Biocracy Award

The Biocracy Award honors achievements that contribute in a particularly effective way to an improved alignment of the legal system with the responsibility towards all lives. In addition to jurisprudence, achievements in science, environmental education and politics are eligible for consideration. The award, which was presented for the first time in 2012 in collaboration with the Research Center for Environmental Law (Forum) at the University of Hamburg, is sponsored by the Hamburg entrepreneur, environmental pioneer and founder of the HAUS DER ZUKUNFT Dr. Georg Winter.

Biocracy Award 2013: Dr. Cathrin Zengerling
Biocracy Award 2013: Dr. Cathrin Zengerling
Biocracy Award 2013: Prof. Dr. Berndt Heydemann, Award for lifetime achievements
Biocracy Award 2013: Prof. Dr. Berndt Heydemann, Award for lifetime achievements
Biocracy Award 2013 Prof. Dr. Berndt Heydemann, Dr. Georg Winter
Biocracy Award 2013 Prof. Dr. Berndt Heydemann, Dr. Georg Winter

Biocracy Award 2013

Dr. Cathrin Zengerling
Study on: “Greening International Jurisprudence: Environmental NGOs before International Courts, Tribunals, and Compliance Committees”


The study examines how international courts, tribunals and organs of compliance control enforce international environmental law. The subjects covered include the International Court of Justice, the Human Rights Tribunals, the World Dispute Settlement Mechanism, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, as well as the fulfillment control procedures under the Aarhus Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. Both the structures and the environmentally relevant decisions of the institutions mentioned are analyzed. Particular attention is given to the role of environmental organizations in the procedures. The author examines the status quo and determines that significant deficits exist. She makes proposals for the further development of international legal institutions in order to achieve better protection of the environment and natural resources. In particular, she calls for a strengthening of the environmental organizations in the existing procedures and the establishment of a new International Environmental Court.

Prof. Dr. Dr. hc. Berndt Heydemann
Award for lifetime achievements

  • Professor of Zoology and Ecology at the University of Kiel
  • Minister of the Environment and State Development Minister of Schleswig-Holstein (1988 to 1993)
  • At the Zoological Institute of the University of Kiel, established and expanded the field of agricultural ecology research and coastal biology research, now “Wadden Sea Research” within Applied Ecology (1953 to 1964)
  • Organized the department of “Experimental Ecological Coastal Research” with the support of the Volkswagen Foundation (1964 to 1966)
  • Director at the Biology Center of the University of Kiel (1970 to 1988)
  • Founded the Nieklitz Ecology and Ecotechnology Foundation (NICOL) with the Center for Human-Nature-Technology Science (ZMTW) (1998)
  • Received the Environmental Prize of the German Environment Foundation (DBU), the Bruno H. Schubert Nature Conservation Prize, and the Golden Badge of Honor from the German Society for Animal Protection (2005)

BDr. Angela Schwerdtfeger, Dr. Georg Winter, Dr. Jan Hendrik Dietrich
Dr. Angela Schwerdtfeger, Dr. Georg Winter, Dr. Jan Hendrik Dietrich

Biocracy Award 2012

Dr. Angela Schwerdtfeger
Study on: “German administrative legal protection under the influence of the Aarhus Convention”

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In her dissertation, Angela Schwerdtfeger examines the extent to which the requirements of the international treaty and resulting European directives can be implemented dogmatically in the German system of subjective legal protection. She also goes into the question of whether the German Environmental Appeals Act satisfies the international and European requirements. On the one hand, the investigation deals with the environmental organizations’ right to file action. In May 2011, the corresponding German legislation was found by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to be inadequate. On the other hand, the investigation looks at the consequences for individuals’ right to file action. Although the requirements of international and European law are not as clear in this area and raise more complex questions, further development of German law is called for. Increased judicial access in environmental matters cannot remain without consequences for the German legal protection system.

Dr. Jan Hendrik Dietrich
Study on: “National defense within the limits of environmental responsibility”

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The study looks at the conflict of objectives between environmental concerns and the interests of national defense from a legal perspective. It demonstrates the real impact conditions of the law based on a legal analysis of military-related environmental burdens, as well as the current legal framework for environmentally responsible behavior of the German armed forces, in order to identify regulatory flaws and enforcement shortcomings in international, European and national legislature and develop proposals for a sustainable solution to the conflict of objectives.