UNFCCC Bonn SB58: IBA and law partners to host side event on the role of lawyers in the climate crisis

Wednesday 7 June 2023

The International Bar Association (IBA), the American Bar Association (ABA), the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) and the Law Society of England and Wales (LSEW) will co-host a side event on the role of lawyers in the climate crisis at the Bonn Climate Change Conference (Bonn SB58), part of the United Nations Environment Programme, taking place from 5–15 June 2023 in Bonn, Germany.

The side event, titled ‘The role of lawyers and law associations in the Global Stocktake: Implementation at a domestic level’, will be held on Tuesday 13 June 2023 from 1645 – 1800 (CEST) at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) headquarters. Discussion will centre on the unique role of law associations and lawyers in regulating, training and sharing best practice examples to further climate objectives and implement strategies for the net zero transition and realisation of country nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Representing the IBA at the session will be Lara Douvartzidis, IBA Project Lawyer. The co-panellists are: Letícia Perrone Campos Mello, Secretary of the OAB International Relations Committee; Alasdair Cameron, Climate Change Policy Adviser at The Law Society of England and Wales; and John Dernbach, Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability at Widener University and Vice-Chair of the ABA's Committee on Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems.

The participation of the four organisations providing representation for the legal profession suggests UN recognition of the importance of lawyers in the fight against the climate crisis as well as the profession’s support of climate adaptation often requiring the implementation of new legislation. With law impacting every aspect of life, the presence of the IBA, ABA, OAB and the LSEW at Bonn SB58 will provide conference attendees with opportunities to engage on legal aspects. Similarly, the group of four will be provided with opportunities to participate in global conversations and increase collaboration with other sectors striving to create positive change in the climate change arena.

In November 2022, the IBA, ABA, OAB and the LSEW co-hosted two events during COP27 in Egypt. The official side event was held in COP27’s Blue Zone, the UN-managed space accessible only to government representatives and specific delegates of observer organisations.

In March 2023, attention turned to COP28 and engaging in outreach activities with the first of four thematic webinars focusing on the role of lawyers in the climate crisis, COP28 capacity building: Africa in focus – facilitating the net transition. The IBA has also issued reports relating to the role of lawyers and the legal profession in the climate crisis, including Legal Aspects of Climate Change Adaptation (2021), the Model Statute for Proceedings Challenging Government Failure to Act on Climate Change (2020) and Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Change Disruption (2014).

The IBA, ABA, OAB and the LSEW also plan to attend COP28 in Dubai in December 2023.


Notes to the Editor 

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