Published on 21 September 2022
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Visiting Professor awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada

Bennett Institute Visiting Professor awarded highest Canadian accolade for contributions to sustainable law and governance.

Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Visiting Professor at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy and across the University of Cambridge, has received a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) – Academy of Social Sciences. Her election laudation credits her work as a pioneering scholar and jurist in sustainable development law and governance.

Nominated by peers and institutions for outstanding scholarly, scientific and artistic achievement, the Award is one of the highest academic honours that a Canadian can receive in the Arts, Social Sciences and Sciences.

Says Professor Cordonier Segger: “I deeply appreciate being welcomed into this circle of leading scholars of Canada – it is an opportunity to further advance new frameworks for sustainable development law and public policy through innovation, knowledge and education, and to develop and shape inquiry on climate change and other crucial global challenges, into the future.”

As a Visiting Professor at the Bennett Institute, and chair of several world-spanning institutions, associations and councils, including as Executive Secretary for Climate Law and Governance Initiative for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change CoP26 in Glasgow, she has led an inspiring portfolio of global research, engagement and dialogue initiatives. Her work includes advancing innovative responses to climate change, biodiversity protection, natural resources management, indigenous rights, intergenerational justice and other global sustainability challenges while informing treaty design, implementation, compliance and dispute settlement. 

Supported by the Leverhulme Trust, her research at the Bennett Institute has focused on leading a comparative public policy and legal analysis that contributed to key impacts globally in several areas.

Her scholarship and engagement on climate law and governance supported crucial negotiations on the Paris Agreement, and also on the ‘Rulebook’ to operationalise the treaty that was decided in Glasgow at COP26 to address compliance, transparency and market mechanisms among others. Marie-Claire presented her work in an online public Leverhulme Lecture hosted in Cambridge in December 2021, and in a new policy brief on Climate law and public policy innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals published by the Bennett Institute, which is leading to a new volume with Routledge in 2023.  

Her role as international expert rapporteur supported the new International Law Association Kyoto Guidelines on the Role of Sustainable Natural Resources Management for Development, as highlighted in an online public Leverhulme Lecture in Cambridge in March 2021, and the related policy brief published by the Bennett Institute, which is shaping a new book for Wolters Kluwer in 2024.  

The Award also recognised her contributions, while at the Bennett Institute, for leading global sustainable development career mentorship online workshops for young women, and hosting skill-sharing seminars on ‘speaking truth to power’ – how to provide research findings and inform law and policy processes.  

Her scholarly publications, advanced during her first two years at the Bennett Institute, include the second edition of her textbook Sustainable Development Law (Oxford University Press); and also, as a culmination of many years of research highlighted in her online public Leverhulme Lecture in June 2021 and a policy brief, as well as in Athena’s Treaties: Crafting Trade and Investment Accords for Sustainable Development (Oxford University Press), which built on her ideas shared in Sustainable Development in World Investment Law (Wolters Kluwer) and Sustainable Development in World Trade Law (Kluwer). Professor Cordonier Segger is also laureate of the HE Judge CG Weeramantry International Justice Award, the Justitia Regnorum Fundamentum Prize and other international awards.

Said Royal Society of Canada President Jeremy McNeil on the announcement of the Awards: “The Royal Society of Canada is delighted to welcome this outstanding cohort of artists, scholars and scientists. These individuals are recognised for their exceptional contributions to their respective disciplines and are a real credit to Canada.”

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