Past Event

Conference on the Global Pact for the Environment

September 20, 2017
8:30 AM - 6:00 PM
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Faculty House, Columbia University, New York

Our recap of the event is available here.

The Conference program is available here.

See panelist biographies here.

Carlos Sallé PPT presentation is available here.

CCSI and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), under the guidance of Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the SDGs, and Laurent Fabius, President of the Constitutional Council of the French Republic, hosted a one-day conference to present and discuss the blueprint for a Global Pact for the Environment. The conference built on the successful June 2017 launch of the Global Pact in Paris, which brought together prominent leaders to discuss the draft pact and its role in moving the environment and development agendas forward. Speakers at the launch included Ban Ki-moon, President Emmanuel Macron, Mary Robinson, Paul Polman, and other pacesetting advocates of global environmental governance. View Prof. Sachs’ and President Macron’s remarks affirming the Pact’s critical importance here and here (English subtitles forthcoming).

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. Since its adoption, state and non-state actors around the world have progressively contributed to the circulation and implementation of fundamental principles enshrined in the Declaration. In its November 2015 report Increasing the Effectiveness of International Environmental Law: Duties of States, Rights of Individuals, the Environmental Commission of Le Club des Juristes (CDJ) proposed the adoption of a Global Pact for the Environment to serve as a binding, universal “umbrella text” synthesizing the principles outlined in the Rio Declaration, the Earth Charter, the World Charter for Nature, and other instruments shaping environmental governance.

Coinciding with the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, this Conference offered a high-level opportunity to explore the complex legal and political challenges of the Global Pact in light of existing agreements and soft law principles on the environment, and the current global political scene.

The conference’s sessions explored the scope and impact of the proposed Global Pact, including high-level panels on:

  • the normative and legal case for the Global Pact on the Environment, the main legal challenges and opportunities presented by the Pact, and the ways in which the Pact can shape State and corporate responsibilities and behavior;
  • the foundation for implementation and enforcement of the Global Pact established by existing jurisprudence on international environmental law, as well as the legal mechanisms proposed by the Pact and their application; and
  • the role of diverse stakeholders in moving the environmental governance agenda forward, and emerging opportunities for collaboration and shared value creation among companies, governments, state institutions, and civil society.

Speakers included:

  • Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, Chair, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)
  • Yann Aguila, Chair of the Environmental Law Commission, Club des Juristes
  • Susan Biniaz, Former Deputy Legal Adviser, U.S Department of State; Adjunct Faculty (International Environmental Law), Columbia Law School
  • Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Professor of International Law, University of Geneva; Member of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace
  • Maxine Burkett, Professor of Law, William S. Richardson School of Law; Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Sarah Cleveland, Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights, Columbia Law School; Member, UN Human Rights Committee
  • Joan Clos, Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Programme
  • Laurent Fabius, President of the Conseil Constitutionnel de la République Française; Former President of COP21
  • Fernando Carrillo Flórez, Procurator-General, Colombia
  • Michael Gerrard, Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia University
  • Nicolas Hulot, Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, France
  • Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility
  • Maria Ivanova, Professor of Global Governance and Director, Center for Governance and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Peter Lehner, Senior Attorney, Sustainable Food and Farming, Earth Justice
  • Marcos Orellana, Director, Environment and Human Rights Division, Human Rights Watch
  • Teresa Parejo-Navajas, Associate Professor of Law, Universidad de Carlos III Madrid
  • Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Head, Climate and Energy Practice, World Wildlife Fund
  • David W. Rivkin, Partner and Co-Chair of the International Dispute Resolution Group, Debevoise and Plimpton LLP; Immediate Past President, International Bar Association
  • Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University
  • Carlos Sallé, Director of Energy Policies and Climate Change, Iberdrola
  • Halldór Thorgeirsson, Senior Director for Intergovernmental Affairs, UN Climate Change Secretariat
  • Laurence Tubiana, CEO, European Climate Foundation
  • Zhang Xinsheng, President, International Union for Conservation of Nature