What's New

MOU signed between CISDL and the Center for Climate Resilience Research (CR2) at COP20.

Wed, 10 Dec 2014

Official signing of the MOU between CISDL and the Center for Climate Resilience Research (CR2) at COP20

The CISDL is proud to announce the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Center for Climate Resilience Research (CR2). The CR2 is a world-class interdisciplinary research center focusing on Earth System Science that aims to improve our understanding of the Earth System and enhance societal resilience in Chile.

The Memorandum was signed in the context of the UNFCCC COP 20 in Lima, Peru.

CISDL publication ranked in the top 10 by the SSRN

Thu, 4 Dec 2014

CISDL publication ranked in the top 10 International Political Economy: Investment & Finance publications by the Social Science Research network

The SSRN ranked chapter, entitled "Introduction to ‘Sustainable Development in World Investment Law’ ", was written by Prof. Andrew Newcombe, CISDL Lead Counsel Markus Gehring and CISDL Senior Director Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger.

The chapter is an excerpt from Sustainable Development in World Investment Law, a book that reflects the contributions of a variety of world renowned experts each of which is designed to provide the reader with valuable perspective on recent developments in investment law negotiations and jurisprudence from a sustainable development law perspective. It offers answers to pertinent questions concerning advancements in investment law, including the negotiation of numerous regional and bilateral agreements as well as the increasing number of disputes resolved in the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), from different developed and developing country perspectives. It lays out future directions for new treaty negotiations and dispute settlement proceedings, as well as ongoing investment promotion efforts, against a background of rapidly evolving international relationships between economic, environment and development law. It focuses on key issues in investment laws which have emerged as priorities in the negotiation of bilateral and regional investment agreements, and have been clarified through recent decisions of the ICSID and other arbitral panel awards.

The book may be purchased here

The abstract may be accessed here

Side Event at the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Tue, 2 Dec 2014

Innovations for Sustainable Energy: Smart Energy Path Planning, Law and Governance

The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) is pleased to invite you to a side event on Innovations for Sustainable Energy: Smart Energy Path Planning, Law and Governance, in partnership with HELIO International, the Climate Change Center, and the Green Technology Center-Korea.

Side Event at the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Monday, December 8th, 2014 / 11:30 – 13:00 / Room: Caral (130)

Modern energy planning must meet sustainable development objectives. This side event will highlight emerging trends and innovations for sustainable energy, including in the areas of law and governance, smart energy path planning, and technology transfer to developing countries. Law and governance experts will share innovative frameworks for clean energy access, encouraging sustainable energy investments, and speakers will present a tool to develop resilient, low-carbon energy services.

Speakers and Panelists will include:

Opening Remarks: Young Suk Yoo (Climate Change Center)
Professor Markus Gehring (CISDL Lead Counsel; University of Cambridge / University of Ottawa): Legal Innovations on the Sustainable Devleopment of Biofuels
Dr. Sang-Back Chris Kang (Director, Green Technology Center): Promoting Needs-Based Green Technology Transfer to Developing Countries
Ms. Maryse Labriet (HELIO International): Smart Energy Path Planning    
Mr. Kishan Khoday (Regional Practice Leader for Energy & Environment, Arab States, UNDP Regional Center in Cairo): UNDP’s PARE Project – Parliamentary Action for Renewable Energy
Moderators: Suh-Yong Chung, Climate Change Center; Katherine Lofts, CISDL


CISDL and WFC book launch

Mon, 24 Nov 2014

Voices of Future Generations - A New International Children's Book Series

On the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely ratified convention in the world, the United Nations and the World Future Council have partnered to host the launch the first children's book in a new international series, "Voice of Future Generations" together with a consortium of educational charities including the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, the Trust for Sustainable Living, and the Office of the Commissioner for Future Generations of Hungary (#VofG).

Held at the Science Museum in London UK, in honour of HE Judge CG Weeramantry UNESCO Peace Education Prize Laureate and former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice, a special inter-generational learning circle and book launch engaged schoolchildren and international student leaders in earnest discussion with esteemed academics and learned professionals in the children's rights and environmental protection fields. Two intensive roundtable identified emerging global challenges and barriers to children's rights to education and a clean environment, and shared innovative solutions to realize these rights that are being promoted today, all over the world, by world leaders, dedicated international organizations, educational institutions, civil society and children themselves.

Professor Kirsten Sandberg, Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child provided thoughtful and provoking opening remarks, then His Excellency Justice CG Weeramantry led two very lively roundtable discussions. Master Madiwa Adjepong-Boateng (10) of Saint John's College School Cambridge gave an excellent presentation, identifying global environmental problems such as climate change, pollution and desertification, and barriers to education which include war and conflict, diseases like Ebola and corruption. The Series first selected child author, Master Jona David (9) of King's College School Cambridge, highlighted new solutions that are needed, including schools and comunities adopting eco-technologies such as solar and wind power so that children's interest in eco-science would be 'sparked', hybrid buses and bikes for transport, and extreme recycling; world leaders promoting a greener economy with jobs that don't hurt the environment in the future; and children forming eco-clubs, leading global movements to plant trees and prevent climate change, and writing books to speak out. The second selected global child author, Miss Kehkashan Basu (14) provided a motivating online presentation from her home in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and introduced her book, 'The Tree of Hope' about a girl involved in restoring degraded desert ecosystems and realising children's rights to water and the environment.

