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Charles E. Di Leva JD'78

2020 VLSAA Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

Charles Di LevaCharles E. Di Leva is a leading authority on international environmental law and environmental and social standards. Since 2018, he has been the World Bank’s chief officer, environmental and social standards, and is responsible for advising the world’s largest multilateral financial institution on the application of these standards including for the “Environmental and Social Framework for Investment Project Finance” (2018), of which he was a lead author. He also served as chief counsel, environmental and international law, (2004-2016) where he recruited a diverse practice group responsible for environmental and social safeguards; climate change law and climate finance; advising on multilateral environmental agreements and relations with a range of UN agencies; and representing the Bank in compliance investigations, such as those carried out by the Bank’s Independent Inspection Panel. Charles represented the Bank at almost every landmark event for the UN Climate Change Convention, Paris Agreement, and Biodiversity Convention and led the Bank’s accreditation to the Global Environmental Facility and to the Green Climate Fund.

Prior to the World Bank, Charles served in the U.S. Department of Justice as trial attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division (1984-86, 1990-1992). He also served with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as the Director of the Environmental Law Program and Center (Bonn, 1999-2001), and in the United Nations Environment Program as a Senior Officer in the Environmental Law Unit (Nairobi. 1989-90). Since 1994, he has been an adjunct professor at both the American University Washington College of Law and at George Washington School of Law, where he has taught courses related to trade and environment, the law of international financial institutions and sustainable development, and comparative environmental law.

Charles is a member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, the American Society of International Law, and the D.C. Bar Association. He is a graduate of Vermont Law School and the University of Rhode Island.