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Prof. Benjamin Appointed to UN Climate Change Committee

March 19, 2019

  • Professor Lisa Benjamin

Professor Lisa Benjamin, the newest faculty member of Lewis & Clark Law School’s Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law Program, has been appointed to be a member of the Compliance Committee of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), for a three-year term from 2019-2021.

A globally recognized expert and scholar in energy, climate change, corporate law, and the intersections between them, Dr. Benjamin was nominated by the Latin American and Caribbean region at the Conference of the Parties meeting in December 2018.

The Compliance Committee was established under the Kyoto Protocol with two branches: a facilitative branch and an enforcement branch.  Dr. Benjamin will serve as a member of the facilitative branch, charged with providing advice and assistance to parties in an effort to promote compliance. The enforcement branch is responsible for determining the consequences for parties that fail to meet their commitments.

“With its two branches, it is one of the most comprehensive compliance systems ever agreed to under a multilateral environmental agreement,” Benjamin said. “Serving on the facilitative branch provides direct insight into parties’ efforts under the Kyoto Protocol, as well as the complex machinery of the UNFCCC reporting system. It also provides an excellent opportunity for me to work closely with other compliance committee members from around the world, as well as with technical experts who review party submissions.”

Parties to the Protocol nominate 10 members to serve for a fixed term. Parties make their nominations from each of the five official regions recognized by the United Nations, Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe and Others, as well as one member from small island developing states, and two members each from  ‘Annex I parties’ under the Protocol (effectively developed country parties) and ‘non-Annex I parties’ (effectively developing country parties).

The committee also meets in a plenary composed of members of both branches and a bureau – made up of the chairperson and vice-chairperson of each branch – supports its work. Decisions of the plenary and the facilitative branch may be taken by a three-quarters majority, while decisions of the enforcement branch require, in addition, a double majority of both Annex I and non-Annex I Parties.

“We welcome Professor Benjamin’s participation in this global body, giving her the opportunity to directly influence the direction of global climate change policy,” said Dean Jennifer Johnson. “Her experiences there will be uniquely valuable to our students, as they consider how to make an impact on world events with their career paths.” Dr. Benjamin will join the Lewis & Clark faculty in fall 2019.

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