International expert speakers such as Mr Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the World Future Council; Ms Julia Marton-Lefevre, Director-General of the IUCN; Dr Marcel Szabo, Ombudsman for Future Generations of Hungary; Mr Karl Hansen, Director of the Trust for Sustainable Living; Dr Ashfaq Khalfan, Advisor to Amnesty International and CISDL Chair; Ms Anna R. Oposa, Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum & Founder of Save Philippine Seas; Dr Nick Lush, Vice-Principal of the United World Colleges - Atlantic College; and Dr Simon Stuart, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission; highlighted how progress has been achieved on children's civil and political rights, while recognizing that violations of children's economic, social, cultural and environmental rights are increasing. They shared new forms of education, international initiatives, and local solutions that support future generations who feel themselves to be part of their own countries, but also citizens of one world, with access to good quality education and a healthy and clean environment, facilitated by CISDL Senior Director Dr Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger.

The event closed with a special reception featuring the child author Jona David and the talented illustrator, Dr Carol Adlam, with celebratory toasts to the first book in the new Series, 'The Epic Eco-Inventions' from Baroness Dr Julie Smith of Newnham; Dr Marcel Szabo of the Future Generations Commission, and a leader in children's publishing, Ms Belinda Rasmussen of Macmillan Children's Books.

The United Nations, the World Future Council and the consortium of partners are very grateful for the engagement and partnership of all, for a very splendid commencement to the inspiring 'Voices of Future Generations' children's book series initiative.


Invitation to the Oxford University's Autumn 2014 Climate Forum

Tue, 18 Nov 2014

Oxford University's Autumn 2014 Climate Forum

Individual, Community, World: Action
Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd of November 2014, at the Maths Department in Oxford. 

The conference will bring together politicians, professionals, academics, businesspeople, and students from all fields and from all over the world to discuss the greatest threat of the 21st century: climate change. We hope to both inform attendees and inspire them to take action at all levels, from individual behaviour change to involvement in international initiatives. Climate change is a global threat; widespread, multi-tiered action is necessary to make a difference in our future. The Oxford Climate Forum will feature a variety of formats to inform and engage participants, including keynote lectures, panel discussions, debates, and workshops. The last Climate Forum was a motivating and engaging experience, and we hope to build upon that success in November to further inspire understanding, commitment, and action.


Call for Conference Papers on Biodiversity, Sustainable Development & The Law

Tue, 18 Nov 2014

Call for Conference Papers: Biodiversity, Sustainable Development & the Law

St. John’s College Divinity School, Cambridge, UK
20-22 February, 2015

Are you an expert, policy-maker, professional or scholar working on law and policy aspects of biodiversity, protected species and sustainable development?

Would you contribute a paper to a 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?

The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), in a cooperative partnership with the University of Cambridge Centre for Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Governance (C-EENRG) and Lauterpacht Centre for International Law (LCIL), the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), among other partners, is delighted to announce this Call for Papers for the international conference Biodiversity, Sustainable Development and the Law, to be held at the University of Cambridge, UK, on 20-22 February 2015. Legal experts and researchers from law and biodiversity-related fields are invited to submit abstracts with their ideas for a paper by 20 December 2014.

In the 21st century, the scope of biodiversity degradation and loss has reached alarming levels, and the possibilities to achieve sustainable development goals appear terribly remote. Consistent with the growing complexity of international law as a whole, many international treaties and organizations are struggling valiantly to reverse current trends. International treaties on the environment and sustainable development, including the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), CITES, the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and others, can make an important difference.  In pursuing this mission, however, international law and governance face many practical challenges, with space for increased support and engagement from the international research and academic community, leading countries and firms, and civil society on many levels. This international conference gathers leaders working to secure biodiversity, sustainable development and the law, to share knowledge, discuss challenges, and develop diverse solutions to common problems.

The Conference Committee invites abstracts for papers on the following topics:

• Governing the interface of science, policy and the law

• Managing protected areas, sustainable landscapes and community livelihoods

• Promoting trade, investments and financial incentives

• Regulating biodiversity products along complex value chains

• New trends in transparency, rules of procedure and dispute settlement

• Innovative implementation and compliance on regional, national and local levels

• Law of international organizations and biodiversity treaties

The conference will be also include an Experts Seminar on CITES as a Tool for Sustainable Development, Keynote Lectures, and an International Dinner Event in a historic college of Cambridge, with before-dinner drinks. A registration fee of £20 (exclusive of the conference dinner) will be payable for the weekend of the conference to cover lunches, hospitality and materials, with waivers for student volunteers.

Interested presenters should email Conference Coordinators at conference@cisdl.org, with a short (e.g. 200-word) abstract of their paper explaining how it relates to one of the listed topics, and a 100-word biography, by 20 December 2014.

Those interested in advance registration for the conference, or in assisting in conference outreach, should email the Conference Coordinators at conference@cisdl.org by 10 January 2015. Numbers are limited, so early registration is preferable to avoid disappointment.

