David W. Rivkin Asserts Arbitration and ADR will Play a Critical Role in Climate Change and Sustainability at COP 21

7 December 2015

David W. Rivkin, Co-Chair of the International Dispute Resolution Group at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and President of the International Bar Association (IBA), delivered an address today asserting that arbitration and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms will play a critical role in encouraging business and government commitments on climate change and sustainability by providing an effective mechanism to resolve disputes.

At a forum convened during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 21), where world leaders are working to achieve a universal agreement to keep global warming below 2°C – Mr. Rivkin told delegates that: “international arbitration should play a critical role in developing the legal framework of the post COP 21 world.”

Held by the IBA, in association with the ICC International Court of Arbitration, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, the forum is bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders – including international arbitrators, environment and climate change experts, in-house counsel, government officials and environmental compliance officers in corporations – to explore the role for arbitration and ADR in enforcing commitments made by the state parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations.

In his keynote address, Mr. Rivkin emphasized the importance of accessible and enforceable dispute resolution mechanism frameworks in the context of the ground-breaking report, Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption, issued last year by the IBA Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights. The report has advanced the debate on corporations’ responsibilities to mitigate and adapt to climate change, spotlighted linkages between human rights and climate change, and made more than 50 separate recommendations for business, governments and civil society. Mr. Rivkin has encouraged the IBA’s committees to work on implementing these recommendations.

Mr. Rivkin concluded that: “[t]here is huge potential to consider how the existing use of international arbitration and ADR mechanisms in resolving climate change-related disputes may be advanced and expanded, both in the context of contractual obligations and treaty mechanisms.”

To read the full text of Mr. Rivkin’s remarks, please click here. For Mr. Rivkin’s video message on Climate Change Justice, please click here.

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