law; Transnational Environmental
Law; International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics;
and is the faculty adviser to the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review. She is the author of many articles and books, including International Law for a Water-Scarce World (2013), Reconciling Environment and Trade (with Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder and John Jackson, 2d. ed., 2008), International Environmental Law and Policy (co-author, 1998, 2007), Engaging Countries: Strengthening Compliance with International Accords (co-author, 1998) and In Fairness to Future Generations: International Law, Common Patrimony, and Intergenerational Equity (1989), which received the Certificate of Merit Award in 1990 from the American Society of International Law, and has been published in French, Japanese, Spanish, and Chinese. 

In 2010, Professor Brown Weiss received the Manley O. Hudson Medal from the American Society of International Law, in 2008 the Award for International Environmental Law from the Center for International Environmental Law, in 2003 the American Bar Association (ABA) Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy, in 1996 the Prominent Women in International Law Award from the American Society of International Law, and in 1994 the Elizabeth Haub Prize for international environmental law given by the Free University of Brussels and the International Council of Environmental Law (ICEL).

Featured Scholarship

  • Edith Brown Weiss, International Law for a Water-Scarce World (Leiden, Neth.: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2013).    [BOOK]
  • Reconciling Environment and Trade (Edith Brown Weiss, John H. Jackson & Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder eds., Leiden, Neth.: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2d ed. 2008).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Daniel Barstow Magraw, Stephen C. McCaffrey, Stephanie Tai & A. Dan Tarlock, International Law for the Environment (St. Paul, Minn.: West Academic Publishing 2016 & Documents Supp. 2016).   
  • Engaging Countries: Strengthening Compliance with International Environmental Accords (Edith Brown Weiss & Harold K. Jacobson eds., Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press 1998).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Stephen C. McCaffrey, Daniel Barstow Magraw & A. Dan Tarlock, International Environmental Law and Policy (New York: Aspen Publishers 2d ed. 2007).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Daniel Barstow Magraw & Paul C. Szasz, International Environmental Law: Basic Instruments and References (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers 1992).    [BOOK]
View all scholarship

All Scholarship 1977 - Present

Books

  • Edith Brown Weiss, Daniel Barstow Magraw, Stephen C. McCaffrey, Stephanie Tai & A. Dan Tarlock, International Law for the Environment (St. Paul, Minn.: West Academic Publishing 2016 & Documents Supp. 2016).   
  • Edith Brown Weiss, International Law for a Water-Scarce World (Leiden, Neth.: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2013).    [BOOK]
  • Reconciling Environment and Trade (Edith Brown Weiss, John H. Jackson & Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder eds., Leiden, Neth.: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2d ed. 2008).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Stephen C. McCaffrey, Daniel Barstow Magraw & A. Dan Tarlock, International Environmental Law and Policy (New York: Aspen Publishers 2d ed. 2007).    [BOOK]
  • Fresh Water and International Economic Law (Edith Brown Weiss, Laurence Boisson de Chazournes & Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press 2005).    [BOOK]
  • Reconciling Environment and Trade (Edith Brown Weiss & John H. Jackson eds., Ardsley, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers 2001).    [BOOK]
  • Selected Essays on Understanding International Institutions and the Legislative Process (Edith Brown Weiss & Paul C. Szasz eds., Ardsley, N.Y.: Transnational Pubishers 2001).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Gong ping di dui dai wei lai ren lei: guo ji fa, gong tong yi chan yu shi dai jian heng ping [In Fairness to Future Generations: International Law, Common Patrimony, and Intergenerational Equity] (Wang Jing, Yu Fang & Lin Feng trans., Beijing: Fa lü chu ban she Chinese ed. 2000).   
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Daniel Barstow Magraw & Paul C. Szasz, International Environmental Law: Basic Instruments and References, 1992-1999 (Ardsley, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers 1999).    [BOOK]
  • The World Bank, International Financial Institutions, and the Development of International Law (Edith Brown Weiss, Adres Rigo Sureda & Laurence Boisson de Chazournes eds., D.C.: American Society of International Law 1999).    [BOOK]
  • Engaging Countries: Strengthening Compliance with International Environmental Accords (Edith Brown Weiss & Harold K. Jacobson eds., Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press 1998).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Stephen C. McCaffrey, Daniel Barstow Magraw, Paul C. Szasz & Robert E. Lutz, International Environmental Law and Policy (New York: Aspen Law & Business 1998).    [BOOK]
  • International Compliance with Nonbinding Accords (Edith Brown Weiss ed., D.C.: American Society of International Law 1997).    [BOOK]
  • Environmental Change and International Law: New Challenges and Dimensions (Edith Brown Weiss ed., Tokyo, Japan: United Nations University Press 1992).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Daniel Barstow Magraw & Paul C. Szasz, International Environmental Law: Basic Instruments and References (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers 1992).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, In Fairness to Future Generations: International Law, Common Patrimony, and Intergenerational Equity (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers & Tokyo, Japan: United Nations University 1989).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Seyom Brown, Nina W. Cornell & Larry L. Fabian, Regimes for the Ocean: Outer Space & Weather (D.C.: Brookings Institution 1977).    [BOOK]

Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals

  • Edith Brown Weiss, Integrating Environment and Trade, 19 J. Int'l Econ. L. 367-369 (2016).    [WWW]
  • Edith Brown Weiss & Lydia Slobodian, Virtual Water, Water Scarcity, and International Trade Law, 17 J. In'tl Econ. L. 717-737 (2014).    [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Voluntary Commitments as Emerging Instruments in International Environmental Law, 44 Envtl. Pol'y & L. 83-95 (2014).    [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, International Law in a Kaleidoscopic World, 1 Asian J. Int'l L. 21-32 (2011).    [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, On Being Accountable in a Kaleidoscopic World, 104 Am. Soc'y Int'l L. Proc. 477-490 (2010) (abridging 50 Indian J. Int'l L. 165-182 (2010)).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, On Being Accountable in a Kaleidoscopic World, 50 Indian J. Int'l L. 165-182 (2010) (abridged in 104 Am. Soc'y Int'l L. Proc. 477-490 (2010)).    [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Climate Change, Intergenerational Equity, and International Law, 9 Vt. J. Envtl. L. 615-627 (2008).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Legacies of Louis B. Sohn: The United Nations Charter and International Environmental Law, 16 Willamette J. Int'l L. & Disp. Resol. 212-224 (2008).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Preface to the Twentieth Anniversary Issue, 20 Geo. Int'l Envtl. L. Rev. 521-529 (2008).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Bottom Up Accountability, 37 Envtl. Pol'y & l 259 (2007).    [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss & Jolie Apicella, Welcome and Introductory Remarks for the Symposium on the International Responses to the Environmental Impact of War, 17 Geo. Int'l Envtl. L. Rev. 565-570 (2005).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, 53 Int'l & Comp. L.Q. 779-781 (2004) (reviewing Stephen C. McCaffrey, The Law of International Watercourses (2001)).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Interdisciplinary Collaboration with Jake, 24 Mich J. Int'l L. 1019-1021 (2003).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, A Tribute to Paul Szasz, 35 Cornell Int'l L.J. 465-469 (2002).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Invoking State Responsibility in the Twenty-First Century, 96 Am. J. Int'l L. 798-816 (2002).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, The Rise or the Fall of International Law?, 69 Fordham L. Rev. 345-372 (2000).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, The Emerging International System and Sustainable Development, 1 Int'l Rev. Envtl. Strategies 9-15 (2000).   
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Understanding Compliance with International Environmental Agreements: The Baker's Dozen Myths, 32 U. Rich. L. Rev. 1555-1589 (1999).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Strengthening National Compliance with International Environmental Agreements, 27 Envtl. Pol'y & L. 297-303 (1997).    [HEIN]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, International Environmental Law: Contemporary Issues and the Emergence of a New World Order, 81 Geo. L.J. 675-710 (1993).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Environment and Trade as Partners in Sustainable Development: A Commentary, 86 Am. J. Int'l L. 728-735 (1992).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Our Rights and Obligations to Future Generations for the Environment, 84 Am. J. Int'l L. 198-207 (1990).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, The Planetary Trust: Conservation and Intergenerational Equity, 11 Ecology L.Q. 495-581 (1984).    [HEIN] [Gtown Law]

