Democratising Education for
Global Sustainability and Justice

Democratising Education for Global Sustainability and Justice

Global Challenges

The world is currently facing a set of interrelated and converging crises that threaten the stability and sustainability of human societies and have already begun undermining decades of progress on sustainable development. As human-induced climate change causes global temperatures to rise, the world has already begun to experience more frequent and severe natural disasters, including heatwaves, flooding, droughts, tropical storms and wildfires.
These extreme weather events are displacing communities, destroying homes and infrastructure, and threatening food security. The effects of climate change, coupled with pollution and habitat destruction, are also leading to an unprecedented rate of biodiversity loss, which is not only a tragedy in itself but also undermines the functioning of ecosystems that support human well-being.

Biodiversity Loss

As the world is still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, these crises are further exacerbated by economic issues such as inequality, poverty, and the unsustainable use of resources, which in turn create social tensions jeopardizing peace and contributing to armed conflict and human rights abuses.

These crises are all interconnected and require urgent action to ensure a sustainable future for humanity.

International Commitments​​

Countries around the world have recognized the urgent need to address the converging crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and poverty, and have made commitments to tackle these challenges through international treaties and agreements. The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, adopted in 2022, which seeks to conserve biodiversity, promote sustainable use of natural resources, and ensure equitable sharing of benefits derived from genetic resources. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015 by all United Nations Member States, included 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which call for urgent action by all countries to end poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequalities and promote economic growth, while addressing climate change and protecting the environment. 

These commitments, along with many other international agreements, are crucial for achieving a sustainable future, and countries must continue to work together to implement them effectively.

Capacity

However, implementation of these agreements and countries’ corresponding commitments under them remains a critical challenge and effective, accountable national and international law on sustainable development has never been more important. 

Of the 80,000 individual lawyers and 190 bar associations and law societies in the world, only a few offer a committee on sustainable development law, and of these, most were founded in the last five years. Across the lowest income countries represented in international judicial training networks, very few offer courses on dispute resolution related to global sustainability challenges, and even fewer focus on the contributions of courts to implementing their country’s treaty obligations in relation to sustainable development. Among the world’s public service schools in over one hundred countries, very few offer courses for government officials on implementing their country’s sustainability related treaties, or advancing the global Sustainable Development Goals through policy innovation. Across the world’s forty most highly climate vulnerable, low-income countries, few have their own university law school, and even fewer of these offer legal or public administration courses for the students – as the next generation of law and policy leaders – on global sustainability challenges and solutions.

Compliance

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Capacity

However, implementation of these agreements and countries’ corresponding commitments under them remains a critical challenge and effective, accountable national and international law on sustainable development has never been more important. 

Of the 80,000 individual lawyers and 190 bar associations and law societies in the world, only a few offer a committee on sustainable development law, and of these, most were founded in the last five years. Across the lowest income countries represented in international judicial training networks, very few offer courses on dispute resolution related to global sustainability challenges, and even fewer focus on the contributions of courts to implementing their country’s treaty obligations in relation to sustainable development. Among the world’s public service schools in over one hundred countries, very few offer courses for government officials on implementing their country’s sustainability related treaties, or advancing the global Sustainable Development Goals through policy innovation. Across the world’s forty most highly climate vulnerable, low-income countries, few have their own university law school, and even fewer of these offer legal or public administration courses for the students – as the next generation of law and policy leaders – on global sustainability challenges and solutions.

This programme aims to bridge this capacity chasm by making world-class online courses on sustainable development law and policy accessible to current and future law and policy leaders around the world.