New Thinking on SDGs and International Law

About the series

In this series by emerging scholars, policy briefs address opportunities for international and domestic law, economics and policy to contribute toward achieving sustainable development across sectors. The policy briefs are therefore tailored to global economies and policy-oriented solutions in one or more of the ILRP’s core research areas of international intellectual property law, international environmental law, international economic law and international Indigenous law. The idea is to address aspects of CIGI’s research areas through the lens of international law, economics and policy, governance and sustainable development in a public policy format.

In the Series

Despite Africa's wealth of natural resources, millions of its people live in extreme poverty. Effective mining governance can help Africa address this imbalance by achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 (to end poverty) and SDG 8 (to create sustainable economic growth and decent work for all). Reforms aimed at generating more revenue for national governments to address poverty and building new partnerships between public and private sectors to promote economic growth and boost employment can help achieve these goals.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to be a dangerous place for women and girls due to ongoing gender-based violence. This policy brief examines the obstacles to achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 to promote "peace, justice and strong institutions" in the DRC and reduce all forms of violence. Criminal justice reforms in North Kivu, DRC, such as the implementation of the Law on Sexual Violence, have struggled because of their top-down approach that excludes local governance structures and customary chiefs in the management of local conflicts. In order to fulfill SDG 16 targets, women need to play a central role, along with local customary structures, in improving their access to justice and participation within local institutions.
This policy brief examines the lack of gender diversity in international investment and trade dispute resolution in light of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5. The primary objective of the brief is to link SDG 5 with the imperative of diversifying international adjudication bodies in the fields of trade and investment. The brief demonstrates that women continue to be under-represented as adjudicators in the fields of investment and trade, and proposes steps necessary to address persistent under-representation.
For more than a decade, there has been a lot of focus on how sustainable development relates to international investment law. The growing trend of including general and security exceptions clauses in international investment agreements (IIAs) has also been highlighted. However, the nexus between general IIAs and security exceptions and the achievement of the SDGs has not been explored. 
As part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16 on the rule of law, Target 16.42 aims to “significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime” by 2030. This policy brief argues that tax avoidance under existing international tax rules gives rise to illicit financial flows and is hindering the sustainable development of African countries.
This policy brief discusses the challenges that could arise in building international partnerships to achieve the sustainable development goals in the specific context of external debt impacts. External, or sovereign, loans are a double-edged sword. When sustainable, they could help states with desperately needed funding for social and economic infrastructure. When unsustainable, such loans could be detrimental to sustainable socio-economic development.