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Hybrid | CLE - COP28 De-Brief: State-of-Play and Challenges on Climate Finance and Loss & Damage

31 January 2024, 6:30 pm–8:30 pm

Image of protest sign with the writing: There is No Planet B

An event from the UCL Centre of Law and the Environment featuring two panels exploring the recent COP28 conference

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UCL Laws

COP28 De-Brief – State-of-Play and Challenges on Climate Finance and Loss & Damage

About this Event

COP28 brought an array of important decisions related to climate finance, while highlighting the challenges that remain for upcoming negotiations. An historic agreement on the operationalisation of the Loss & Damage fund and continued progress on discussions regarding the role of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) coexisted with stalemates on issues such as the New Collective Quantified Goal on Finance. The COP28 De-Brief, hosted by the UCL Centre for Law and Environment, will discuss some of these developments by bringing together theory, practice, and critique, with two panels featuring academics, public officials, practitioners, and NGOs.

There will be a short break between the two panel discussions, and the event will be followed by a drink reception.

Speakers' Biographies: Panel 1 – Climate Finance

Vesselina Haralampieva is an Associate Director and Senior Sustainability Counsel at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. She leads the energy and climate change practice area of the Office of the General Counsel’s Legal Transition Team. Vesselina is in charge of designing and implementing policy and legal reform projects in the EBRD region aimed at enabling green transition and sustainable development. She has supported national authorities in developing legislation on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the broader energy reform. Vesselina is a member of the Working Group on Climate Change to the Law Society of England and Wales and is a frequent speaker on climate finance and climate law and governance. Before joining EBRD, Vesselina worked at United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization, at the Harvard University Berkman Klein Center, and in private practice in Sofia and Washington, D.C. Vesselina is admitted to practice as a solicitor in England & Wales and as a lawyer in Bulgaria. She holds law degrees from Harvard Law School (LL.M.) and Sofia University (MA and LL.B., summa cum laude).

Alex Lombos is an Accountable Finance Lawyer at ClientEarth. His work is focused on developing and implementing legal strategies to reduce the climate impact of the banking sector and direct finance flows to a sustainable future. Alex’s remit also includes greening central bank policy and the activities of public sector financial institutions. Prior to joining ClientEarth, Alex worked in the financial litigation practice of Simmons & Simmons in London and Hong Kong. His practice focused on banking and asset management disputes and regulatory investigations.

Dr Nathan de Arriba-Sellier is the Director of the Erasmus Platform for Sustainable Value Creation at Rotterdam School of Management. Prior to his current position, Nathan was the Research Director at Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance and a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. He received a double doctoral degree from Erasmus University Rotterdam and Leiden University as a LDE fellow. His research interests cover a wide array of legal issues related to finance and the environment, particularly financial regulation, monetary policy, and green finance. In addition to his PhD, Nathan holds an LL.M in EU Law from College of Europe (Bruges) as well as an LL.M. in International and European Business Law from the University of Vienna.

Jeff Twentyman is the Honorary Professor at UCL Faculty of Laws and Senior Consultant at Slaughter and May. Jeff was a Partner at Slaughter and May, where he served as Head of the Private Equity Group and Head of Sustainability for the firm. Jeff undertakes a broad range of corporate and commercial work for both corporate and private equity clients, advising on acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures, mergers and public takeovers, flotations and equity capital markets and private equity investment. Jeff also serves as Chair to a number of initiatives related to Sustainability and Responsible Business, including in the context of the Legal Sustainability Alliance for a number of years.

Speakers' Biographies: Panel 2 - Loss & Damage

Dr Andrea Magalhães is Legal Counsel at the Brazilian Development Bank, where she works as a lead for the Amazon Fund (a REDD+ mechanism created to raise donations for non-reimbursable investments in efforts to prevent, monitor, and combat deforestation, as well as to promote the preservation and sustainable use in the Brazilian Amazon). Previously, she was an International Finance and Development Fellow at The World Bank Group, a Researcher with the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law, and a Law Clerk at the Brazilian Supreme Court. Andrea holds degrees from the University of São Paulo (PhD), New York University (LLM), and the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (MSc, LL.B.).

