United Nations Update

Roxanne Hughes-Wheatland


  • Right to a Healthy Environment - On October 8, 2021 the Human Rights Council at the United Nations passed a resolution on the Right to a Healthy Environment. The text of the resolution was proposed by Costa Rica, the Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia, and Switzerland.  A second resolution was also passed and a Special Rapporteur was established that is dedicated to increasing the focus on the impact on human rights of climate change.  It is hoped that through these resolutions people around the world will see the link between climate change and human rights because in recent years several environmental defenders have been murdered (e.g., Berta Cáceres in Honduras).  More information on these resolutions can be found at the following link - https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/10/1102582#.


  • 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties 2021 - Beginning 31 October through 12 November 2021 the 26th United Nations Climate Conference of the Parties 2021 commonly referred to as COP26 will be held in Glasgow Scotland. This conference is being hosted by Great Britain in partnership with Italy.  COP26 is felt to be a momentous event because it is believed by some to be the last chance to "get runaway climate change under control."  It was in 2015 at COP21 when the Paris Agreement was developed.  As part of this agreement, a commitment was made by every country to work together to limit global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius and to actually aim for 1.5 degrees Celsius.  At COP21 there was an agreement made by each country to return every five years "with an updated plan that would reflect their highest ambition at that time." Due to the pandemic the meeting was postponed by one year and now will begin on 31 October and end on 12 November 2021. For more information about COP26 and to keep abreast of the events associated with it please check out the following links –


  • Robin Tokmakian, the LWVUS UN Observer for Climate, asked that we pass on the following information:


With this note, we would also like to invite you to a special event in Glasgow Climate Law and Governance Day, University of Glasgow and online (05 Nov 2021). CLGD 2021, with an intense programme of over 16 in person and online sessions hosted by international organizations, country delegations, foundations, law associations and firms, law faculties and many other leading climate law and governance actors, provides an important point for the global climate law and governance community to meet, share ideas and build new innovative collaborations to tackle climate change and implement the Paris Agreement across international and domestic regulation, climate litigation, legal scholarship, and commercial practice circles. 


The event also features the Climate Law and Governance Global Leadership Awards 2021 and International Climate Law and Governance Student Essay Contest 2021 Prizes on 05 November 2021, recognizing negotiators, general counsel, and distinguished practitioners, academics and civil society leaders, also outstanding students, for their contributions to the global legal response to climate change. 


With leading climate law and governance counsel, experts and practitioners preparing to join over 20,000 Party delegates and observers for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) on 01 – 12 November 2021, a unique opportunity arises to increase ambition, harness the knowledge and engagement of the climate law and governance community, share innovations and good practices, and strengthen networks and capacity for the race to net zero. In response, the Climate Law and Governance Initiative has launched this global call for partners, sponsors and session hosts for Climate Law and Governance Day 2021 and associated activities in Cambridge and Glasgow in October and November 2021, with an important online component. There are four key themes this year: 

Operationalising the Paris Agreement:

Testing Legal and Governance Tools for High Ambition Implementation: 

Advancing Climate Resilience and Climate Justice: 

Net Zero Legal Frameworks to Enable Climate Neutral Investment and Finance 

Members of your delegation and others can register for the course here. Scholarships and fee waivers are available upon request, particularly for delegates from low-income countries.  Your colleagues would also be welcome to the Official COP side-event Net Zero Climate Law & Governance - Advance Ambition & Action for Paris Agreement NAPs/NDCs & SDGs, taking place at 11.30-12.45 on 6 Nov 2021 in the Clyde Audatorium, Exhibition Way, Glasgow G3 8YW. This will be an interactive, online roundtable highlighting net zero climate law and governance innovations to strengthen ambition, markets, strategy and compliance. It will also celebrate new research and practices which help implement Paris Agreement national adaptation frameworks, nationally determined contributions and advance key sustainable development goals.  


In essence, we would be very grateful if you might post and pass on these invitations from the Climate Law and Governance Initiative, so that those in your networks who are interested can benefit several COP26 opportunities for UNFCCC Parties interested in sharing experiences and strengthening climate law and governance capacity, engaging legal advisors and others from many delegations together with legal experts, students and practitioners. This year, there options for free registration and online participation, in five main events: 

October 29– 30: Climate Change, the SDGs, and the Law: Academic Law and Policy Conference (In person in Cambridge and online). 

November 05: Climate Law and Governance Day (In person at the University of Glasgow and online) 

November 06: Net Zero Climate Law & Governance - Advance Ambition & Action for Paris Agreement NAPs/NDCs & SDGs (Official COP Side Event; Clyde Auditorium, Blue Zone) 

November 07: Climate Law and Governance Specialisation Course (In person at the University of Strathclyde and online) 

December 01: Accelerating Paris Agreement Compliance for Sustainable Development (In person at the University of Cambridge and online) 


If any of your delegates or observers would be interested in these opportunities, we would kindly ask that you forward these invitations to them, and post them more broadly. We would also be delighted to share flyers or other news of your side event, as well as other activities in Glasgow, with the CLGI network of over 5,000 senior officials, legal advisors to delegations, legal experts and professors, legal practitioners and students of law and governance related to climate change. 


We look forward to learning whether colleagues from your organization would like to participate this year, and invite you to contact us on [email protected] and [email protected] as we would be delighted to respond to any questions. 


Kind Regards,  


Ms. Sophie Quinlan  

Researcher, Climate Law and Governance Initiative 

LLM Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge  



Ms. Chantalle Byron 

Secretariat Coordinator, Climate Law and Governance Initiative 

Associate Fellow, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law 

PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge 

Laura Mettle


I grew up in Maryland, and have lived in Howard County since 1985, raising a family and working as a teacher for Howard County Public Schools.