Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger

Visiting Professor

Prof Dr Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, DPhil (Oxon), MEM (Yale), BCL&LLB (McGill), BA Hons (Carl/UVic), FRSA, JFR, is a world-class academic legal expert and policy innovator in sustainable development. Laureate of the prestigious Justitia Fundamentum Regnorum and other international awards, she is Full Professor of International Law at the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development and the Balsillie School of International Affairs in the University of Waterloo, Canada. As Senior Director of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law at McGill University and Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Climate Law and Governance Initiative, she lectures globally on the SDGs, also serving on the Board of Canada’s International Law Association and the Trust for Sustainable Living, as Chair of a World Bank LJD Community of Practice on the Environment, Chair of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Biodiversity Law and Governance Initiative, among other commitments. She has published over 20 books and over 120 papers in five languages, edits a series of volumes on sustainable development with Cambridge University Press, and serves on editorial/review boards of five international law journals, having co-founded three. She also holds over 20 years of international treaty negotiations, executive and capacity-building experience spanning over 80 countries as senior advisor to UN treaty negotiations, international organizations and countries on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. She has served as Senior Legal Counsel to the UNFCCC Presidency and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, Senior Legal Expert to the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), founding Senior Research Director of the Sustainable Prosperity Policy Research Network, and a senior official in the Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, among other roles, and she co-founded the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) of Canada.

 Skills and expertise to be transferred through the Professorship:

  • Prof Cordonier Segger has internationally-honed skills and expertise in developing international and domestic legal preparedness to deliver the SDGs, experience in designing and implementing innovative, networked, inclusive policy, governance and law processes and methods, and co-founded Canada’s SDSN. She holds deep and successful academic scholarly and also globally-relevant practical experience in supporting law and policy reform for genuine research impact.
  • She presently leads several outstanding and globally relevant international law and policy research networks and projects to incentivize, achieve, promote coordination and co-benefits between the SDGs. She has also important skills and expertise in establishing innovative public policy instruments backed by legal and governance reform to ensure that public policy efforts and programmes to deliver the SDGs, particularly those related to SDG 7 (clean energy), SDG 12 (sustainable consumption/production), SDG 13 (climate change), SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 15 (life on land), can be reliably measured and monitored.
  • Of importance to Bennett staff and students, she has experience establishing and chairing/hosting policy dialogues on key SDGs for better informed and coherent policy and law-making, launching research-based law and policy journals and publication series, and engaging students and academic staff in law/policy case studies related to the needs of future generations.

Success for the Bennett Institute with colleagues across the University of Cambridge:

  • The Bennett Institute for Public Policy connects the world-leading research in technology and science at Cambridge with the economic and political dimensions of policy-making. The Bennett Institute is committed to outstanding teaching, policy engagement, and to devising sustainable and long-lasting solutions. The Institute works across the University of Cambridge, engaging different faculties and departments engaged in public policy innovation such as the Centre for Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Governance (Land Economy), the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law (Law), the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Initiative (UCCRI), the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and others; and across the UK with key partners in Anglia Ruskin University, LSE, Oxford and University of East Anglia.
  • This is an exciting time in the development of the Bennett Institute, which was launched in 2018 with strong support from the University and a major donation. The interdisciplinary environment is particularly suitable for hosting high-profile guest lectures and workshops, promoting skills transfer, holding policy dialogues with senior public sector leaders, and building international/national policy research networks. The Institute has an annual cohort of 35-40 students from around the world in the MPhil in Public Policy, as a small number of PhD students, with a wide range of study and work experience.

 Transfer of skills and expertise:

  • The Visiting Professorship will enhance the knowledge and skills of the researchers, academic staff and student body within the Bennett Institute and across several faculties of the University of Cambridge and its partner universities.
  • Through a six high-profile Leverhulme Lectures co-hosted with different faculties and institutes in the University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, the University of Oxford, London School of Economics and East Anglia University in Norwich, the Professor will inspire academic staff and students to help the UK achieve the global SDGs through their research, teaching and public policy careers, and enhance their knowledge of the challenge and innovative solutions.
  • By hosting three focused skills transfer workshops and two specialised career mentorship workshops, the Professor will diffuse skills and expertise.
  •  By co-leading three research seminars to develop and pilot case studies together with Bennett Institute staff and students, and co-hosting two innovative public policy dialogues across the UK with public and private sector leaders, the Professor will train and build coherent collaboration on achieving the SDGs at different levels of government, and help found a new Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the UK for lasting new policy research and impact.
Marie-Claire Cordonier-Segger
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