Climate Law and Governance Day 2016: Crafting the Paris Rulebook & Implementing the Paris Agreement

Last Friday, the 2nd Climate Law and Governance Day was held here in Marrakech on the theme of “Crafting the Paris Rulebook & Implementing the Paris Agreement”. Organized by the Climate Law and Governance Initiative with a host of institutional partners, the day featured some fascinating discussions on the sprawling agenda of giving effect to the Paris Agreement through law and regulation. The full agenda is online here.

The nature of the Paris Agreement makes its implementation through law something of a new challenge. The necessary approach is pragmatic and problem-solving, as reflected in James Cameron’s comment during the opening session that while much of the Paris Agreement cannot be enforced in a court of law, it is not devoid of legal effect – but this legal effect must be thought about in a different way.

For me, particular highlights of the day were the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s session on mobilizing climate finance in the Middle East and North Africa and a workshop on standards and the Paris Agreement, during which we heard about how the ISO, the private sector and development banks are developing standards and methods to address the increasing complexity of the climate and sustainable development tasks.

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(Photo credit: M. Bowman)

I participated in a panel discussion on ‘Legal Preparedness for the Paris Agreement’, together with Christoph Schwarte from the Legal Response Initiative, Alina Averchenkova from the Grantham Research Institute at LSE and Robert Ondhowe from UN Environment. Our presentations addressed a set of related questions: Why extend beyond policy towards development of a legislative framework? What are priorities and key considerations for legislative frameworks for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and other major 2015 outcomes such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction? What trends and challenges have emerged from present efforts to map and measure domestic legal responses to climate change?

Ultimately, what emerged from the session – and the day – is that achieving the necessary goals of the Paris Agreement requires a broad array of legal mechanisms – national, international and subnational; public, private and hybrid; hard and soft. The heartening message of the day was that a great deal of creative, practical work is being done to strengthen, innovate and apply these mechanisms.

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