Conference "SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL LAW CURRENT ISSUES AND FUTURE CHALLENGES" on 19 Oct [fr]

Co-organized by Consulate General of France in Hong Kong & Macau, Center for Financial Regulation and Economic Development (CFRED) of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the faculty of law of CUHK, the seminar “Sustainable Development and International Law Current Issues and Future Challenges” took place on 19 October 2015 at the faculty of law of CUHK in Central. This seminar was held by renowned international speakers.

The seminar was divided into four sessions: (i) Scientific research and the Sustainable Development Goals, (ii) Exploring the legal challenges behind the Paris Climate 2015 Agreement, (iii) Sustainable Development Challenges in HK and China, (iv) International Policy and Law on Sustainable Development

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The seminar started with the opening speeches of Prof. Christopher Gane (Dean of the faculty of law of CUHK), Mrs Lilas Bernheim (Deputy Consul General) and Prof. Julien Chaisse (Director of CFRED). Mrs. Bernheim stated the goals of COP21 which one of them is to limit global warming to a 2°C rise in average global temperatures by 2100. She also highlighted the role of France and its diplomatic network in these challenges.

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After the opening speeches, Mr. Romain Troublé, secretary general of Tara Expedition, and Dr. Chris Bowler, scientific director of Tara Oceans Polar Circle, talked about the diverse missions of Tara Expedition. Among these missions, the most successful one is the study about planktons from 2009 to 2013. Thanks to the diversity of microorganisms which were studied, a biological ocean condition can be drawn up. By discovering new species, the largest genetic catalogue in the world was created. The discovery could lead to great technological progress with medicines and bio-fuels. The first results of this scientific research have been published in the magazine “Science” of 15 May 2015. However, Dr. Bowler emphasized the threat posed to the Ocean, which could provide interesting sustainable solutions in terms of renewable energies.

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In addition, Mr. Troublé gave an overview of international law and regional governance regarding the ocean by reminding especially the related projects of the UN. The speaker pointed out the significance of promoting ocean scientific research so as to reduce marine pollution.

The second session of the seminar was composed of three presentations. The first one, which was entitled “The Legal Challenges of Climate Change Negotiations and the Upcoming UN Summit COP21 “, was presented by Mr. Vivian Desmonts, partner of DS Avocats in Guangzhou. Mr. Desmonts explained legal, political and economic challenges of COP21, as well as the positive and the negative side of energy bonus-penalty system. During his presentation, the legal importance and the role of the civil society were emphasized. He also raised the problem of climate refugees and its impact on national and international law regulations.

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Mr. Bryan Mercuiro, professor de the faculty of law of CUHK, began his presentation “Trade, Intellectual Property Rights and Sustainable Development” with three questions: What are intellectual property rights (IPRs) and why do we grant them? How do IPRs relate to sustainable development? According to Prof. Mercuiro, “intelligent” patents should be created so that the world economy can take advantage of sustainable technology. He also pointed out the advantages and disadvantages of existing patent in terms of sustainable technology, as well as legal and economic regulation which he suggested in order to increase financial and social benefices.
Professor Bryan Druzin from the faculty of law of CUHK emphasized the rules which reinforce sustainable development are fragile during his presentation “The Fragility of the Norms that Underpin Sustainable Development”. According to him, the emergence of the rules in terms of sustainable development is hindered by the competition of particular interests.

Chaired by Anne Denis-Blanchardon, Consul (Culture, Education & Science) of Consulate General of France in Hong Kong & Macau, the third part of the seminar consisted of three presentations.

Ms. Jeanne Ng, director of Group Sustainability » de CLP Power Ltd, talked about the challenges of the companies in the field of energy. These challenges are competitiveness of energy, green energy, exhaustion of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emission. She also mentioned the necessity of keeping energy cost at a low level.

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Professor Mimi Zou from the faculty of law of CUHK, made a presentation called “The Role of Labour Law in China’s Path to Sustainable Economic and Social Development “. According to her, the economic reforms aiming to generate sustainable growth, will transform the labour market in China. The examples of this transformation are the spread of collective bargaining and collective agreement. In conclusion, she explained that the regulatory and institutional developments, which were carried out to improve the quality of the process of collective negotiations will lead to social and industrial harmony.

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The presentation made by Prof. Fernando Dias Simoes from University of Macao was entitled The Role of Consumer Protection in Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. It reviewed sustainable development and consummation of individuals. According to him, individuals play an essential role as citizen and consumer. He mentioned the way how to influence consummation of individuals towards a well thought-out consummation. The professor also illustrated the dilemma between the rise of Chinese middle class and the sudden awareness of environmental development.

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Ms. Mayling Chan, director of the international program of Oxfam Hong Kong, started the last session “International Policy and Law on Sustainable Development” by her presentation “Cross-border Investment and Sustainable Development : From the Perspective of international Development Organisation”. She mentioned agribusiness and regulations of agricultural investment by Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The strategies, which have been implemented by non-governmental organizations to protect farmers in developing counties, were presented, such as Oxfam HK which works with farmer in Laos. She also talked about the new projects of Oxfam HK which engage small and medium enterprises in increasing their awareness of climate change.

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Professor Mark Feldman from School of Transnational Law of Peking University, made a presentation called “Environmental Regulation, Sustainable Development, and Investment Treaties: The NAFTA Experience “. Texts about environmental protection in the North American Free Trade Agreement were analyzed. The professor quoted a few awards of disputes between countries and companies to explain how treaties could assist in applying rules about sustainable development.
The law professor at CUHK, Julien Chaisse, finished the session with his presentation “Environmental Concerns related to Investment Activity”. He analysed the relationship between foreign investment and sustainable development. He also cited the disputes between countries and companies regarding bilateral and multilateral treaties. In addition, he pointed out that more and more references to environment have been included in international treaties of investment. He also talked about some perspectives of COP21.

Pour conclure la journée, le professeur Julien Chaisse a exprimé son opinion sur la nécessité d’améliorer les démarches juridiques et les traités sur les investissements internationaux afin de les orienter vers une démarche de développement durable.

To finish the seminar, Prof Chaisse expressed his opinion about the necessity to improve the legal processes and treaties of international investments so as to direct them towards a process of sustainable development.

publié le 12/11/2015

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