What's New

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