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Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance

Image Description: Professor Laura Diaz Anadon, Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger and Dr Markus Gehring leading a supervision session on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Biosphere for University of Cambridge students who served as inaugural learners and assisted in co-developing the courses.

Humanity is grappling with multiple converging crises that both individually and collectively threaten global well-being, including anthropogenic climate change and its accompanying exacerbated extreme weather events and natural disasters; the increasing rate of biodiversity loss and the approximately 1 million animal and plant species currently threatened with extinction; and the increasing global poverty rate.

These global challenges not only impede current progress but also threaten to undermine decades of sustainable development and hinder the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. While recent international agreements, frameworks and treaties such as the 2015 Paris Agreement, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the UN System of Environmental Economic Accounting have been adopted or established to address these challenges on the international level, there is a lack of trained law and policy specialists to implement these treaties at the regional, national and local levels. To bridge this capacity chasm, several University of Cambridge and international organisations partnered earlier this year, supported by a generous gift from Dr Gabrielle Bacon, to launch the 'Democratising Education for Global Sustainability and Justice' programme.

The programme aims to democratise education on sustainable development law and policy, bridging the current ‘capacity chasm’ by developing new short online courses for current and future law and policy leaders around the world, and by convening and supporting global engagement and communities of practice to advance the global Sustainable Development Goals, worldwide. The first four online short courses help learners to advance the implementation of crucial international agreements address global sustainability challenges, include:

•    Key Essentials: The Sustainable Development Goals and the Law
•    Key Essentials: The Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development and the Law
•    Key Essentials: The Global Biodiversity Framework, Sustainable Development and the Law
•    Key Essentials: The Wealth Economy, Sustainable Development and the Law

Each short course provides six modules of recorded instruction featuring experts in their fields, carefully curated open-access resources, PowerPoint summaries of key materials and brief assessments. Through live sessions, learners meet experts and course instructors and have the opportunity to engage with fellow members of their cohort.

Images Description: (From left to right) Lydia Young, Surya Sathujoda and Adv Nada Gadalla leading breakout discussions with their peers during the live sessions of the pilot courses.

More than 2,012 individuals from 112 countries around the world expressed interest in piloting the courses. After a thorough selection process, the Programme Committee was delighted to select over 540 future and current law and policy leaders as pilot learners to help develop and improve initial versions of the first four online courses. These pilot learners are offering comprehensive feedback on the courses, providing helpful insights and feedback that is being carefully incorporated before the inaugural run.

The Programme Committee, under the leadership of the Programme Director, Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Visiting Chair in Sustainable Development Law and Policy at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of the Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG), with the excellent advice and guidance of Professor Laura Diaz Anadon, Director of C-EENRG and Professor of Climate Change Policy in the Department of Land Economy; Professor Jorge Viñuales, Founder and Former Director of C-EENRG and the Harold Samuel Professor of Law and Environmental Policy in the Department of Land Economy; and Dr Markus Gehring, Founding Fellow of C-EENRG and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law, is shaping and strengthening capacity to address global sustainability challenges, worldwide, through these efforts.

Image description: Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger leading a supervision session on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Biosphere in the gardens of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law.

To learn more about the programme or the courses, Professor Cordonier Segger is available for interviews and expert advice, arranged through the Chair’s Assistant Editor and Research Coordinator Tejas Rao at