IMEL, in collaboration with Hasselt University, was proud to jointly launch, in June 2023, the DIOS Global Minds Research Project: SDG Governance. Together with the project's co-lead, Matteo Femeglia, Assistant Professor in International and European Environmental Law and Post-Doctoral Assistant at Hasselt University's Faculty of Law, IMEL's Melanie Murcott, Associate Professor of Environmental Law, co-organized an exciting hybrid seminar at Hasselt University, Belgium for the launch.
The project, SDG Governance, proceeds from the premise that effective governance systems are key to addressing the global threat of climate change while ensuring equality and justice across the society. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for governance systems that embrace ecological integrity, sustainability and human rights as pillars of their core functioning and development before 2030. Furthermore, the global nature of the SDGs calls for sharing of knowledge and capacity-building across localities and Regions around the globe. The uneven distribution of climate change impacts based on differentiated vulnerabilities urges comparative knowledge development to prompt effective responses in the Global South as well as in the Global North. Yet, South-North collaboration to facilitate comparative legal analysis and knowledge exchange is limited, giving rise to a knowledge gap. The project aims to contribute to bridging this knowledge gap by engaging in a comparative legal analysis of the key climate governance instruments and institutional structures of Belgium and South Africa. To this end, it will address specific legal and institutional issues, such as: the protection of human rights, access to information and access to justice, distributional impacts of climate policies across national territories and various vulnerable groups.
To stimulate interest in the project, and provoke new insights, a keynote was delivered at the project launch by Professor Louis Kotzé, North-West University, who spoke on 'Assessing the Transformative Potential of the SDGs - Old Wine in New Bottles?'. A roundtable then took place on 'Climate governance and SDG implementation in Europe and South Africa', which included Melanie, Matteo as well as Carole Billiet, Professor of Environmental Law and the Head of the Environmental Law Unit at Hasselt University, and Lindlyn Moma, PhD candidate at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. Watch this space to learn more about the project as it evolves as a result of collaboration between Hasselt University and IMEL, UCT!