Please find the supporting documentation here

Invitation to Law, Governance & Climate Change workshop at UNFCCC COP20

Sun, 9 Nov 2014

Invitation to Law, Governance & Climate Change workshop at UNFCCC COP20

An International Law and Policy Workshop in the context of the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Saturday December 6th, 2014

Centro Cultural de la PUCP (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú)
Av. Camino Real # 1075, San Isidro 
Lima. Peru
T. (511) 616-1616   


How can international law and governance better respond to climate change?

What can universal human rights contribute to legal responses to climate change, and how could climate laws promote respect for human rights?

How can innovative legal instruments deliver more sustainable landscapes and energy, harnessing trade, investment and technology for the global green economy?

Scholars, policy-makers, experts, practitioners and stakeholders from all fields and disciplines are invited to participate in this international law and policy workshop on emerging law and governance issues in research, policy and practices related to climate change and sustainable development.

This Law, Governance & Climate Change Workshop during the 2014 UNFCCC CoP20 will feature:

• Substantive sessions on key international human rights, economic and environmental law and policy trends and practices on climate change for sustainable development;

• International exchange on the contributions of law and governance to the proposed sustainable development goal on climate change;

• Design of new collaborative research agendas on law, governance, and climate change;

• Briefings on the diverse contributions and plans of key law and governance organizations and actors in preparations for the post-2015 climate change regime;

• The launch of a new legal working papers series on public participation and climate change, and a series of legal briefs on sustainable development of biofuels and renewable energy;

• The awards ceremony for the winners of the CISDL Legal Essay Competition on Climate Change, Sustainable Development and the Law: Governance Challenges and Innovations.

Conveners: 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 Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP) of the University of Nairobi; the Centre for Climate Resilience Research (CR2) of the University of Chile; the Centre for Climate Justice and Chittagong University of Bangladesh; the Fundacion Ecos and St Clare’s College of Uruguay; the Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental of Peru (SPDA) and the Universidad Catolica of Peru and other partners.

Collaborating Partners: The Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), the Climate Change and the Law Community of Practice of the World Bank’s Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development, and others.


43rd Annual Conference of the Canadian Council on International Law

Fri, 7 Nov 2014

The CISDL is proud to sponsor the 43rd Annual Conference of the Canadian Council on International Law: Energy, Resources, and Environmental Issues: igniting International Law.  The CISDL sponsored panel is:

Panel 5 A: The Interrelationship between Investment Arbitration, Indigenous Rights and Environmental Law will feature CISDL Lead Counsels Konstantia Koutouki and Markus Gehring

It will be chaired by Martin Valasek from Norton Rose Fulbright. Panelists also include Andrea Bjorklund for the McGill University Faculty of Law and Annie Lespérance for Cabinet Yves Fortier.

The Preliminary Program is available here


Report on the event:

The Canadian Council on International Law held its annual conference in mid-November in Ottawa. CISDL was proud to sponsor a panel entitled Investment Arbitration, Indigenous Rights and the Environment. The panel consisted of Martin Valasek, partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, who shared his practical experience as a world renowned investment and commercial arbitration lawyer; Annie Lesperance who practices in international arbitration at Cabinet Yves Fortier spoke on the role of the arbitrator in striking a balance between the protection of investments and the protection of the environment in investment arbitration; Miguel Eduardo Vargas Monroy, a Columbian lawyer in the energy sector presented the Agrio Largo case between Ecuador and Chevron; and Dr Konstantia Koutouki, professor of law at Université de Montréal and Lead Counsel (Natural Resources) at CISDL, spoke on the relationship between sustainable development in indigenous communities and international investment arbitration.

The event was very well attended (60-70 participants) and very much appreciated by the audience.  Unfortunately we only had time for about a dozen questions as a panel but continued the conversation informally after the conference.

CISDL in partnership with ILA-Canada will he hosting a daylong event on this topic at McGill in late March 2015.



Tue, 4 Nov 2014

This past September 18th 2014, members of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) had the opportunity to meet with the new United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) director and regional representative for North America, Patricia Beneke. This meeting took place at the Faculty Club on the McGill campus. Those in attendance (For the CISDL: Lead Counsel Konstantia Koutouki,Program Coordinators Frederic Perron Welch, Associate Fellows Hoi Kong and Freedom Kai-Phillips, Assistant Manager Conner Tidd and Senior Director Marie Claire Cordonier Segger) were given the opportunity to show UNEP what exactly the role of the CISDL is within the sustainable development law sphere as well as to bring Ms. Beneke up to speed with where we currently stand in regards to several of our ongoing projects. Ms. Beneke also explained where UNEP is planning on moving in the coming years in terms of new and existing initiatives.

Members of the CISDL specifically focused on where possible future partnerships with UNEP could be explored. We are looking forward to the possibility of working together with Ms. Beneke and UNEP in the future.

Invitation: CISDL Legal Essay Competition 2014

Fri, 24 Oct 2014

Invitation: CISDL Legal Essay Competition 2014

Climate Change, Sustainable Development and the Law: Governance Challenges and Innovations

What are the most pressing governance challenges for the world in responding to the threats and opportunities of climate change in 2015 and beyond? Which innovative legal instruments and practices hold potential to help address them? How can they be implemented across diverse sectors? 

