Bristol hosts groundbreaking new workshop on the criminalisation of ecocide

Media Relations Team, 29 February 2024

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Five women smiling for a photo in front of a digital whiteboard that says 'A New Crime of Ecocide'
(L-R): Baroness Bennett, Dr Suwita Hani Randhawa, Kerry McCarthy MP, Carla Denyer, Monica Lennon MSP

Dr Suwita Hani Randhawa, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at UWE Bristol, has convened the first cross-party workshop to discuss the opportunities, challenges and implications that a new crime of ecocide presents for the UK’s domestic and foreign policies. 

Ecocide – the mass destruction of the environment – has been the subject of increasing political discussion and legislative efforts in the UK. Supported by an Impact Acceleration Award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the workshop – the first of its kind – was held in Bristol in February 2024 and brought together a diverse group of external stakeholders, all of whom are actively engaged in ongoing efforts to criminalise ecocide in the UK.

This included notable politicians and activists, such as: Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (Green Party Peer and former leader of the Green Party of England and Wales); Carla Denyer (Co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales and Bristol City Councillor; Monica Lennon (MSP for Central Scotland); and Jojo Mehta, CEO and Co-Founder of Stop Ecocide International as well as academics with an interest in ecocide, climate justice and green politics. 

As the UK Government’s stance on ecocide has not yet been the subject of public discussion, the workshop provided the opportunity to critically engage with this pressing topic. The workshop also offered a strategic space for the small grouping of UK politicians and activists to discuss how to coordinate action towards their shared goals. 

Drawing on her expertise on the process of international criminalization, Dr Randhawa played a leading and facilitative role at the workshop. Commenting on its opportunities, Dr Randhawa said:

"Against the background of a global ecological crisis and attendant demands for climate justice, bringing together key actors from different sectors of UK society – all of whom share the common goal of ecocide’s recognition as a crime – into one space has been a productive way to discuss opportunities for future collaboration and activism on a pressing topic of our times." 

Dr Randhawa will now be taking the lead to operationalise the ideas explored at the workshop, all of which are aimed at mainstreaming ecocide within UK politics.

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