What's New

Launch of Charles D. Gonthier Memorial Lecture Series

Sat, 28 Mar 2015

The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), in collaboration with the Charles D. Gonthier Legacy Committee extends an invitation to the Gonthier Memorial Lecture which will take place at the McGill University Faculty of Law in Montreal on Friday, May 22nd, 2015.

The Gonthier Lecture Series was initiated in light of the significant impact that Supreme Court Justice Charles D. Gonthier had upon several generations of Canadian and international jurists in promoting a responsible, just and equal society. He was also a founding member of the CISDL Board of Governors.

Prominent speakers selected by a committee of experts are invited to speak on a theme related to emerging law, justice and sustainability concerns. This year, we have the pleasure of welcoming HE Judge James Crawford from the International Court of Justice.

Invitation (English)

Invitation (French)

For more information on The Honourable Mr Justice Charles Doherty Gonthier, please follow this link

Publication of a new series of working papers on Public Participation and Climate Governance

Thu, 12 Mar 2015

The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), the Governance, Environment & Markets Initiative at Yale University (GEM), and the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law (NIEM) of the Arctic Centre (University of Lapland) are pleased to announce the publication of a new series of working papers on Public Participation and Climate Governance. 

The principle of public participation has long been recognized as key to effective and equitable climate policy and governance. Article 6 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) thus outlines States’ responsibilities to promote and facilitate, inter alia, education and public awareness, public access to information, public participation, training, and international cooperation with respect to addressing climate change and its effects. 

This series of working papers presents new and rigorous research on public participation and climate governance by scholars, policy-makers and practitioners. Contributions include analyses of the legal developments, practices and discourses associated with public participation in various climate change-related fora; case studies of the development and application of the concept of public ‚Ä®participation and climate governance, including best practices and challenges; and theoretical and critical reflections on the notion of public participation and its relevance to the pursuit of equitable and effective climate governance.

The series is edited by Sébastien Duyck (NIEM), Sébastien Jodoin (McGill University / GEM) and Katherine Lofts (CISDL).

The working papers are available below:

Public Participation and Climate Governance: Opening up or Closing Down Policy Options by Gwendolyn Blue

Picturing Climate Governance: Photovoice and Public Participation by Yanjun Cai

Managing Energy Demand through Local Public Participation: Examples from Japan and France by Magali Dreyfus

The Need for a Rights-Based approach to the Clean Development Mechanism by Eva Filzmoser, Juliane Voigt, Urska Trunk, Karen H. Olsen, and Ademola Oluborode Jegede

When do Stakeholders Share Information ? Insights from Community Forestry in Lamantar, Nepal by Akitaka Wilhelm Fujii and Smriti Bhandari

Public Participation, Deliberative Democracy, and Climate Governance: Learning From the Citizens’ Panel on Edmonton’s energy and Climate Challenges by David Kahane and Mary Pat MacKinnon

Le principe de participation du public à la gestion des forêts dans le Bassin du Congo : forces et faiblesses par Dr. Emmanuel  D. Kam Yogo

Building Climate Governance through the Model Forests Platforms:  Reflections and Challenges by Josique Lorenzo and Roger Villalobos

Experimental Sustainability Governance: Jazzing up Environmental Blues by Joachim Monkelbaan

Youth Participation in Climate Change for Sustainable Development by Joanne Narksompong, and  Sangchan Limjirakan

Forests and Climate Change: Strategies and Challenges for Brazilian Civil Society Organizations between 2005 and 2010 by Ana Leonardo Nassar de Oliveira

“Full and Effective Participation” in the UNFCCC REDD+ Implementation in Cambodia by Pheakkdey Nguon

Local Stakeholder Participation in CDM and New Climate Mitigation Mechanisms – Case Study of a Small Scale Hydropower Project in China by Yan Dong, Karen Holm Olsen, Eva Filzmoser, and Urska Trunk

National Legislative Responses to REDD+ and Community Safeguards, Co--‚ÄźBenefits and Community Participation in Bangladesh by Sharaban Tahura Zaman, and M. Hafijul Islam Khan