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) of the University of Nairobi, is pleased to announce a legal essay competition on "Climate Change, Sustainable Development and the Law: Governance Challenges and Innovations." 

The competition is open to law students at the undergraduate and graduate level, from all regions of the world. Students from least developed countries are especially encouraged to apply. Papers should be 10 pages in length single-spaced, and address a current pressing international, regional or local legal research or governance challenge relating to climate change and sustainable development, identifying or proposing innovative legal instruments which might provide solutions to the challenge.

The international gold, two silver and three bronze award winning entries will be announced in a special legal awards ceremony at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (CoP20) in Lima, Peru, and will be published internationally by the CISDL.   

Please send entries, along with a 300 word bio, to 'Climate Essay International Jury' at <climate-essay@cisdl.org> by 5pm EST, November 22, 2014.

Launch of the Voices of Future Generations series

Fri, 3 Oct 2014

The CISDL and its partner, the World Future Council, are proud to launch the Voices of Future Generations series in a special event that is being held to commemorate the UN's Universal Children's Day and the 25th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, on November 22nd 2014 in London, United Kingdom, from 2 pm until 5pm in the Directors Library of the London Museum of Science.

The Inter-Generational Learning Circle will be chaired by His Excellency Justice CG Weeramantry, CISDL Patron, former vice-president of the International Court of Justice, and laureate of the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education Research. The Learning Circle will take the form of a participatory dialogue with leaders from selected human rights, education, justice and environment organizations, and invited participation of the senior officials from various embassies, also UN DESA, UNEP, UNESCO, UNICEF and the UN Commission that leads the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Future Generations Commissioners of several countries. 

The Voices of Future Generations International Children’s Book Series Launching Reception will take place just after the Learning Circle, with toasts from Professor Marcel Szabo, the Future Generations Ombudsman of Hungary, a partner and sponsor of the Series, and several other international leaders working on the environment, science, education, sustainability, inter-generational equity and children’s rights. Light refreshments will be served, with champagne (for the adults).

Due to space constraints, this special event is invitation-only.

For further information, please contact Ms Carissa Wong, Project Coordinator, on cwong (at) cisdl.org


Report on CBD Decisions and the business sector

Tue, 23 Sep 2014

This report attempts to synthesize the COP-related Business Decisions of the CBD, the agreements of its member countries, and the projected path of global changes related to business and biodiversity. With a clearer understanding of what actions most countries have agreed to undertake, it is easier to predict market trends, emerging niches, and ever-evolving legislative changes as they affect businesses and their profitability. This, in-turn, allows for the development of products, services, and/or strategies that will be properly positioned to optimally benefit from resulting shifts in supply and demand. This should lead to increased profitability, as well as a host of other positive internal and brand-related outcomes usually enjoyed by organizations that proactively address sustainability.  The report can be found at http://www.teebweb.org/areas-of-work/teeb-for-business/ or : https://www.cbd.int/business/resources/other-materials.shtml .

Call for abstracts: Chapters for a New Volume on CITES as a Tool for Sustainable Development

Tue, 24 Jun 2014


Chapters for a New Volume on CITES as a Tool for Sustainable Development

Are you an expert or scholar working on legal aspects of biodiversity, protected species and/or sustainable development? Would you like to contribute a chapter for a new volume on implementing CITES for sustainable development, with Cambridge University Press?

The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), in a cooperative partnership with the University of Cambridge, the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), is delighted to announce this Call for Submissions for the volume “CITES as a Tool for Sustainable Development”. Legal experts and researchers from law and biodiversity-related fields are invited to submit abstracts with their ideas for a chapter by 30 July 2014.

We would welcome chapters analysing the existing frameworks, practices, outcomes and challenges of sustainable development law and policy on international trade in CITES-listed species under the themes of: Frameworks for Sustainable Livelihoods, Land Tenure Reform and Indigenous and Local Communities Engagement, Economic Incentives for Sustainable Use of Protected  Species, Trade Measures and Sustainable Development, Demand Reduction and Management Policies, and Criminal Prosecution and Enforcement Challenges, among others.

In addition, chapters focused on how specific drivers and commodities are creating demand for CITES-listed species, and how global trade in these species is regulated along these chains are particularly welcome under the themes: Exotic Pets and Entertainment, Medicines and Cosmetics, Clothing and Fashion, Construction and Furnishings, and Food and Gardens. We also invite chapters detailing case studies of successful implementation of CITES at the regional and country-specific level in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and North America. Finally, chapters that explore cross-cutting issues and how the Convention interacts with and relates to other international instruments and sustainable development goals are invited. Specifically, we encourage analysis of: synergies among international treaties and instruments in relation to the sustainable use of biodiversity, synergies and relationships with trade and economic agreements, and CITES in the context of global sustainable development goals. Draft papers will be presented in a special seminar on CITES as a Tool for Sustainable Development, and an international conference on Biodiversity, Sustainable Development and the Law at the University of Cambridge in the fall of 2014, to which all selected chapter authors will be invited.

Experts and potential authors are invited to send abstracts of approximately 200 words, along with a brief 3-line biography to Ms Elina Väänänen at evaananen@cisdl.org and Ms Stephanie Forte at sforte@cisdl.org. Submissions will be considered on a rolling basis until 30 July 2014.

