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Press Release CISDL-UNFCCC sign Memorandum of Understanding

Tue, 21 Nov 2017

Press Release 

The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) and the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change Secretariat have come together in a new Climate Law and Governance
partnership to further the development and support of climate change action.
For more information on this initiative or to explore further partnerships please contact secretariat@cisdl.org / climatelawgovernance@cisdl.org 


Assessment of Key Policy, Legal and Institutional Mechanisms Required for the Development and Implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): Selected SEMED Countries

Thu, 16 Nov 2017

Assessment of Key Policy, Legal and Institutional Mechanisms Required for the Development and Implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): Selected SEMED Countries


The Paris Agreement, a groundbreaking climate initiative aimed at holding global temperature rise “well below 2°C”, has called on the world for action. Not only do international organisations play a role in this new era, but the Agreement has ushered in a new era of participation by individual countries through their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

In light of these crucial elements of climate action, the EBRD Legal Transition Team has launched a legal study to assess progress, potential, and obstacles in realizing NDC success in selected countries. As this report illustrates, responsibility to work towards NDCs implementation extends beyond the public sector, and requires the full participation of the private sector as well. Recognition of the need for cooperation between these sectors in achieving climate adaptation and mitigation goals is not only a refreshing development, it is also essential for the success of international climate initiatives and building up the new international climate regime.

This report highlights the efforts made in Tunisia, Jordan, and Morocco to move forward the climate agenda, draws out challenges and barriers, and identifies legal measures which support climate change adaption and mitigation. Lessons can undoubtedly be taken from this analysis to inform the work happening globally in this area.


Report Available Here  - Download 


CCIL Panel - “Finally, Indigenous Rights? Advancing UNDRIP Globally and Locally”

Wed, 1 Nov 2017

Finally, Indigenous Rights? Advancing UNDRIP Globally and Locally”

A discussion on the history and progression of indigenous rights both in Canada and globally. 

2017 CCIL Conference - November 3rd 2017

Ottawa, Canada

The panel discussed the challenges for full UNDRIP implementation in the Canadian context and the potential for developments in the future. As international law remains focused on States, rather than finding ways to engage and celebrate cooperation among nations, the search for solutions continues. Creativity and incremental changes can enable concrete, longer lasting progress. Historical and modern treaties offer starting points for reconciliation, reinterpretation, and advancement of indigenous perspectives, and the principles in UNDRIP. This experts panel offered a forum for exchange and reflection on the linkages between Canadian law, international law and indigenous legal perspectives.

Chair:  Prof Sébastien Grammond has been a professor at the Civil Law Section of the University of Ottawa since 2004, and served as Dean from 2009-2014. His main research interests pertain to indigenous peoples and the law and, more generally, to the legal treatment of minority issues. He authored three books and several published papers on those subjects. His many achievements have been recognized by several prizes and distinctions.

Dr William David has been working on indigenous environmental and indigenous human rights issues at the international level, the national level and the community level for some amount of time. He is a legal advisor at Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and worked at the Assembly of First Nations as senior advisor.

Ms. Sara Mainville is a senior associate at OKT and she work with First Nations as legal counsel, advisor, and negotiator. Sara’s strength is engaging provincial and Federal governments in bilateral/trilateral negotiations around difficult issues. She is a member of Couchiching First Nation and held the honour of being elected Chief of the community in 2014-2016.

Prof Dr Marie-Claire Cordonnier-Segger is a distinguished professor, scholar and expert jurist in law and governance on sustainable development. She holds 20 years of international treaty negotiations, research and capacity-building experience that spans 79 countries of the Americas, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. She has published 21 books and over 120 papers, edits a law book series for Cambridge University Press, serves on the boards of 5 law journals and the Intl Law Association.

Dr Oonagh Fitzgerald is Director of CIGI’s International Law Research Program. She has extensive experience as a senior executive in the federal government, providing legal services and leadership in international law. Her areas of expertise include social responsibility and corporate governance, international and domestic public law, national security law and commercial law in public context.



