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25th April 2012, 12:10pm
Head of Law School addresses diplomats at United Nations HQ
The United Nations Headquarters in New York The Head of the Lincoln Law School was invited to offer his expertise at a special meeting of diplomats held at the United Nations' Headquarters in New York.

Professor Duncan French joined legal experts and diplomats from more than 100 countries, as well as many international organisations, at a workshop exploring the contribution of international law to sustainable development and the green economy.

The event, held in the UN building in Manhattan on 20 April, was sponsored by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO). It was organised in preparation for this summer's major UN Conference on Sustainable Development, which takes place 20 years after the landmark 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development. It was at the 1992 conference that the international community adopted the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions and embraced the concept of sustainable development through its 'Agenda 21' plan of action.

The New York workshop gave delegates an opportunity to consider the progress made so far by law and legal institutions to the global pursuit of sustainable development and how this might be developed further. The outcomes of the workshop will feed directly into the current negotiations leading up to this summer's conference.

Professor French, Head of the Lincoln Law School at the University of Lincoln and rapporteur of the International Law Association Committee on International Law on Sustainable Development, spoke about the contribution of the International Court of Justice and other international legal tribunals to the concept of sustainable development over the past 20 years.

He said: "The contribution of international case-law is often missed in the discussion of international policy and international treaties in promoting environmental protection and economic development, but these cases play a significant role.
"Recent disputes, such as that involving Uruguay and Argentina over their common freshwater resources before the International Court, and on governance of the deep seabed before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, show the value of the rule of law in resolving complex socio-economic and environmental matters."

Professor French joined the University of Lincoln as Head of the Lincoln Law School earlier this year. He was previously Professor of International Law and Deputy Head of the School of Law at the University of Sheffield. His principal research interests are public international law, international environmental law, the international legal implications of sustainable development and legal aspects of international monetary, trade and investment regimes. He also has an interest in the law of the sea, Antarctica, the interaction between EU and international law, and international dispute settlement.

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