Monserrat Madariaga Gómez de Cuenca is a Lawyer at Legal Response International, a Climate Negotiations Advisor to the Chilean Government, and a PhD Candidate at UCL Faculty of Laws. Her research, which is supported by a scholarship from the Government of Chile, focuses on the relationship between Civil Society and Climate Change Law and Government. Monserrat holds an LLM on Environmental Law and Policy from University College of London and is a qualified lawyer in Chile. Additionally, she has professional experience working as a legal advisor for the Chilean Government and for Civil Society, and she has lectured in different Chilean universities. She currently works as research assistant for an interdisciplinary project at UCL Institute for Public Policy on Climate Change Loss and Damages, as well as human rights research with UCL Professor Philippe Sands QC.

Tejas Rao is an Adam Smith Fellow at George Mason University, a Climate Negotiations Advisor to the Bangladeshi Government, and a PhD Candidate at the University of Cambridge. Tejas’ research examines narratives and the political economy of international law-making, with a specific focus on communities of practice and the Rio Treaties. He has previously taught at SOAS, University of London, and the National Law School of India University, Bangalore and worked with members of the United Nations International Law Commission. He is also Manager at the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law. He holds an LLM from the University of Cambridge (as JN Tata Scholar), and a B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) from the Gujarat National Law University. With a cross-cutting interest across the Sustainable Development Goals, he volunteers time as Operations Co-Lead with Project EduAccess, which aims to improve the representation in higher education of marginalized communities in South Asia by providing application mentorship and guidance.

Sarah Hill-Smith is an associate at Clyde & Co, based in London. Sarah specialises in international arbitration and commercial litigation, but now works in Clyde & Co’s climate risk and resilience team where she advises clients on climate- and nature-related liabilities, risks, and opportunities. Sarah is a volunteer with Legal Response International, with whom she attended COP26 and COP28 to provide free legal advice to climate-vulnerable countries. Sarah previously worked at The Chancery Lane Project, an NGO that drafts and helps lawyers implement climate-aligned clauses in commercial contracts, and is acting Vice Chair of Legal Voices for the Future, an educative initiative upskilling junior lawyers on the climate and ecological crises through monthly learning sessions.

Chairs Biography

Dr Pedro Schilling de Carvalho is a Lecturer in Financial and Environmental Law at UCL Faculty of Laws. Prior to joining UCL, Pedro has taught and worked at the University of Cambridge, London School of Economics, and University of Edinburgh. Pedro has broad research interests in financial regulation, corporate finance, environmental law, international economic law, and international development, with a particular focus on emerging areas such as sustainable finance and blended finance. Pedro has experience advising institutions such as the Green Climate Fund and working on operations and advisory projects at the Legal Vice Presidency of The World Bank Group. He contributed to flagship products such as the B-READY Report (successor to the Doing Business series) and Country Climate and Development Reports and is a certified peer-reviewer by the Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions Global Practice. He holds degrees from the University of Cambridge (PhD, LLM) and from the University of São Paulo (LLB), and was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School and at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg.

Associate Professor Gracia Marín Durán is Vice Dean (International) at UCL Faculty of Laws, and co-Director (with Professor Eloise Scotford) of the Centre for Law and the Environment. Before coming to UCL, she was a Senior Lecturer and founding Director of the LLM Programme in International Economic Law at the University of Edinburgh School of Law (2011-2017). She holds a PhD in Law from the European University Institute (Florence, Italy), a MA in International Law and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins University-SAIS (Washington D.C., USA), and a BA in European Studies from UCL (London, UK). Prior to joining academia, she gained practical experience in these fields, notably serving as trade officer at the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of South Africa (2009-2011) and working at the Legal Affairs Division of the World Trade Organisation (2007).

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About the UCL Centre for Law and the Environment

The Centre for Law and Environment was established to provide a focal point for the UCL Faculty of Laws' outstanding expertise and academic strength in the field of the environment and the law. The main goals of the Centre are to advance research and teaching and explore the role of law in meeting contemporary environmental and energy challenges. The Centre is committed to treating domestic law (UK), regional (European Union) and international aspects of environmental law in a comprehensive and integrated manner. This approach is reflected in offerings on the LLM course and the supervision of doctoral students, as well as in the diverse range of research pursued by members of the Centre.

See the activities of the Centre