Invitation to join us for Climate Law and Governance Day, Friday 10 Nov in Bonn

Wed, 25 Oct 2017

The CISDL will be hosting three main events at COP 23 of the UNFCCC 
With leading climate law and governance experts joining over 15,000 delegates for the UNFCCC CoP23 in Bonn, Germany from 6 to 17 November 2017, a unique opportunity is presented to unlock the knowledge of the climate law and governance community, share best practices and build capacity. CLGI, with thanks to current co-hosts and sponsors, has launched its global call for session hosts, partners, co-hosts, and sponsors for Climate Law and Governance Day 2017.
The third annual Climate Law and Governance Day (CLGD) will take place in parallel to COP23 on 10 November 2017 in Bonn to facilitate dialogue between diverse sets of stakeholders, government representatives and the academic legal community. It will build on the success of the inaugural CLGD 2015, which took place alongside COP21 with an audience of 60 key jurists, policy and law makers, academics, and civil society representatives, and CLGD 2016, which drew an audience of over 260 government delegates, law and policy practitioners, academics, and students, and reached a network of over 50,000 in its follow up and associated social media activities.
  • Climate Law and Governance Day 2017: A full-day knowledge sharing event organized annually by the Climate Law and Governance Initiative and its partners. This year the event will take place on Friday 10th November alongside COP23 in Bonn. Register Here 

  • Capacity Building Course on Climate Law: The four-hour certified course will provide a primer on timely issues concerning legal and governance challenges and opportunities for the implementation of the NDCs and the Paris Agreement. Register Here

  • Official UNFCCC Side Event at the Interconnected Zone and the DIE Interconnected Zone: The UNFCCC side event co-hosted with LSE on 16 Nov will focus on Progress on Law and Governance to Implement the Paris Agreement - Climate Vulnerable Countries and Beyond and the DIE side event on 13 Nov will focus on Implementing the Paris Agreement in the Context of Sustainable Development: The Role of Law and Governance

More information can be found at http://www.climatelawgovernance.org

Charles Gonthier Memorial Lecture - Highlights

Sun, 30 Jul 2017

Charles Gonthier Memorial Lecture - Highlights

The second bi-annual Charles Gonthier Memorial Lecture was held on Friday June 23rd 2017. Hosted by the CISDL, the evening was held by at McGill University’s Faculty Club and was preceded by a symposium on the interfaces of sustainable development and international law. The evening also marked the book launch of “Sustainable Development Principles in the Decisions of International Courts and Tribunals” edited by Prof Marie-Claire Coordonier Segger and the late Judge C.G. Weeramantry. The lecture considered “Justice and a Common Future in a Divided World” and focused on “How can rule of law, access to justice and good governance contribute to sustainable development in Canada and our world, in the face of rising Intolerance and populism.”

The event was attended by lawyers, judges and students from Montreal and beyond. Over 160 people were present for this world-class lecture on sustainable development and access to justice. It was an honor to have both Director General Irene Khan from the IDLO and Honourable Justice Guy Canivet as keynote speakers.

Irene Khan spoke about the need for access to justice in all communities and the challenges that accompany such a task. Her speech was grounded in international efforts and seeded with personal, human anecdotes that resonated with the audience and was especially appreciated by the students present. Judge Canivet presented a picture of the role of superior courts in world governance. He reflected on the potential power of these judicial bodies as well as the challenges they face. The audience was reminded of the need for cooperation to both generate and follow international guidelines. The values of fraternity and harmony, so central to the late Judge Gonthier, were presented as possible tools for sustainable development.

The Honourable Nicole Duval Hesler, Chief Justice, Court of Appeal of Quebec, opened the Lecture with a heartfelt address on justice and the late Judge Gonthier’s contribution to the Canadian charter. These remarks were an excellent counter part to the reflections on justice and our common future in Canada provided in closing by David Lametti, Member of Parliament. We would also like to thank the Honourable Malcolm Rowe, Justice, Supreme Court of Canada for providing an opening to the charity Banquet held in conjunction to the lecture and remembering Judge Gonthier.

