Reaching out to Latin American lawyers

5 June 2019

Some countries in Latin America have already enacted specific climate change laws (e.g. Mexico and Peru) while others (e.g. Chile) are in the process of developing new legislation. To raise the critical mass among legal experts in the region who can contribute to the legal implementation agenda at the domestic, regional and international levels a network of climate change lawyers is being set up in Latin America.

With the support of LRI, a pilot of the initiative will be implemented first in Brazil, spearheaded by lawyers Caroline Dihl Prolo and Flávia Bellaguarda. Caroline is an attorney and head of the environmental law practice at the Brazilian law firm Stocche Forbes. Flávia Bellaguarda is a qualified lawyer in Brazil, climate change officer at ICLEI SAMS and co-founder of the Youth Climate Leaders – a social enterprise for young leadership training on climate change.

Caroline, who has been collaborating with LRI and working in the UNFCCC negotiations for more than seven years says: “In this climate crisis era, the law can be a powerful instrument to address climate change risks and to adapt to changing climate realities.”

The initiative is, therefore, aimed at building capacity and sharing legal tools amongst practitioners in the region, with a view to building a network that can provide legal support to governments, parliamentarians, civil society and other actors to help ensure implementation of the Paris Agreement and pave the way for a low carbon economy on the national and regional scale.

The first step in building the network was a survey amongst lawyers in Brazil. In response to a targeted questionnaire and call for support, almost one hundred lawyers from different walks of life expressed an interest to further develop their legal knowledge in the climate change context. Some of them (22%) indicated to have no such expertise; half felt they had acquired some relevant legal knowledge as part of their academic education and research.

Training for junior negotiators in Addis

20 May 2019

Mock negotiations

LRI contributed to a regional training workshop organised by the European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi) for junior negotiators from Francophone and Anglophone Africa from 29 April to 03 May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. LRI is one of the ecbi lead organisations (with Oxford Climate Policy and IIED).

The aim of the workshop was to help junior negotiators and national policymakers to improve their working understanding of the main relevant themes of the UNFCCC, the Paris Agreement and its implementations guidelines, to develop skills to effectively partake in the negotiations and translate outcomes into national level implementation.

Topics covered, to name but a few, ranged from introduction to UNFCCC legal architecture, to adaptation, transparency and compliance under the Paris implementation guidelines. Participants also had dedicated time to undertake group work and exchange national experiences and challenges, for example on the NDC process and on accessing climate finance. Last but not least, participants’ negotiating skills were reinforced through sessions of mock negotiation on real and live contentious issues likely to arise at the upcoming negotiations.

Promoting parliamentary engagement on climate change in Burundi

27 March 2019

Around two hundred Members of the Burundi Parliament took part in a workshop to promote parliamentary engagement in climate change related actions in the country. The workshop, held on 22nd March in Bujumbura, was organised by the Burundi National Assembly in conjunction with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Environment. It was attended by the President of the National Assembly and the two Deputy Speakers of the Senate and National Assembly.

The workshop opened with some briefing on anthropogenic climate change causes and impacts in the Burundian context. LRI gave presentations on the Paris Agreement and the rules for its implementation (the so-called Rulebook) adopted at COP24, in December 2018, and highlighted those areas where more work will need to be done this year.

The next presentation focussed on the implications of the Paris Agreement and Rulebook for Burundi, with Ms. Renilde Ndayishimiye, until recently UNFCCC focal point for Burundi, introducing participants to the country’s nationally determined contribution and highlighting actions needed to fully implement the Agreement, and challenges and opportunities related to this.

The meeting provided an opportunity to showcase LRI’s new climate legislation advice portal, developed in collaboration with UN Environment, as a resource tool for parliamentarians and government policy makers engaged in law review and development at domestic level. The final session in invited participants to discuss ways in which parliamentarians can further support climate action in Burundi through legislation and institutional reforms.

Workshop report on the National Assembly website

Legal preparedness for the implementation of the Paris Agreement – Roundtable workshop in Lagos

20 March 2019

Over 40 law and policy makers attended a one-day roundtable workshop on the legal preparedness for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on 14 March 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria. Workshop participants included representatives of various government departments and agencies, academia, civil society and the private sector. Most of the participants were lawyers and many travelled to Lagos from other parts of Nigeria (e.g. Abuja and the Ogun, Oyo, Delta, and Abia States).

The meeting was organised by the Environmental Resource Centre (ERC) in Lagos in close collaboration with LRI. Important technical and financial support was provided by Advocates for International Development (A4ID) under the UK Aid sponsored Rule of Law Expertise (Role UK) Programme.

The objective of the meeting was to introduce the 2015 Paris Agreement and the rules for its implementation as adopted in 2018 (the so called Paris Agreement Rulebook) and analyse their implications for Nigeria. Law and policy makers who attended the workshop will be able to champion climate responses at the Federal and state level, and in that context, ensure that Nigeria will benefit from provisions of the new agreement.

The meeting included three technical presentations by Huzi Mshelia (ERC), Christoph Schwarte (LRI) and Dr Peter Tarfa, the UNFCCC focal point for Nigeria. During his presentation, the latter underlined the need for legal and technical support in the international climate negotiations as well as in domestic efforts to implement the Paris Agreement.

In response, participants of the meeting agreed to establish a Legal Working Group (LWG) on climate governance in Nigeria to support the national government in the UNFCCC process and in strengthening domestic legislation. The group will include legal advisers from different Federal and State ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), the private sector, NGOs and academia.

Workshop on legal readiness for climate finance

31 January 2019

On Friday 25 January, LRI in collaboration with the Dickson Poon School of Law and UN Environment facilitated a round table workshop on legal readiness for climate finance at King’s College, London.

To respond to the adverse effects of climate change, developing countries require significant new and additional financial resources. Industrialised countries have promised to take the lead in mobilising climate finance. To date, however, many poor and particularly climate vulnerable developing countries do not only lack the financial resources for crucial adaptation actions but even the funds required to create the basic institutional governance framework for mainstreaming climate change into general law and policy making.

The roundtable workshop brought together regulators, academics and practitioners to discuss lessons learnt and approaches in different jurisdictions on how to increase flows of private capital. Different sessions looked at the role regulators can play, the development of a climate finance toolkit and specific approaches to raising climate finance.  Oscar Njugune of Kenya’s International Financial Centre Authority commented on the workshop: “Certainly from a Kenyan policy making perspective it has provided me with some key action items to take forward, as well as opened up communication channels with a number of important stakeholders with whom we can take forward discussions on a bilateral basis.”