As part of the Law Faculty’s International Justice Initiative, law students Rachel Hay, Nina Hamasaki and Kate Raffety attended the UNFCCC’s Conference of the Parties in December 2019. The International Justice Initiative is convened by UTAS law alumni Rebecca Byrnes, Brook Dambacher and Matthew Stilwell.
The conference was held in Madrid, Spain, and it involved negotiations between states, as well as side events held by non-governmental organisations, academics and states. A typical day for the students involved meeting with a convener, taking notes during a negotiation, writing a report, attending a public lecture, drafting a summary of negotiations and learning things from conveners and their contacts around the dinner table.
Nina explained how interesting it was “to see how groups of states with similar attributes would come together as a cohesive front to make it easier to negotiate terms”.
Rachel stated that a highlight of the conference was “getting to see first-hand how the things we learnt in international law and international relations play out on the international stage”.
Rachel explained that attending the negotiations revealed that “governments like Australia are not just complacent on climate change, they are actually trying to derail getting a good result for developing countries”.
The International Justice Initiative is a public interest group based in the UTAS Law Faculty which allows students to use their legal skills to provide pro-bono advice to non-governmental organisations and vulnerable countries on issues of international justice, in particular in relation to international humanitarian law and climate change law.
Students in their third year and above are encouraged to apply to be a member of the International Justice Initiative at the end of second semester. Further information and contact details: International Justice Initiative