Bangkok climate conference

12 September 2018

UNFCCC Parties met in Bangkok on 4 – 9 September 2018 to advance their work on the Paris Agreement work programme (PAWP), the set of rules and guidelines needed to operationalize the Paris Agreement, which is due to be adopted at COP24 in Katowice in December this year.

Despite the intense pace of work, progress in Bangkok was uneven, with the issues of clarity on finance and how to reflect differentiation between developing and developed countries amongst the main sticking points. With an ‘PAWP compilation’ at the end of the session still running at over 300 pages long, Parties have their work cut out if COP24 is to deliver a successful outcome.

An LRI team of three lawyers attended the conference. Amongst them was Norarat Nararujaneetanan, a Thai lawyer who said of her experience: “To witness the world uniting and committing to find a solution for our planet through my own eyes is something that I have always been dreaming of. I attended several sessions, on the adaptation communication, Art. 6 market and non-market based mechanisms and response measures. It was interesting to see

political views, leverage and strategies being used by negotiators through the discussions in each session. Not only did I have an opportunity to witness that, but also how we, as legal advisers, can provide a great assistance during the climate negotiations.We received interesting queries from delegates and conducted some research as well as arranged an expert to provide advice for the delegates.”

To help advance Parties’ deliberations, the subsidiary bodies ‘ presiding officers have been mandated to prepare, by mid-October, a joint reflections note addressing progress made to date and identifying ways forward including ‘textual proposals’ to serve as a basis of negotiations in Katowice.

 

LRI with Cameroonian delegate, Mr. Wagnoun

LRI talks about pro bono on Planet Pod

2 July 2018

What is pro bono ? who are the main beneficiaries ? Why do lawyers (and others) do it and what are the rewards ?

These were some of the questions raised in last week’s Planet Pod weekly podcast.  To discuss these, Pascale Bird, advice coordinator at LRI, was joined by Olga Hancock, pro bono manager at Simmons & Simmons and Charlotte Davis of Christian Aid. Deconstructing some of the myths around pro bono, they talked about the opportunities it provides for large commercial organisations to engage in issues they would not otherwise be exposed to, how the legal sector has inspired others to get involved with the idea of giving their skills and how lawyers can use pro bono as a tool for enhancing sustainability. Want to find out more ? listen to the full podcast here: https://theplanetpod.com/planet-pod-on-pro_bono/

UNFCCC negotiations training and national level workshops in Sri Lanka

19 June 2018

Representatives from 12 Asian and Pacific countries attended two workshops held in Colombo, Sri Lanka. One was the ecbi regional workshop aimed at training new and junior negotiators from developing countries so that they may participate more effectively in the UN climate negotiations. Organised in partnership with the local NGO Janathakshan, the sessions, many of them delivered by seasoned LDC negotiators, combined presentations on some key thematic areas of the Paris Agreement with practical exercises and tips to help equip participants for the negotiations. Through break out groups and mock negotiations, participants were encouraged to engage and exchange, and fully did so.

 

This was helped by them having had the opportunity to get acquainted with each other over the previous two days, during a climate change experience sharing and lesson learning forum, organised by IIED and Janathakshan, and a new addition to the ecbi regional training programme. The forum started with a field trip to share lessons and experience of a flood mitigation area and urban space development initiative near Colombo, and was followed by an informal forum in which participants were invited to talk about their country’s experience in planning for a low carbon resilient development, translating their priorities into implementable projects and programmes and accessing funds, as well as the institutional and capacity challenges they face in implementing their NDCs. LRI presented on tools available to law and policy makers responsible for developing and reviewing climate-related laws and plans, including the climate legislation portal it is currently developing.

LRI booklet launched in Cameroonian Parliament

17 June 2018

On Wednesday, 13 June 2018, an LRI publication on initial suggestions for developing legislative interventions on climate change through public consultations was officially launched in the National Assembly of Cameroon in Yaounde.

Following the Cameroonian equivalent of Prime Minister’s question time, the second item on Parliament’s agenda for the afternoon was the presentation of 2 publications: “Science, Economics and Politics of Climate Change” by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and “Bottom-up climate legislation in Cameroon” by LRI.

The LRI booklet can be downloaded at https://legalresponse.org/further-resources/briefing-papers/ The Cameroonian Minister of the Environment congratulated LRI and its partners on the publication and called it “important and timely guidance on how to contribute to the global fight against climate change”. He emphasised, in particular, the importance of participatory approaches in developing law and policy. In Cameroon – he stated – environmental and social impact assessments are, therefore, a legal requirement for many projects, plans and strategies.

Augustine Njamnshi, a co-author of both publications, presented their main content and findings to around 50 MPs in the National Assembly. The event was organised by the Cameroonian Climate Change Working Group, a member of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and hosted by the MP Awudu Cyprian Mbaya who is also the executive chair of the Pan African Parliamentarian Network on Climate Change.

MPs preparing for the group photograph

Law Society Excellence Awards

3 April 2018

LRI outstanding work and innovative model received a  high accolade at the prestigious Law Society Excellence Awards that took place in October 2017.

The law firm Simmons & Simmons, who has been one of our key supporters over the years – giving LRI office space for hosting the Situation Room and for its employees, and providing many hours of invaluable pro bono legal support  – was nominated for an award in the pro bono category. We were delighted to be chosen by them as showcase for this work. Although not the winners, being finalists was in itself a recognition for their exceptional contribution to pro bono work, as was their selection as one of the Law Society video case studies celebrating excellence in law, which you can watch here.