Published on 27 October 2020
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How can worldwide pandemic recovery support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, finally keeping our treaty promises?

Hear key influencers address Pandemic Recovery, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Law in the online public Leverhulme Lecture and Distinguished Expert Dialogue.

How can investment to enable recovery from the pandemic, supported by law, foster rather than frustrate global sustainability; and how can new research and education help to bridge the widening capacity chasm? This is the question leading experts will debate at the online public Leverhulme Lecture and Distinguished Expert Dialogue on Wednesday 4 November, 5.00pm-7.00pm GMT.  

This year’s topic, “Pandemic Recovery, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Law,” will address how pandemic recovery measures might foster rather than frustrate the global Sustainable Development Goals, and contribute to meeting pressing human rights, and economic and environmental treaty commitments, including the Paris Agreement on Climate change. 

New law and policy research findings, supported by the Leverhulme Trust and to be announced during the event, show that although countries are spending trillions on economic stimulus for pandemic recovery, another £700 billion a year in the least developed countries is needed to achieve the sustainable development goals to help fulfill the hundreds of nearly-broken international treaty promises.

Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor at the Bennett Institute University of Cambridge and Senior Director, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) will deliver the lecture online, saying: “Complex, inter-linked ‘wicked problems’ of climate change, drought and hunger, terrestrial and marine ecosystem collapse and species extinction, and worldwide health pandemic risks, are becoming increasing urgent – particularly as they are exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is important to consider how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer a common global public policy agenda, supported by binding international treaty obligations and regimes, that can positively support Covid-19 recovery measures.

“All of us – students, academics, business people, policymakers and members of the public – need to ensure swift and safe solutions that will help to us move forward in achieving new financial recovery measures and investment; existing treaty commitments such as the Paris Agreement, and key SDGs can help us to do this.”

A dialogue will follow, chaired by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge Professor Stephen Toope, with distinguished experts including Lord Robert Carnwath, Chair of the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies Council and former Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom; Adv Wendy Miles, QC, International Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration Vice-President; Russell Picot, HSBC Pensions Board Chair and Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure Advisor; Professor David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights and the Environment; Adv Douglas Leys, QC, General Counsel, Green Climate Fund; Professor Dame Julia King, The Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Carbon Trust Chair; Dame Fiona Reynolds, Master or Emmanuel College and former Director-General of the National Trust; and Dame Barbara Stocking, President of Murray Edwards College and former Chief Executive of Oxfam.

These experts will share insights and innovative ideas to align recovery with human rights, poverty eradication, climate change and other key SDG commitments, and focus on the special role of research and educational institutions to bridge the growing gap in law, policy and technical capacity in meeting our goals.

A limited number of places are still available to watch the live debate online and hear the latest thinking from key influencers working in business, government and academia. For more information and to book your free place visit:

The event is hosted by the University of Cambridge, Leverhulme Trust, ARU and affiliated partners including the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

Read about the Leverhulme Lecture & Distinguished Experts Dialogue: Natural Resources, the Sustainable Development Goals, International Law, held on 11 March 2021.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

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