Global Climate Law and Governance Legal Essay Competition


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2017 Global Climate Law and Governance Essay Competition is held by the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law, the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge, the Faculty of Law University of Nairobi, the CR2 at the University of Chile, the Ateneo School of Governance in Manila and others, and is supported by the partners of Climate Law and Governance Day (CLGD) 2017.

In line with the themes of CLGD 2017, submissions addressing one of the following guiding questions and (non-exhaustive) proposed topics will be considered:

1.      How can legal tools and multi-level instruments be leveraged to implement the Paris Agreement and NDCs?

Essays in this category may explore how innovative multi-level and multi-sectoral climate mitigation and adaptation instruments can help to create synergies within and across sectors, or consider how to build capacity amongst legislators and policymakers

2.      What are the challenges and opportunities in operationalising the Paris Agreement?

Essays in this category may focus on the Paris Rulebook, including transparency and compliance mechanisms, loss and damage and market mechanisms, the role of carbon pricing and trade regulation, and other relevant issues

3.      What is the role of law and governance in advancing climate resilience and climate justice?

Essays in this category may consider the role of civil society and the legal community, including courts and legal professionals, in accelerating climate action, enhancing transparency and ensuring accountability, integrating human rights into climate actions, advancing the Warsaw international mechanism on loss and damage and ensuring adequate finance for loss and damage, creating adequate insurance mechanisms, or addressing climate migration

4.      What legal frameworks will enable climate finance, engage the private sector, and promote climate-friendly trade?

Essays in this category may examine the legal tools and obstacles that promote or inhibit the sustainable finance, investment, and trade flows needed to implement NDCs and the Paris Agreement; essays may focus on issues surrounding fossil fuel subsidies and conflicts or differences between international regimes in the areas of public and private international law, international trade law, investment law, and climate law

Eligibility and requirements:

The legal essay competition is open to students of law and related fields at the undergraduate and graduate level, from all regions of the world. Students from least developed countries are especially encouraged to apply.

Essays should be 6,000 to 10,000 words in length (excluding footnotes) and should use a consistent legal citation style. We encourage the use of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, but the choice of legal citation style will not influence essay judging. An abstract and a table of contents are recommended. Submissions can be made in English or French.

How to participate:

Please send entries, along with a 200 word biography, to the 'Climate Essay International Jury' to <[email protected]> by 5pm EST15th of October 2017.

Entries will be considered on a rolling basis, so candidates for the award are warmly encouraged to send their applications early.


A variety of international gold, silver, and bronze award-winning entries will be announced in a special awards ceremony at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (CoP23) in Bonn, Germany, and will be published internationally by the CISDL in 2018. The best entries will also receive a cash prize between $500 - $200 CAD. Award winners will also be invited to submit their essays to the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law for possible publication.

Applicants should indicate whether they will be present in Bonn during CoP23. All successful essay contest finalists will be invited to prepare a brief oral argument for a special moot competition during Climate Law and Governance Day 2017, held on the 10th of November in Bonn. The moot will be judged by a high-level panel. A hypothetical climate litigation fact pattern will be provided in advance.   ‎

For further details about Climate Law and Governance Day and last year’s essay competition, please visit:

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