Finally, it is important to highlight the Gonthier Memorial Lecture 2017 partners and sponsors. The event would not have been possible without their contribution. We hope to have their continued support in the future and see you all again in 2019.

We extend our very deepest gratitude to platinum sponsor law firms Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and Lamarre, Linteau & Montcalm; gold sponsor law firms Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP and Stikeman Elliot LLP; and silver sponsor firms McCarthy Tétrault LLP and Borden Ladner Gervais LLP; as well as platinum sponsor institute the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL); gold sponsor institutions the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ), the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the British Institute for International and Comparative Law (BIICL); and silver sponsor institutions the International Law Association (ILA) of Canada and the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law; as well as the Société québécoise de droit international (SQDI); the Canadian Bar Association, Quebec Branch; ProBono Quebec; the McGill Law Journal; the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and the Philippe Kirsch Institute together with many other collaborators, for their kind contributions to this special event. 


Call for Papers: Workshop on Gender on the International Bench

Wed, 7 Jun 2017

The PluriCourts Centre of Excellence at Oslo University is organizing a workshop series on “Identity on the International Bench”.

On 11 and 12 January 2018, the first workshop will focus on Gender on the International Bench will take place in The Hague.

Currently women judges make up on average 17% of international courts and tribunals, demonstrating significant disparity regarding the participation of women on the bench across different international legal regimes. Such lack of representativeness can affect the legitimacy of the international dispute settlement process and its outcomes.

The aim of this workshop is to analyse causes and effects of the dearth of women judges, and the resulting implications for the legitimacy of international adjudicatory institutions and the judicial decisions rendered. This will for example include an examination of international rules and practices concerning appointment and composition of the bench; judicial behaviour linked to the absence or presence of female judges; and potential effects on compliance with judicial awards.

Please find the Call for Papers at http://www.jus.uio.no/pluricourts/english/news-and-events/events/2018/2018-01-11-gender-on-the-bench.html

Proposals should be submitted via freya.baetens@jus.uio.no and c.m.bailliet@jus.uio.no by 31 July 2017.


In Memory of Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE QC LLD (13 July 1928 - 8 February 2017)

Mon, 13 Feb 2017

In Memory of Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE QC LLD (13 July 1928 - 8 February 2017) 

On 8 February 2017 the international legal community lost another distinguished member, Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE QC LLD .

 A longstanding inspiration, senior advisor, and mentor of the CISDL, Prof Lauterpacht will be deeply missed. The Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge, a model upon which the CISDL was formed, was founded by Prof Lauterpacht in 1983 and directed under his leadership in various roles for many years. 

The CISDL is participating in initiatives to honour his life and legacy. Prof Lauterpacht will be sorely missed worldwide. 


Special Invitation to the 2017 Gonthier Memorial Lecture - June 23, 2017

Mon, 30 Jan 2017


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 Club in Montreal on Friday, June 23, 2017. Registration Link.

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.

Ms. Irene Khan, Director-General of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), and Hon Justice Guy Canivet, Vice-Chair of the IOC Ethics Commission, former member of the French Constitutional Court and President of the Cour de Cassation of France.

23 June 2017 / Montreal, Canada

The event will be preceded, from 5h00PM to 6h00PM, by a Welcome Reception by Law faculties and Law Firms. Attendance at the Welcome Reception is free of charge upon registration. The Memorial Lecture will begin at 6h30PM.

The Memorial Lecture will be immediately followed by a Banquet Dinner at the McGill Faculty Club. Proceeds from the dinner will be used to fund the Memorial Lecture. Charitable tax receipts will be provided for Banquet Dinner registrants.

Participants are also invited to make a donation to the Gonthier Memorial Lecture. Charitable tax receipts will be provided to all donors.

Please reserve now for the Reception and Lecture.

Please also purchase your tickets for the Banquet Dinner now, before places become scarce.

Reservations can be made through the Eventbrite page.

