Round-table workshop on climate legislation in Botswana

In collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, LRI held a two-day round-table capacity building workshop in Gaborone, Botswana, from 9-10 October. Thirty government officials from different departments such as agriculture, transport, water and the General Attorney’s Office attended the workshop sponsored by the UK government’s Climate Ambition Support Alliance (CASA).

The first day of the workshop focused on the Paris Agreement and “Rulebook” (the decisions adopted in Katowice in December 2018) and their implications for law and policy in Botswana. During the second day, participants discussed possible approaches and processes to develop specific legislation on climate change in Botswana. The workshop facilitators, Robert Ondhowe and Christoph Schwarte, highlighted different design options, lessons learnt in other jurisdictions and the available infrastructure of support.

A member of the Attorney General’s Office commented that this was the first time such a workshop took place following the ratification of a new international treaty by Botswana. As the country’s parliamentary elections are scheduled for 23 October, it is, however, difficult to predict how soon the recently adopted climate change policy will be supplemented by further legislation. The workshop host Balisi Gopolang was optimistic and felt that following the event “now things will start to move”.

Launch of LACLIMA

A network of climate change lawyers in Latin America was launched in Sao Paulo on September 7th 2019. With more than 130 members in Brazil so far, LACLIMA – Latin American Climate Lawyers Initiative for Mobilizing Action – aims to gather  lawyers from other Latin American countries, to build a critical mass in the legal community in the region, which can support regional stakeholders in understanding the legal implications of the Paris Agreement commitments at the regional level and help them translating these into action on the ground.

The initiative is supported by LRI as a sister organization, and is spear-headed by Caroline Prolo, head of environmental practice at the Brazilian law firm Stocche Forbes and long-time LRI liaison officer, in collaboration with Flávia Bellaguarda, climate change officer at ICLEI SAMS and co-founder of the Youth Climate Leaders – a social enterprise for young leadership training on climate change.

The launch event provided an opportunity for the members of the network to meet and, with other climate change experts and prominent speakers, to reflect on what role lawyers can play to promote implementation of the Paris Agreement at the regional level.

Regional training workshop for Asia and the Pacific

From 31 July – 1 August 2019 another European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi) training workshop for junior negotiators took place in Kathmandu, Nepal. Almost 40 government officials from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Malaysia, Vanuatu and other climate vulnerable developing countries in Asia and the Pacific region attended the workshop.

LRI contributed presentations on legal terminology and the Paris Agreement’s reporting and compliance framework to the programme. The workshop also included a general introduction to the UNFCCC process, an outlook on the months ahead and specific subject areas (e.g. mitigation and Article 6) as well as a negotiation simulation exercise. This was chaired by the new chair of the LDC group in the UNFCCC negotiation, Mr Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi from Bhutan.