Symposium Report: Biodiversity, Sustainable Development and the Law

Tue, 3 Mar 2015

From 21 - 22 February, the CISDL - in conjunction with CIFOR, UNEP-WCMC and the University of Cambridge, convened a high profile symposium in Cambridge, UK on the topic of Biodiversity, Sustainable Development and the Law
Hosted at the beautiful St. John's Divinity School, the symposium brought together academic and practicing lawyers, scientists and policy makers to discuss a broad range of pressing issues concerning biodiversity and international governance. Keynote addresses were given by the Executive Secretaries or Secretaries-General (or high level representatives thereof) of the key international environmental treaties, including CMS, CITES, CBD and the Ramsar Secretariat. Arrayed around these were a series of intensive panels and plenaries addressing such questions as the implementation of international environmental agreements, natural resources governance, sustainable communities, value chains and the science/policy/law interface.
A further highlight of the symposium was a dinner held in the hall of Westminster College, which included a further keynote by Justice Antonio Benjamin of the Supreme Court of Brazil. This also proved a fitting occasion to announce the launch of the Centre for Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources Governance (C-EENRG), a research centre based in the Department of Land Economy at the University of Cambridge, founded on the initiative of Professor Jorge Viñuales.
In all, the symposium was a signal success, demonstrating the vibrancy of thought within the wider biodiversity community and the great future that the field possesses, notwithstanding the practical challenges ahead.
Pictures of the event are available here

Colloquium: Sustainable Law: Changing Contexts and the Law

Tue, 10 Feb 2015

On behalf of the McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy, the CISDL would like to extend to its members and partners a warm invitation to our second annual colloquium, entitled “Sustainable Law: Changing Contexts and the Law”. The colloquium is a bilingual event, which will take place from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm Friday, February 13th at the McGill University Faculty of Law in Montreal.

The purpose of this colloquium is to build a dialogue about the role and adaptability of law to economic and social changes, especially in the context of development. In particular, questions regarding:

(a) law's role protecting human rights in the context of economic development; and
(b) law's role in preventing and correcting social injustices, are of pressing importance.

These two themes represent the topics of discussion of our two panels.

Cognizant of the multidimensional nature of development, the Journal hopes to foster dialogue between various parties, including lawyers, practitioners, academics and students. The keynote lecture will be delivered by Me Philippe Tremblay, Director of Programs and Development
at the International Bureau for Children’s Rights. 

The colloquium has been accredited by the Barreau du Quebec for 4.5 hours of mandatory continuing education. There is no cost associated with the colloquium, and lunch will be provided. The colloquium will be followed by a cocktail hour.

For more information, please see the attached flyer, or visit the Facebook event page. Registration for the colloquium can be done through our online form.



Voices of Future Generations: Children's drawing competition

Fri, 6 Feb 2015

The CISDL is proud to support the Voice of Future Generations - Children’s book series. The series is an exciting and novel approach to hear the perspective of children on topics that matter to them such as education, justice, health, food, water and a clean environment. In this context, children are invited to participate in a creative drawing contest. Grab your pencils, erasers and share with us and other children in the world the power of your imagination by drawing an invention that can help children enjoy their right to education, justice, health, food, water, and a clean environment or simply to play.  

The Voices of Future Generations International Commission shall select Winning Inventions / Drawings. Entries will be published in a new Voices of Future Generations Children’s Poster and on the Children’s Book Series Website in several UN languages, recognizing the winning children’s name, age and town/country, and an Award Certificate shall be sent to the child. 

Call for Drawings



Open invitation to the International Symposium: Biodiversity, Sustainable Development and the Law

Mon, 2 Feb 2015

Open Invitation

… Are you an expert, policy-maker, professional, scholar or student working on law and policy aspects of biodiversity, protected species and sustainable development?
… Would you contribute to a discussion world-class international conference on key challenges and innovative legal solutions for the implementation of international treaties on biodiversity, species at risk, forests and wetlands?
Join the Cutting-Edge Global Conversation on Biodiversity Law + Governance in Cambridge
Calling all interested policy makers, lawyers, academics, scientists and students to register now for the International Symposium:
Biodiversity, Sustainable Development and the Law
20-22 February, 2015
Cambridge, UK
Join Us in Cambridge for Four Feature Events:

* CITES as a Tool for Sustainable Development: Experts Seminar / 9am-6pm Friday 20th Feb 2015
(Hughes Hall, Cambridge, Wollaston Road, Cambridge CB1 2EW)

* Combatting Illegal Wildlife Trade: Public Guest Lecture Event / 7pm Friday 20th Feb 2015
Invited Lecturers: Mr John Scanlon, Secretary-General, CITES & Dr Jon Hutton, Director, UNEP-WCMC
(Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, 10 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DZ)

* Biodiversity, Sustainable Development and the Law: International Symposium / 9am-6pm Saturday 21st - Sunday 22nd Feb 2015
(St John’s Divinity Schools, Cambridge, directly across from St John’s College, Saint Johns Street, Cambridge CB2 1TP)

