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World Leaders Discuss a Global Pact for the Environment

By Nathan Lobel
September 26, 2017

CCSI invited UN officials, policy makers, civil society leaders, and academics to Columbia for a one-day conference to discuss the Global Pact for the Environment. The Global Pact aims to serve as a legally binding “umbrella text” for international environmental law that would establish a universal right to a healthy environment. Panelists presented their hopes for the Pact’s potential impact, including expanding human rights protections, influencing state policy-making, and catalyzing a holistic rethinking of other international agreements (like those on trade or investment). They also weighed in on fundamental questions for drafters and negotiators to address before the Pact is ready for ratification, like whether the Pact should be fully legally binding, whether it should use a narrow or broad definition of “environment,” and whether it should be designed for use in international or domestic courts.

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Not So Sweet: Tanzania Confronts Arbitration over Large-Scale Sugarcane and Ethanol Project

By Jesse Coleman and Kaitlin Cordes
September 21, 2017

In this blog post, Jesse Coleman and Kaitlin Cordes explore how Tanzania exemplifies the many challenges of large-scale international investment. Four companies under a bilateral investment treaty in force between Tanzania and Sweden are currently holding a claim against the country after 3,000 hectares of the land allocated for the project were recovered by the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Human Settlements Developments. The project had potential impacts on local farmers, villagers, wildlife and tourism at Saadani National Park, however, Tanzania now faces significant financial liability if they are found to have breached their obligations under the applicable IIA.

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In Jharkhand, Using an Old Technique for Sustainable Water

By Sandeep Dixit and Abhijit Sharan
May 24, 2017

In this blog post, Sandeep Dixit and Abhijit Sharan write on the drought in the Indian state of Jharkhand that has caused more than 20 million farmers to suffer. In effort to correct the state’s dependence on rain-fed agriculture and input modern farming practices, the Centers for International Projects Trust in New Delhi has collaborated with Ranchi’s Birsa Agricultural University to work on construction of small ponds (called “dobhas”) under its Sustainable Agriculture and Farmers’ Livelihood program.

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The Risks and Impacts of Expropriating Community Lands

By Sam Szoke-Burke
December 20, 2016

In this blog post, Sam Szoke-Burke describes how governments using land for large-scale projects must consider both the greater public benefits as well as the needs of the people who reside on and utilize the resources of the land. The risks of land expropriation include: an excessive demand on public resources, ruins to property and disruption to investment projects, and damage to government reputations. Therefore, both domestic and international human rights law must be considered.

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Toward a Carbon-Neutral Future: Why Land and Resource Rights Matter

By Stephen Brooks
October 27, 2016

In this blog post, Stephen Brooks explains how strong institutions, laws, and policies are critical to ensuring that the destabilizing effects of climate change don’t impinge on the rights of local populations. As climate change continues to pose a significant threat to the poorest citizens and puts strain on government systems, it is critical to recognize that the push to reduce emissions and switch to clean energy sources intersects with securing land and resource rights for impacted communities.

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Can Climate Litigation Support Global Action on Climate Change?

By Alejandra Cicero and Jesse Coleman
October 24, 2016

In this blog post, Alejandra Cicero and Jesse Coleman give numerous examples —Pakistan, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and others—that illustrate how climate action depends on regional, domestic, and international engagement. With strong and coherent jurisprudential narratives on legal responsibility for climate change, there is potential for success in influencing private sector action.

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Protecting Intellectual Property While Mitigating Climate Change: Can We Do Both?

By Romany Webb
October 19, 2016

In this blog post, Romany Webb writes on the debate between industrialized and developing countries over the use of patents on technology that addresses climate change. To achieve the Paris Climate agreement’s goals and the Sustainable Development Goals, action should be taken to remove impediments in international treaties.

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No Free Passes: Making Renewable Energy Responsible

By Sam Szoke-Burke and Kaitlin Cordes
October 17, 2016

In this blog post, Sam Szoke-Burke and Kaitlin Cordes explain how the diversion from fossil-fuel based energy to renewables must be done responsibly with governments, financiers, and energy companies complying with international best practices to ensure that land rights and human rights are respected.

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Leaving Fossil Fuels in the Ground: Who, What and When?

By James Morrissey and Nicolas Maennling*
October 14, 2016

In this blog post, James Morrissey and Nicolas Maennling discuss a report by Oxfam that revealed significant information. If developed countries bore the full burden of stranding their own assets, the known fossil fuel reserves in developing countries (not including China) could be exploited, and the world would still stand a 50% chance of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees C.

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Stranding Equitably in the Current Market and Geopolitical Context

By Albert Bressand
October 13, 2016

In this blog post, Albert Bressand discusses how the world’s production of oil and gas could be significantly reduced in manner that will also protect the interests of lower-income producing countries. He looks into the market and geopolitical context in which proposals can be implemented that stay on carbon budget and leave two thirds of the fossil fuel reserves unburnt.

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