The editorial team includes Dr Marie-Claire Cordonier-Segger, Senior Director of CISDL; Dr Jon Hutton, Executive Director of UNEP-WCMC; Mr John Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES; Dr Markus Gehring and Prof Jorge Viñuales, University of Cambridge; Prof Jorge Cabrera, University of Costa Rica; and Dr Kala Mulqueeny, Principal Counsel, Asian Development Bank. The volume will be published in 2016.


2014 CISDL Annual Research Meeting

Thu, 12 Jun 2014

The CISDL extends a very warm invitation to all CISDL members, including legal researchers, fellowship, lead counsel and programme coordinators, advisors, board of governors, also friends and interested partners, to the CISDL Annual Research Meeting in Montreal on the 21-22 of June 2014.


The agenda is as follows:

Saturday June 21, 2014


CISDL Annual Research Meeting – Day 1

Location: Room 160, Arts Building, McGill University | 853 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal

12:30 - 13:00 Welcome | Introductions Round

13:00 - 13:30 Opening | Chair’s Welcome & Senior Directors’ Report to CISDL

- Mr Ashfaq Khalfan, Chair, CISDL Board of Governors

- Mr Pierre Gonthier, Treasurer, CISDL Board of Governors

- Dr Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Senior Director, CISDL

13:30 - 14:00 Presentation | Narrative & Financial Report from International Secretariat

- Mr Patrick Reynaud, Senior Manager, CISDL

- Mr Jameson Jones-Doyle, Chief Financial Officer, CISDL

- Mr Chris Hooton, Manager, International Secretariat

- Stephanie Forte, Ayman Cherkaoui & Research Officers, CISDL

14:00 - 15:45 Roundtable | Progress & Prospects of 2013-2017 Strategy for CISDL Programmes

- Trade & Investment (Prof Markus Gehring, Dr. Avidan Kent*)

- Climate Change (Dr. Robert Kibugi, Ms Katherine Lofts)

- Biodiversity (Prof Jorge Cabrera, Mr Frederic Perron-Welch)

- Human Rights & Poverty Eradication (Prof Sumudu Atapattu, Ms Yolanda Saito)

- Health (Dr Maya Prabhu, Ms Tina Hlimi)

- Natural Resources (Prof Konstantia Koutouki, Mr Georgios Andriotis)

- Cross-Cutting: Governance (Professor Valentina Duran*, Mr Sebastien Jodoin)

15:45 - 16:00 Coffee Break (and parallel project meetings)

16:00 - 18:00 Plenary CISDL Policy Decisions (with Board of Governors / LCIP):

- Review and evaluation of CISDL 2013 - 2017 Mission, Goal & Objectives.

- Approval of CISDL 2013-2017 Research Strategy and Publications Strategy

- Update on CISDL Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act Compliance

- Recognition of CISDL Charity Status and Brainstorm on Charitable Fundraising

- Introduction to CISDL International Secretariat, update on Cambridge, Nairobi, Santiago offices

- Strategy for CISDL UN ECOSOC and Post-2015 SD Goals Participation

- Discussion of CISDL contribution to Gonthier Lectures & Legacy

- Any Other Business

18:00 - 18:30 Discussion | 2014-2015 Draft Calendar of Activities

- Calendar of CISDL Activities for 2014-2015 and beyond

19:00 – 21:00 CISDL Annual Dinner Event (with Board of Governors, McGill-based Fellowship and Gonthier Legacy Committee colleagues)



Sunday June 22, 2014

Annual Research Meeting – Day 2

Location: Purvis Hall, 1020 avenue des Pins Ouest, H3A 1A2

10:00 – 11:00 Discussion | 2013-2017 Research Strategy Plans & Funding

- Annual Research Strategy Plans (activities, researchers & deliverables)

- Annual Research Strategy Funding (funders, amounts & timing)

11:00 - 11:30 Presentation | McGill International Journal of SD Law & Policy

- Engagements and Commitments of CISDL Fellowship for McGill IJSDLP

- Overview of CISDL Plans for Books and Other Publications (deliverables, publishers & timing)

Coffee / Tea break

11:30 – 13:00 Brainstorm Workshop | CISDL Charitable Fundraising Plans

13:00 - 14:00 Buffet Lunch

14:00 - 17:00 Coordination Workshop | CISDL International Secretariat and Establishment of Cambridge, Nairobi and Santiago Offices


Invitation to CISDL Seminar

Wed, 11 Jun 2014

Sustainable Development at the intersections of International Law

The CISDL extends a very warm invitation to substantive discussions in an international law seminar on Friday June 20 at the McGill University Faculty of the Arts Boardroom (room 160 Arts, 853 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal) at 13:30 running until 18:30.


13:30 Registration

14:00 – 14:15 Opening and Welcome

Chairs: Dr Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Senior Director & Mr Ashfaq Khalfan, Chair of Board of Governors

14:15 - 15:45 Legal Experts Panel 1 | Human Rights, Climate Change and International Law

How can international climate regimes contribute to the realisation of social, economic and cultural rights? And how can rights-based approaches deliver more robust international climate law and policy? Which international legal instruments intersect to deliver on sustainable development goals related to equity, to human rights and to climate justice?  