Book Chapters and Collected Works

  • Edith Brown Weiss, Rule of Law for Nature in a Kaleidoscopic World, in Rule of Law for Nature: New Dimensions and Ideas in Environmental Law 27-45 (Christina Voigt ed., Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press 2013).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss & Ahila Sornarajah, Good Governance, Entry, in 4 Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law 516-528 (Rüdiger Wolfrum ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press 2012).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Intergenerational Equity, Entry, in 5 Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law 287-294 (Rüdiger Wolfrum ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press 2012).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Strengthening Compliance with Climate Change Commitments, in 1 Coexistence, Cooperation and Solidarity 693-720 (Holger P. Hestermeyer, Doris König, Nele Matz-Lück, Volker Röben, Anja Seibert-Fohr, Peter-Tobias Stoll & Silja Vöneky eds., Leiden, Neth.: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2012).   
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Implementing Intergenerational Equity, in Research Handbook on International Environmental Law 100-116 (Malgosia Fitzmaurice, David M. Ong & Panos Merkouris eds., Northampton, Mass.: Edward Elgar 2010).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, The Evolution of International Water Law, in 331 Recueil Des Cours: Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law 2007, at 167-404 (Leiden, Neth./Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2009).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss & Ahila Sornarajah, Good Governance, Entry, in Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (Rüdiger Wolfrum ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press online ed. 2009).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Le Développement Durable, une Éthique pour le XXIe Siècle [Sustainable Development, Ethics for the 21st Century], in Regards sur la Terre 2009: La Gouvernance du Développement Durable [Perspectives on the Earth 2009: Governance for Sustainable Development] 223-233 (Pierre Jacquet, Rajendra K. Pachauri & Laurence Tubiana eds., Paris: Presses de Sciences Po 2009).   
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Peter L. Lallas & Anna S. Herken, The World Bank Inspection Panel: Participation and Accountability, in Envisioning Reform: Enhancing UN Accountability in the Twenty-First Century 271-302 (Sumihiro Kuyama & Michael Ross Fowler eds., New York: United Nations University Press 2009).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss & John H. Jackson, The Framework for Environment and Trade Disputes, in Reconciling Environment and Trade 1-38 (Edith Brown Weiss, John H. Jackson & Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder eds., Leiden, Neth.: Koninklijke Brill NV 2d ed. 2008).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Intergenerational Equity, Entry, in Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (Rüdiger Wolfrum ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press online ed. 2008).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Water Transfer and International Trade Law, in Fresh Water and International Economic Law 61-92 (Edith Brown Weiss, Laurence Boisson de Chazournes & Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press 2005).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss & Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwaler, International Investment Rules and Water: Learning From the NAFTA Experience, in Fresh Water and International Economic Law 263-288 (Edith Brown Weiss, Laurence Boisson de Chazournes & Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press 2005).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Foreword, in Greening NAFTA: The North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation xxiii-xv (David L. Markell & John H. Knox eds., Stanford, Cal.: Stanford Law and Politics 2003).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss & John H. Jackson, The Framework for Environment and Trade Disputes, in Reconciling Environment and Trade 1-37 (Edith Brown Weiss & John H. Jackson eds., Ardsley, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers 2001).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Introduction, in Selected Essays on Understanding International Institutions and the Legislative Process xi-xiv (Edith Brown Weiss ed., Ardsley, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers 2001).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Conclusions: Understanding Compliance with Soft Law, in Commitment and Compliance: The Role of Non-Binding Norms in the International Legal System 535-553 (Dinah Shelton ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press 2000).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, International Waters Conflicts: Managing Competing Uses, in in Liber Amicorum "In Memoriam" of Judge José María Ruda 89-98 (José María Ruda & Calixto A. Armas Barea eds., The Hague: Kluwer Law International 2000).    [BOOK]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, Strengthening National Compliance With Trade Law: Insights from Environment, in New Directions in International Economic Law: Essays in Honour of John H. Jackson 457-471 (Marco Bronckers & Reinhard Quick eds., The Hague: Kluwer Law International 2000).    [BOOK]

Selected Contributions to Other Publications

  • Edith Brown Weiss, The Coming Water Crisis: A Common Concern of Humankind, 1 Transnat'l Envt'l L. 153-168 (2012).    [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss, The Evolution of International Environmental Law, 54 Japanese Y.B. Int'l L. 1-27 (2011).    [Gtown Law]
  • Edith Brown Weiss & Tanya Karina Lat, Engaging the World's Poor People in Sustainable Development, 51 German Y.B. Int'l L. 143-181 (2008).   
Recent scholarship

In the News

"Cardinal Rodríguez at Georgetown: Without Paris climate deal, 'some countries will not have a future'," coverage by National Catholic Reporter, November 4, 2015, featuring an event discussing Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment with remarks by Professor Edith Brown Weiss and Distinguished Visitor from Practice John Podesta (L’76), former counselor to President Obama on climate change and energy policy.

Cardinal, adviser to pope, sees rich, poor responsible to protect earth,” coverage by CatholicPhilly.com, November 3, 2015, featuring an event discussing Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment with remarks by Professor Edith Brown Weiss and Distinguished Visitor from Practice John Podesta (L’76), former counselor to President Obama on climate change and energy policy.

"Panel of law experts advising Government on haze meets for the first time," coverage in The Straits Times, May 23, 2014, featuring Professor Edith Brown Weiss.

"Can a Pope Help Sustain Humanity and Ecology?," coverage in The New York Times' Dot Earth, May 6, 2014, featuring Professor Edith Brown Weiss. Her presentation was quoted in the piece.

All News

"Cardinal Rodríguez at Georgetown: Without Paris climate deal, 'some countries will not have a future'," coverage by National Catholic Reporter, November 4, 2015, featuring an event discussing Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment with remarks by Professor Edith Brown Weiss and Distinguished Visitor from Practice John Podesta (L’76), former counselor to President Obama on climate change and energy policy.

Cardinal, adviser to pope, sees rich, poor responsible to protect earth,” coverage by CatholicPhilly.com, November 3, 2015, featuring an event discussing Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment with remarks by Professor Edith Brown Weiss and Distinguished Visitor from Practice John Podesta (L’76), former counselor to President Obama on climate change and energy policy.

"Panel of law experts advising Government on haze meets for the first time," coverage in The Straits Times, May 23, 2014, featuring Professor Edith Brown Weiss.

"Can a Pope Help Sustain Humanity and Ecology?," coverage in The New York Times' Dot Earth, May 6, 2014, featuring Professor Edith Brown Weiss. Her presentation was quoted in the piece.

Recent News