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Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger granted the Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship award

A prestigious international award – the Leverhulme Visiting Professorship –  has been granted to Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger of the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED), Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, by the University of Cambridge to visit the UK and inspire new law and policy research, teaching and dialogue on climate change and sustainability over the coming two years.  

Countries have committed to deliver 17 ambitious global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ranging from SDG 1 (no poverty) to SDG 13 (climate action), to SDG 15 (life on land), to SDG 16 (peace, justice and good governance) among others, on all levels by 2030. However, the world is in a climate emergency, and significant gaps remain between the ambitious international law/policy targets of the SDGs and the capacity of law and policy makers, academics and graduates destined for the public and private sector to deliver, across Canada, the UK and globally. 

This prestigious Leverhulme Visiting Professorship, awarded by the University of Cambridge to Prof Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, bridges the gap. It invites an “outstanding, eminent international professor” with global expertise in law and governance solutions to climate change and sustainable development, from the University of Waterloo and the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) in Canada, to spend several months over the course of the coming two years delivering a series of high profile lectures at the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, London School of Economics (LSE) and others, and enhancing knowledge on climate change and the SDGs.

The award is one of the first Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorships to be won for women at the University of Cambridge, and very rare to be granted in the social sciences. Professor Cordonier Segger was nominated by the University of Cambridge, and is hosted by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy in collaboration with colleagues from Law, Land Economy and other departments.

Prof Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger said: "It is a brilliant honour to be granted this outstanding opportunity to foster research and debate on law and policy responses to climate change, and potential sustainable development solutions, in the University of Cambridge and across the UK. Climate change is the justice challenge of our century. Greater ambition is desperately needed, globally, across all sectors and disciplines, to respond to the current climate emergency and deliver on the world's Sustainable Development Goals. Through this Visiting Professorship, I look forward to advancing new research partnerships and public policy dialogue, and to helping a new generation of graduates and colleagues to strengthen knowledge and skills needed to address this crucial threat to humanity and all species."

The Laureate: A world leader in the field of climate change and sustainable development law and policy

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 climate change and 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 Fellow of the Balsillie School of International Affairs in the University of Waterloo, Canada. Also serving as Senior Director of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) and Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) CoP25 Climate Law and Governance Initiative, she lectures globally on the SDGs, serves 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, and 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 UNFCCC Paris Agreement and the global Sustainable Development Goals. In the past, she 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. She helped to found the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) of Canada, which is chaired by Professor Jean Andrey, Dean of the Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo.

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