* Biodiversity Governance: Symposium Dinner & C-EENRG Launch Event / 7:30pm-11pm Saturday 21st Feb 2015
(Westminster College, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0AA)
Biodiversity degradation and loss has reached alarming levels. While international treaties, including the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, can make an important difference, they also face many practical legal and governance challenges. How are biodiversity accords helping the world to advance sustainable development?  What more must be done, and how can better law and governance systems help? In their talks, global environmental leaders and practitioners will share valuable insight on the past successes, current hurdles and potential future solutions regarding these common problems.
Organized by the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) and the University of Cambridge LCIL, C-EENRG and UCCRI, together with the Secretariats of four international treaties on biodiversity, the world-leading UNCGIAR Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), this international symposium will take place over two days in Cambridge from 21 - 22 February 2015, preceded by an Experts Seminar and Guest Lecture at the Faculty of Law on 20 February 2015. The event features world-class speakers from across the field, with highlights such as:
Keynote addresses from the General Secretaries and senior representatives of four international treaties on biodiversity and sustainable development, including Mr John Scanlon (Secretary-General, CITES), Dr Bradnee Chambers (Secretary-General, CMS), Dr Chris Briggs (Secretary-General, Ramsar Convention); and Dr Amy Fraenkel (Representative of Executive Secretary, CBD), also from Dr Jon Hutton (Director, UNDP-WCMC), Dr Andrew Wardell (Director, CIFOR) and Dr Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger (Senior Director, CISDL);
Plenary and senior experts panels on key emerging issues of law and sustainable development, chaired by global leaders in the field, such as Professor Catherine Redgwell (University of Oxford), Dr Kala Mulqueeny (ADB), Dr Valerie Hickey (World Bank), Dr Marcos Silva (CITES Secretariat), Professor Jorge Cabrera (UCR), Dr Alberto Sandoval (CIDEPP), Dr Markus Gehring (University of Cambridge / CISDL), Professor Marcel Szabo (Ombudsman for Future Generations) and others; and
Symposium Dinner Event in the Westminster College Dining Hall, with keynote from the Hon Justice Antonio Benjamin of the Supreme Court of Brazil (tbc), and launch of the new Cambridge C-EENRG with Professor Jorge Vinuales, University of Cambridge.

Registration for both the conference at the conference dinner may be completed via Eventbrite: http://tinyurl.com/kqvk5vy

Places are limited, so please register early to avoid disappointment.

2013-2014 Annual Report

Mon, 26 Jan 2015

The CISDL is proud to release its annual report for the 2013-2014 period. In the report, you will find an overview of the CISDL, its mission and its fellowship as well as the latest contributions of the various CISDL Programmes. Finally, you will also be able to read the report of our international secretariat as well as a summary of our financials

CISDL 2013-2014 Annual Report

Legal Essay Competition 2014 - Winners Announced in Lima, Peru at UNFCCC CoP20

Fri, 16 Jan 2015

International Law for Sustainable Development - Legal Essay Competition 2014 - Winners Announced in Lima, Peru at UNFCCC CoP20
The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) is pleased to announce the winners of the International Law for Sustainable Development Legal Essay Competition 2014.

The Competition was hosted by the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), in cooperation with the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law (LCIL) at the University of Cambridge, the Centre for Research on Climate Resilience (CR2) at the University of Chile, and the Centre for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP) at the University of Nairobi.
Law students at the undergraduate and graduate level from around the world were invited to present submissions under the theme: "Climate Change, Sustainable Development and the Law: Governance Challenges and Innovations."

Our panel of judges considered the entries and announced the winners in December 2014 at a special awards ceremony in the Law, Governance & Climate Change International Law and Policy Workshop, during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (CoP20) in Lima, Peru. The winners and their topics are:

- Guillermo Umana Restrepo, "CDM in the Transport Sector for Sustainable Development – Colombia’s Experience"
- Katherine Lofts, "Legal Innovations for REDD+ Benefits Distribution – Vietnam’s Experience"

- Brenda Ambani, "Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Land Rights – Kenya’s Experience"
- Daniel Schuppert, "Climate Change, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and Multi-Level Governance"

- Carissa Wong, "Director Duty of Care and Liability for Climate Change – US and China’s Experiences"

The winning essays will be published by the CISDL in a special working paper series in 2015. The CISDL would like to thank all the contestants from around the world for participating in the 2014 Legal Essay Competition.

© 2015 Centre for International Sustainable Development Law