As those who had the privilege to know him are aware, judicial integrity, responsibility and fraternity were important values to Honourable Judge Charles D Gonthier. The legacy of values he embraced is kept alive through the Gonthier Endowment Fund established in his name, to support a new series of biennial Lectures. A world-class high caliber program equal to the man’s stature was envisioned, and we are pleased to unveil it with this invitation. If your institution or firm is interested in becoming a partner, you are very welcome. Contact the Gonthier Legacy Committee, directed to Mr. Freedom-Kai Phillips, International Secretariat Manager, CISDL (fkphillips@cisdl.org) Christine Robertson, Gonthier Legacy Committee (Robertson.Christine@gmail.com), cc’ing Dr Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Senior Director, CISDL (mccs2@cam.ac.uk), for details.



McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law - 4th annual colloquium - January 20th 2017

Sat, 14 Jan 2017

The McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law is holding its 4th annual colloquium, “The World After the Paris Agreement”, on January 20th. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. and the event runs until 4:30 p.m. at the Thomson House Ballroom, McGill University (3650 rue McTavish, Montréal). Lunch will be provided. Admission to the event is free, but registration via Eventbrite is appreciated.

Le 4 novembre 2016 a marqué l’entrée en vigueur de l’Accord de Paris. Ayant fait l'objet d'un plus grand nombre de ratifications dans un an que l’accord Kyoto en une décennie, l’Accord de Paris a donné à la lutte contre le changement climatique un essor encore jamais vu. L’optimisme ressenti est presque tangible. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it “a momentous occasion,” reflecting “the consensus of governments that robust global cooperation, grounded in national action, is essential to meet the climate challenge.” 

Pourtant, les défis demeurent nombreux en ce qui concerne la mise en œuvre de l'Accord. La question suivante demeure : « que nous réserve l’avenir? ». Drawing on insights from their own work, our panelists will engage with this question in an interdisciplinary conversation about what the Paris Agreement means for the future of climate change policy in Canada and abroad. Find out more information on our panelists on our event Facebook page.

Please note that this event is accredited by a recognized provider for 5 hours of continuing legal education/ Formation d’un dispensateur reconnu aux fins de la formation continue obligatoire pour une durée de 5 heures.

Message from CISDL Senior Director on the passing of HE Judge CG Weeramantry

Fri, 6 Jan 2017

Message from CISDL Senior Director on the passing of HE Judge CG Weeramantry

Dear friends and colleagues

Judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry was an extraordinary and international inspiring jurist, an insightful scholar, a talented educator, a kind and gracious gentleman, and a deeply beloved mentor and friend.

He passed away this week, surrounded by family and friends.

His creativity, engagement and deep sense of responsibility, ethics and history were well known and deeply appreciated in our field.

His vision, insight, and dedication has made a lasting impression on international law, inspiring many young scholars and jurists to work towards peace, justice, and sustainable development. Across the world, and across generations, his works will be remembered and cherished. The Judge truly made a difference to our world, advancing peace, education, and research, and reminding us of the spirit of the law, with our responsibilities towards the most vulnerable peoples and our Earth.

Judge Weeramantry will be deeply missed and honoured by many.

It is very hard to imagine him gone.

We are sending all our deepest condolences to his family, along with all our respect for a life very, very well-lived. We deeply appreciate that it was possible to contribute to a special manuscript for him, together with many others, and to learn that the messages sent brought joy to the Judge and his family over the final months of his life.

Among his commitments, the Judge was a founding Chair of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL, and then for 16 years, Patron of the Centre, which is based at McGill University in Canada, which, with affiliates in the Universities of Cambridge, Nairobi and Chile, works to advance sustainable development through legal scholarship and empowerment. Additionally, the Judge was a Founding Councillor for the World Future Council.  Just a few weeks ago, the Judge’s final corrections and approvals arrived for Sustainable Development in International Courts and Tribunals, which he was editing with us for Routledge. This volume will provide a testament to his legacy as a jurist and humanitarian, with a special dedication to honour his memory.

In the next months, we shall consult with the Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education Research, McGill, Cambridge, Monash, his colleagues from the Courts and his other institutions, also his family and friends, in order to establish a memorial to honour his legacy.

Very kind regards,


Prof Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, DPhil (Oxon) MEM (Yale) BCL & LLB (McGill) BA Hons

Senior Director, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL)



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