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Written on 19 Mar 2021

UK launch of the ILA Guidelines on the Role of International Law in Sustainable Natural Resources Management for Development

As scientific knowledge advances and the interdependence of natural systems is better understood, the challenges for international law are intensified by the need to provide more coherent, effective and cooperative regimes for sustainable management of natural resources of global importance.

New Guidelines on the Role of International Law in Sustainable Management of Natural Resources for Development (ILA Guidelines) were officially launched on 17 March 2021, in the UK, during the Leverhulme Lecture and Distinguished Experts Dialogue, hosted by the University of Cambridge, in partnership with the International Law Association, the Leverhulme Trust and the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

In his welcome, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Stephen Toope, highlighted the relevance of critically discussing the roles of international law, public policy and civil society on the sustainable management of our natural resources, particularly in the current global landscape; human and natural systems are under heavy strain from climate change and biodiversity loss, while global inequalities have been exposed and cruelly exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.        

Professor Diane Coyle, Inaugural Professor of Public Policy, introduced the evening’s Lecture presented by Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor, University of Cambridge.

Professor Cordonier Segger focussed on the ILA Guidelines framework and the complex, inter-linked ‘wicked problems’ of climate change, drought and hunger, natural resources mismanagement, terrestrial and marine ecosystems degradation and rising global poverty and injustice. She also considered how international law can foster more sustainable management of the world’s fragile resources, advancing new directions for research, education and practice in this field.

The Lecture was followed by a Distinguished Experts Dialogue, composed of expert panelists including international jurists and academics, and renowned natural resources management and public policy experts, who shared insights and identified new directions for natural resources management and the global Sustainable Development Goals, guided by international law and policy. 

The event ended with remarks from Judge Tomas Heidar, vice-president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, who welcomed the adoption of the ILA Guidelines as a holistic and integrative tool which highlights the importance of the legal regime for the future protection and sustainable management of the world’s natural resources.