Volume 16:1 (2020)


Volume 16:1 Introductory Material (Coming Soon!)

MJSDL & Kimia Towfigh

Here, readers can find useful information concerning the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law, including its Editorial, Management, and Advisory Boards. The MJSDL is a student-run, peer-reviewed, bi-annual academic journal mandated to provide a forum for critical analysis on the intersecting themes of economics, society, human rights, and the environment, and the resulting implications for sustainable development law. The MJSDL is affiliated with the Faculty of Law at McGill University and is fully bilingual. Our 2019-2020 Editor in Chief, Kimia Towfigh, provides an editorial note introducing this volume's topic, "Climate Change and Human Rights".

Book Review— Curriculum Design for the Anthropocene: Review of Meinhard Doelle & Chris Tollefson, Environmental Law: Cases and Materials, Third Edition

Jason MacLean

The Anthropocene poses a fundamental challenge to the traditional approaches of environmental law, policy, and governance. The rapid maturation of new and innovative ways of studying climate change and sustainability – including the planetary boundaries framework, socio-ecological systems modelling, and the transdisciplinary imagination of "good anthropocenes” – calls into question the relevance of monodisciplinary, statist, static, and siloed understandings of environmental law. In this article, Professor MacLean draws out the Anthropocene’s implications for environmental law by critically assessing the third edition of Canada's leading environmental law casebook, Environmental Law: Cases and Materials, written and edited by Meinhard Doelle and Chris Tollefson. He argues that the shortcomings of this otherwise impressive text reflect the limitations of traditional environmental law scholarship and pedagogy more generally, particularly its insufficient attention to Earth-system dynamics, the underrepresentation of society's most marginal members, an uncritical acceptance of the neoliberal norm of perpetual economic growth, and the failure to advance our understanding of how to rapidly enact and implement transformative laws and policies capable of enhancing socio-ecological resilience and sustainability. The piece concludes by sketching a new approach that integrates teaching and research and imagines what it might mean to think like an Anthropocene lawyer.

Feature—  From the 2015 European “Migration Crisis” to the 2018 Global Compact for Migration: A Political Transition Short on Legal Standards

Jean-Yves Carlier, François Crépeau, Anna Purkey

The “European migration crisis” is the culmination of a series of failed attempts to elaborate a comprehensive European immigration policy beyond repression of undocumented migrants and border closures. This article outlines the causes of the “crisis” and the general resistance of courts to the repressive impulse of European executives, as well as suggest that the 2018 United Nations Global Compact on Migration offers a conceptual framework that indicates a “way forward” for All States, including EU Member States. By highlighting the legal underpinnings behind migration, this piece illustrates the “European migration crisis” through the eyes of the modern human rights practitioner. If anything, the European migration crisis demonstrates that human mobility cannot be met by repression only- instead, legalising, regulating and taxing mobility must be part of the solution framework.

Feature—Recalibration of the Sustainable Development Agenda: Insights from the Conflict in Yemen

Alexander Agnello & Nandini Ramanujam

Fragility and conflict are responsible for eighty percent of humanitarian need assistance. Many countries amidst conflict and violence have seen erosion to development gains made before and during the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Against this distressing reality, we propose a working framework for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS) – by illustrating the case of Yemen. United Nations agencies continue to make the inflexible claim that the implementation of the SDG Agenda should be guided by the principles of indivisibility and universality. The principle of indivisibility demands that the Goals be implemented in a holistic, non-selective manner, while the principle of universality demands that they be implemented in full. This article demonstrates why the demands of indivisibility and universality fall short as a guide for SDG implementation in Yemen and in other FCAS. It then proposes a working framework that steps away from the principle of indivisibility to prioritize Goals that directly address the causes of, or conditions contributing to, fragility and conflict. This paper argues that achieving peace, justice and good governance through SDG 16 is a cross-cutting requirement and first-order priority for overall SDG success in Yemen, because it is crucial to making lasting progress towards the realization of the other Goals.

Challenges of Integrating SDGs in Market-Based Climate Mitigation Projects Under the Paris Agreement

Basil Ugochukwu

The first objective of this paper is to identify ways by which to integrate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in climate mitigation projects within the framework of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement (PA) to further the objective of promoting sustainable development and environmental integrity under Article 6. The second is to apply lessons learned from the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to better articulate the PA’s proposed Sustainable Development Mechanism (SDM) such that the shortcomings of the CDM are averted or at least ameliorated. The various social criticisms of the CDM warrants a re-think of the design of sustainable development parameters under the SDM. One very important concern in this regard will be how to disperse sustainable development principles across the SDM agenda. The paper suggests that in drawing up the SDM rules, it would matter to clarify the concept of sustainable development as applicable in the climate context and as a rule of thumb for mitigation and adaptation projects. The paper also recommends the assurance of equity in the distribution of sustainable development projects around the world. However, for this to happen it should be clarified whether there is a need to integrate additional equity objectives within the SDM rules beyond simply curbing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring sustainable development.


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