Home / News & Speeches / ICC to host groundbreaking event on arbitrating climate disputes

The landmark Paris Climate Conference starts in less than one week’s time with the aim of agreeing on a new global treaty to tackle climate change.

The United Nations (UN) conference, known as COP21, has been billed as one of the most important environmental, political and economic events in a generation.

ICC COP21

A novel international accord

Based on the current negotiating text, COP21 will likely produce a highly novel form of international agreement comprising both national and international measures, together with commitments from “non-state actors”-namely businesses and local governments. One of the greatest challenges for the negotiators is to persuade stakeholders that this new architecture will be binding and enforceable beyond COP21.

This so-called “enforcement gap” is an issue that is likely to dominate debate following the conclusion of the COP21 talks. There are currently question marks as to whether this problem can be addressed by national or international courts. However, international arbitration-which has been used over the last 100 years to resolve some of the most important disputes of our time-may offer a ready-made solution.

We believe arbitration has an important role to play under the anticipated COP21 agreement. ICC stands ready to work with both businesses and governments to ensure that international arbitration can fully support global efforts to meet the climate challenge.

The role of arbitration post-COP21 – 7 December

Relatively little attention has been paid to the role that arbitration might play in meeting the climate challenge following COP21. ICC-as the lead business organization for the UN Climate talks-is pleased to host a full-day conference on 7 December to explore the possible use of international arbitration and ADR mechanisms to resolve climate change related disputes.

The event will also explore the potential of arbitration to help implement and enforce emerging international sustainability principles, standards and commitments-which have a key role to play in promoting sustainable development across a broad range of industry sectors.

Commenting on the forthcoming event, President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration Alexis Mourre said: “Arbitration has been shown to be an effective mechanism to resolve a broad spectrum of commercial, diplomatic and political disputes. We believe arbitration has an important role to play under the anticipated COP21 agreement. ICC stands ready to work with both businesses and governments to ensure that international arbitration can fully support global efforts to meet the climate challenge.”

The event-held at ICC global headquarters in Paris-will feature presentations from leading legal practitioners including: Nicola Bonucci, General Counsel, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; James Bacchus, Partner, Greenberg Traurig; John H Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment; Judith Levine, Senior Legal Counsel, Permanent Court of Arbitration; Wendy Miles, QC Partner, Boies Schiller & Flexner; and  Michael Gerrard, Sabin Centre for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School.

Useful links

To learn more about ICC events during COP21, visit our new website http://cop21.iccwbo.org

Follow @iccwbo at the COP21 conference

For further information, please contact

  • Andreia FURTADO
  • + 33 (0)1 49 53 30 72
  • Coordinator, Media Relations and Web