Chair: Dr Kishan Khoday, UNDP / CISDL Legal Research Fellow


- Mr Sebastien Jodoin, Yale University / CISDL Lead Counsel, Cross-Cutting Issues

- Prof Robert Kibugi, University of Nairobi / CISDL Lead Counsel, Climate Change (online)

- Prof Sumudu Atapattu, Wisconsin University / CISDL Lead Counsel, Human Rights

- Ms Katherine Lofts, McGill University / CISDL Programme Coordinator, Climate Change

Questions and Discussion

15:45 – 16:00 Coffee / Tea Break

16:00 – 17:30 Legal Experts Panel | Biodiversity, Natural Resources, Poverty and the Law

How can international biodiversity and natural resources regimes contribute to the eradication of poverty, especially for the most marginalized communities, including indigenous peoples? And how can legal empowerment of the poor deliver more robust international biodiversity law and policy, and more sustainable natural resources governance? Which international legal instruments intersect to deliver on sustainable development goals related to poverty, to biodiversity, and to natural resources such as water, land, and energy?  

Chair: Prof Jorge Cabrera, University of Costa Rica / CISDL Lead Counsel, Biodiversity


- Prof Konstantia Koutouki, University of Montreal / CISDL Lead Counsel, Natural Resources

- Mr Frederic Perron-Welch, Bionomos / CISDL Programme Coordinator, Biodiversity

- Ms Yolanda Saito, International Development Law Organization / CISDL Programme Coordinator, Human Rights

- Ms Katharina Rogalla von Bieberstein, UNEP-WCMC / CISDL Research Fellow, Biodiversity

Questions and Discussion

17:30 – 18:30 Roundtable | International Law and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

As the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations expire, countries are negotiating new Sustainable Development Goals to guide national and international development efforts in the coming decades. What can international law contribute to the negotiation and delivery of a post-2015 development agenda? If SDGs and time-bound targets are agreed, how best can customary legal principles, diverse treaty regimes and related inter-governmental institutions, and international dispute settlement contribute as means of implementation?    

Chairs: Dr Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, CISDL Senior Director

- Mr Ashfaq Khalfan, Chair CISDL Board of Governors

- Prof Markus Gehring, University of Cambridge / CISDL Lead Counsel, Trade, Investment and Finance

- Dr Maya Prabhu, Yale University / CISDL Lead Counsel, Health

- Dr Alexandra Harrington, CISDL Legal Research Fellow, SD Governance

Roundtable Discussion


Release of the Biodiversity Legislation Study

Sun, 8 Jun 2014

The CISDL, GLOBE and the WFC are proud to release at the GLOBE World Summit of Legislators their biodiersity legislation study of 8 countries. This study presents and compares comprehensive biodiversity laws from eight countries. It aims to serve as inspiration and guidance for legislators around the globe to advance biodiversity legislation within their own political processes.


Engaging Stakeholders on Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol

Sun, 25 May 2014

The International Workshop "Business and Natural Capital: Dialogues for a sustainable partnership" aimed to strengthen the cooperation between business, government, academia and civil society to achieve the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) of the United Nations (UN). Expert presentations and the exchange of experiences between practitioners contributed to the identification of challenges and opportunities of enhanced collaboration to attain the goals of the Convention and thus contribute to a sustainable development.

CISDL Presentation by Freedom-Kai Phillips, Legal Research Fellow and Jorge Cabrera, Lead Counsel, Biodiversity



The Interrelationship between Investment Arbitration, Indigenous Rights, and Environmental Law

Sun, 30 Mar 2014

The Natural Resources program of CISDL supported by Université de Montréal, Université d’Ottawa and SSHRC, hosted a workshop at the McGill Faculty Club on Tuesday evening. The general theme of the workshop was: The Interrelationship between Investment Arbitration, Indigenous Rights, and Environmental Law. The event was a great success and we thank all those who attended, and especially our distinguished panel of speakers. We are particularly grateful to the presence of world renowned experts on arbitration, Me L. Yves Fortier and Prof Armand de Mestral.

Brought together by Natural Resources coordinator Georgios Andriotis, our panel consisted of:

Martin Valasek (Chair) – A leading practitioner in the area of international arbitration, with extensive experience in both investor-State and commercial contract disputes. He has acted as arbitrator, and as tribunal secretary, in several important arbitrations, including the multibillion dollar Yukos Energy Charter Treaty arbitration. Before attending the Faculty of Law at McGill, he studied environmental science at Harvard and then worked for three years as a Policy Advisor in the Corporate Policy Group of Environment Canada. Me Valasek clerked at Supreme Court of Canada, for Justice Charles Gonthier, a founding member of the CISDL.

