The Scottish Arbitration Centre’s Chief Executive, Andrew Mackenzie, has attended a conference on climate change disputes in Paris during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, where some of the world’s leaders are currently working to achieve universal agreement to keep global warming below 2°C.
The Conference, ‘Climate Change Related Disputes: A Role for International Arbitration and ADR’ was held at the ICC in Paris on 7 December. The conference was hosted by IBA in association with the ICC International Court of Arbitration, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, and brought together a diverse group of stakeholders including international arbitrators, environment and climate change experts, in-house counsel, government officials, and environmental compliance officers.
In his keynote speech at the event, President of the International Bar Association, David Rivkin, emphasised the critical role that arbitration and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms will play in encouraging business and government commitments on climate change and sustainability. He said:
“There is huge potential to consider how the existing use of international arbitration and ADR mechanisms in resolving climate change related disputes may be advanced and expanded, both in the context of contractual obligations and treaty mechanisms.”
Last year, the IBA Taskforce on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights issued a report called Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption, which advanced the debate on corporations’ responsibilities to mitigate and adapt to climate change, spotlighted linkages between human rights and climate change, and made more than 50 separate recommendations for business, governments and civil society. Mr Rivkin has encouraged the IBA’s committees to work on implementing these recommendations.
Mr Mackenzie is also an Officer of the IBA’s Access to Justice Committee, and is leading that committee’s response to the implementation of the climate justice report, which involves working with the IBA Arbitration Committee. He said:
“Dispute resolution is an important element of the climate justice debate, and, in the absence of a new dedicated international court, the IBA’s report recommended arbitration for such disputes. Access to justice, particularly for those claiming to have had their human rights infringed as a result of climate change, must also be a focus. Given Scotland’s input into the debate, including the First Minister’s announcement in Paris this week, we hope Scotland will be seen as an ideal seat for such arbitrations.”