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Global Governance Regimes and the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

November 18, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

How can treaty regimes and international law facilitate the implementation of global governance mechanisms? How can treaty regimes and international law hinder the successful implementation of global governance mechanisms? The answers to these questions are unknown although the international community has devoted many resources – political, legal and economic – to global governance mechanisms. For example, at the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Summit – at which the implementation of the SDGs was planned – over 240 statements regarding the future of global governance were offered by United Nations member states. This included a full range of states, from developed states to developing states to Small Island Developing States that are faced with imminent peril due to the effects of climate change. Additionally, the impacts of the SDGs are visible in the preparatory work for and text of the 2016 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Yet it remains to be seen whether these efforts to create and endorse a significant global governance mechanism will be effective within existing treaty regimes and international law tenets. In order for global governance mechanisms to be meaningfully implemented, it is necessary to understand the interplay between global governance mechanisms, treaty regimes and international law. The presentation will discuss methods through which international law and its associated innovative global governance mechanisms – such as those found in treaty regimes and their domestic authorities/stakeholders – can strengthen, foster and scale up the impacts of treaty regimes and international law on the ability to implement global governance mechanisms. By way of a modern, concrete example, the presentation will examine these questions through a general lens and through the lens of the SDGs.

About the speaker

Dr. Alexandra R. Harrington is Fulbright Canada Special Foundation Fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada and Research Director and Lead Counsel for Peace, Justice and Accountability with the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law. She was the 2018 – 2019 the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Global Governance, based at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and holds a doctoral degree in law from McGill University Faculty of Law. Dr. Harrington is the author of the book International Organizations and the Law and the forthcoming International Law and Global Governance: Treaty Regimes and Sustainable Development Goals Interpretation. She is the Director of Studies for the International Law Association Colombian branch, a member of the International Law Association Committee on the Role of International Law in Sustainable Natural Resource Management for Development, and an adjunct professor at Albany Law School. She also guest lectures globally on topics related to international law, environmental law, global governance and sustainable development. Dr. Harrington has served as a consultant for entities such as the Commission for Environmental Cooperation of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation and the UNEP. Dr. Harrington’s publications address a variety of fields relating to international law, including international organizations, governance issues, environmental law, legal issues relating to climate change, international child’s rights, natural resources regulation, international human rights law, international trade law, corporate social responsibility, and criminal law.


November 18, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


In Person
Balsillie School of International Affairs, 67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON N2L 6C2 Canada
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(226) 772-3001
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