Andrea Bjorklund A professor at McGill University faculty of law and holds the L. Yves Fortier Chair in International Arbitration and International Commercial Law. A renowned expert in international arbitration and litigation, international trade and international investment, she was previously a professor at the University of California (Davis) School of Law and a Bigelow Fellow at the Chicago Law School. Professor Bjorklund has worked on the NAFTA arbitration team in the U.S. Department of State's Office of the Legal Adviser and worked for Commissioner Thelma J. Askey on the U.S. International Trade Commission. Prof. Bjorklund spoke on:

The Implications of the Lago Agrio Cases for Indigenous Rights, Environmental Protection and International Investment Law

Annie Lespérance Practices in international arbitration at Cabinet Yves Fortier in Montreal. She is acting as Secretary to Tribunals before the LCIA, the ICC, the ICSID and the CAS. Prior to joining Cabinet Yves Fortier, Annie was Assistant Legal Counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague where she provided legal and administrative support to arbitral tribunals and parties in proceedings administered by the PCA concerning State-to-State, investor-State and international commercial disputes. She is a graduate of University of Montreal and holds an LLM cum laude in international law from Leiden University. She sits on the board of directors of the Canadian Council of International Law and the United Nations Association Canada (Montreal Branch). She is a member of the Quebec and Paris bars. Me Lespérance spoke on:

Striking a Balance between the Protection of Foreign Investments and the Environment: A Necessity for the Legitimacy of the Investment Arbitration System

Konstantia Koutouki A professor of law at Université de Montréal. She examines the links between international trade, intellectual property, and environmental protection. She has extensive experience working on issues concerning international sustainable development law especially as it relates to the social, economic and cultural development of Indigenous and local communities, as well as the preservation of natural spaces. She has first-hand experience with Indigenous and local communities around the world, where she has spent much time as a guest and researcher. She is Lead Counsel for Natural Resources with the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law at McGill University and on the executive of the Canadian branch of the International Law Association and the Canadian Association of Law Teachers. Prof Koutouki spoke on:

Dispute Settlement and Access Benefit Sharing: Arbitration under the Nagoya Protocol

From left to right: Prof Bjorklund, Me Valasek, Me Lespérance

CISDL and The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

Sat, 22 Mar 2014

The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law is working to develop a cooperative partnership with the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at Cambridge University (LCIL), the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Secretariat on the academic research project “CITES as a Tool for Sustainable Development”.

The aim of the project is to:

  • Build legal knowledge and understanding of challenges and innovations in securing CITES implementation related to sustainable development;
  • Support thought leadership and improved capacity for technical assistance in implementing sustainable development aspects of CITES;
  • Profile and celebrate forty years of CITES implementation across diverse regions and expert constituencies, including academia, governments, inter-governmental agencies, civil society, the private sector and others active in the field.

This academic study is being developed in consultation with Dr Jon Hutton (Director of UNEP-WCMC) and Mr John Scanlon (Secretary-General, CITES Secretariat), directed by Lead Counsels Professor Jorge Cabrera (Lead Counsel on Biodiversity and Biosafety), and Professor Markus Gehring (Lead Counsel on Trade, Investment and Finance). The Legal Working Group for the project engages: Clarissa Castillo Cubillo (Costa Rica), María Laura Elizondo García (Costa Rica), Stephanie Forte (Jamaica), John Holden (UK), Chris Hooton (USA), Therese Holmgren (Sweden), Oliver McPherson-Smith (UK), Irene Mwaura (Kenya), Katharina Rogalla von Bieberstein (Germany), and Elina Väänänen (Finland), with three further researchers to be appointed soon.

The CITES as a Tool for Sustainable Development project involves three key activities that are intended to foster additional cooperative research partnerships and projects on CITES-related sustainable development topics:

  1. An International Experts Seminar and Keynote Lecture to be held at the University of Cambridge in December 2014. The Experts Seminar will invite 40-50 legal experts and practitioners to focus on how sustainable development is addressed by CITES, including the Resolutions and Decisions of its Conference of the Parties and national implementation, and how synergies between CITES and other conventions and biodiversity related agreements can be enhanced and mobilised to strengthen the effectiveness of CITES implementation, and help a country in its effort to achieve sustainable development. The Keynote Lecture is aimed at a wider audience from the academic, government, and inter-governmental communities, and will profile and celebrate forty years of CITES implementation in the presence of leading international experts.
  2. An International Symposium on Biodiversity, Sustainable Development and the Law to be held at the University of Cambridge in December 2014.
  3. The compilation of a new publication, CITES as a Tool for Sustainable Development, which will be submitted to the Cambridge University Press series on Implementing International Treaties on Sustainable Development. World-class experts and young researchers will be invited to prepare chapters on key issues relating to sustainable development law and policy on endangered species, global implementation of CITES by key species and commodities, regional and national regulatory implementation of CITES, and synergies among international instruments.

A call for proposals and papers related to the CITES as a Tool for Sustainable Development will be issued soon, and those interested in collaborating in this exciting new academic research are encouraged to contact CISDL for details, at chooton[at]cisdl.org and sforte[at]cisdl.org.

Call for papers: Working Paper Series on “Public Participation and Climate Governance”

Thu, 20 Mar 2014

The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) and the Governance, Environment & Markets Initiative at Yale University (GEM) are calling for papers for their new Working Paper Series on “Public Participation and Climate Governance.” The series will be edited by Sébastien Jodoin (GEM / CISDL); Sébastien Duyck (University of Lapland), and Katherine Lofts (CISDL).

Contributions are most notably sought on the following themes and topics:

• Analysis of the legal developments, practices and discourses associated with public participation within the UNFCCC and other multilateral fora focusing on climate change;

• Case studies of the development and application of the concept of public participation with respect to particular sectors and mechanisms of climate governance (mitigation, adaptation, carbon trading, CDM, REDD+, etc.);

• Case studies highlighting best practices and challenges in the operationalization of the concept of public participation in the policy-making processes and governance mechanisms addressing climate change in particular countries or regions around the world;

• Analysis of experiences with public participation in other fields of environmental governance and how lessons learned might apply to climate governance;

 • Theoretical and critical reflections on the notion of public participation and the opportunities and challenges it presents for equitable and effective climate governance.

Submissions of abstracts (of approximately 500 words) will be accepted on a rolling basis until 15 May 2014. Authors are encouraged to submit abstracts as soon as possible to ensure paper eligibility and avoid overlap between different papers in the series. While papers should not have been published elsewhere before being submitted to the series, inclusion in the series does not preclude future publication elsewhere.

Full papers (ranging between 6,000 and 8,000 words) should be submitted by 15 August 2014. The drafts of the working papers may also be discussed during a session of the 3rd Yale/UNITAR Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy, “Human Rights, Environmental Sustainability, Post-2015 Development, and the Future Climate Regime,” which will be held in New Haven, Ct., 5-7 September 2014. Prospective authors interested in participating in this conference are encouraged to submit an abstract through the following call for papers: https://www.unitar.org/sites/default/files/2014_unitar-yale_conference_information_note_long_18_final.pdf

For more information, please refer to this document






Call for Applications - CISDL Legal Research Group

Wed, 12 Mar 2014


DEADLINE: 30 March 2014

International Legal Research Group

Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL)

Integrating environment, human rights and economy through legal scholarship and empowerment

24 February 2014

Are you interested in how economic, human rights and environmental law come together for just and sustainable development?

Would you like to learn more about cutting-edge international research and educational initiatives?

Would your studies or practice benefit from new legal analysis, experiences, and networks?

Apply now for a pro bono legal research position in the international Legal Research Group of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), an independent international legal research centre. Join law and graduate students from the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, McGill, Stanford, Montreal, Costa Rica, Nairobi, Hanoi, Manila, Chile and other institutions to gain access to new experiences, opportunities and professional development, and to build excellent new research and practice networks in the fields of environment, development, economics and law.

For more details on this position, see http://www.cisdl.org/about-the-cisdl.html or email chooton@cisdl.org.

Successful candidates will join an international network with the opportunity to engage in cutting-edge legal research projects on law and policy related to: climate change; biodiversity & biosafety; natural resources governance; trade & investment; human rights & poverty eradication; health & hazards; and governance, institutions & accountability.

Upcoming projects and publications include:

  • Editing a new book on sustainable development in international courts & tribunals (with Routledge)
  • Editing a volume on sustainable development in world finance law (with Wolters Kluwer)
  • Editing a new book on sustainable development in the Chicago Convention on aviation (with CUP)
  • Drafting the authoritative legal Commentary on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • Compiling a Sustainable Development Law on Climate Change Paper Series, backed by an international lecture series on legal issues related to climate change and official side-event at COP20 to the UNFCCC in Peru
  • Assisting an international legal research and training project on the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), including an official side-event at COP12 to the UNCBD in Korea
  • Supporting a new international legal research project on innovative laws to implement the UN Biodiversity Convention, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Convention on Migratory Species, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
  • Joining a legal research project on the sustainable use of biofuels across the Americas
  • Leading an international legal research project on assessing and implementing sustainable development obligations in new regional trade agreements (with CUP)
  • Editing a new textbook on human rights and climate change
  • Editing a Legal Working Paper and Workshops Series on legal aspects of indigenous sustainable management of natural resources, leading to a new book on the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (with CUP)
  • Leading a research project on the involuntary hospitalization of the mentally ill
  • Creating new online sustainable development law courses and developing sustainable development law course materials
  • And much more…

The Legal Research Group is global, and research group members are based everywhere in the world, including in the developing and developed countries of Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East.

If you are interested, please submit a CV along with a 1 page statement of interest, to chooton@cisdl.org, with copies to mccordonier@cisdl.org, rmella@cisdl.org and preynaud@cisdl.org by March 30th 2014. The CV and statement of interest should include details on any relevant publications, academic & professional experience, research interests, language proficiency, and country of residence. Brief writing samples are accepted but not required.

Final selection will take place by 15 April 2014 with the 2-year appointment starting on that date.

Thank you for your interest in the CISDL.

Final report from the workshop "Rights, Governance and Climate Change"

Fri, 24 Jan 2014

An international workshop on ‘Rights, Governance & Climate Change’ was held in Warsaw, Poland on Saturday, November 16th, 2013 as a parallel event during the 19th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The workshop was jointly organized by the Governance, Environment & Markets Initiative at Yale University (GEM) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), in collaboration with the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw and the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL).

The workshop convened over 50 scholars, policy-makers, practitioners, and stakeholders from a variety of fields and disciplines to examine how substantive and procedural rights can be used to support, design, and implement effective and equitable solutions to address climate change and related challenges at multiple levels of governance. This report provides a brief overview of the discussions held during the workshop and outlines related outcomes and initiatives.

The report can be downloaded here.

© 2014 Centre for International Sustainable Development Law