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Aarti Gupta and Amandine Orsini

One of the most contentious issues in global biodiversity law pertains to liability and redress for potential harm caused to biodiversity by transboundary transfers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This chapter analyses the status of international law regarding GMO-related liability and redress, as enshrined in the 2010 ‘Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress’, under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It reviews the current state of knowledge regarding liability and redress for GMO-related harm adopted by the Supplementary Protocol, which privileges an administrative approach to liability and redress, with very limited inclusion of civil liability. We conclude by highlighting gaps in current knowledge and a future research agenda, including implementation challenges arising from the Supplementary Protocol, and the prospects for further developing international and domestic law on civil liability for harm from GMOs.
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Aarti Gupta and Michael Mason

Transparency, as information disclosure, is becoming a widely accepted norm and set of practices in global climate governance. Disclosure of climate-related information is mainly seen as a way to monitor and/or reward various actors’ climate mitigation actions, thereby contributing, at least in principle, to the accountability both of private disclosers for their (non-)performance, and also of public policymakers for the reach and effectiveness of governance outcomes. Transparency’s transformative effects in global climate governance remain particularly important to consider, given the increasingly heterogeneous and fragmented nature of such governance—encompassing treaties, transnational municipal networks, subnational actors, bilateral agreements and voluntary corporate initiatives. In assessing the transformative potential of transparency in the climate realm, this chapter focuses, first, on contentious debates within the UNFCCC around measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems that seek to make transparent who is doing what, how, and to what end in combating climate change. Second, the focus is on private carbon disclosure initiatives and transparency arrangements that underpin voluntary carbon offset markets. The chapter concludes that the transformative potential of transparency is being compromised by an increasing privatization and marketization of disclosure initiatives in the climate realm.

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Sonja Klinsky and Aarti Gupta

Equity has remained a deeply contested concept in multilateral climate politics ever since the Brundtland Commission report, with academic debate and geopolitical conflict alike focusing on how to conceptualize the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ (CBDR-RC) of industrialized and developing countries in combating climate change, enshrined within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The focus here is on scrutinizing equity-in-practice, i.e. how equity is being operationalized within multilateral climate governance. The authors trace how the two component elements of the CBDR-RC principle (‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ and ‘respective capabilities’) are being operationalized within the obligations and institutional arrangements relating to mitigation and adaptation within the UNFCCC. The focus of equity is shifting away from the ‘responsibility’ component to that of ‘capabilities’ (with capabilities reduced, furthermore, to a technical notion of capacity building). Equity-in-practice is thus increasingly coming to be equated, within the UNFCCC, with capacity building. The authors discuss whether such a taming of equity is also discernible in newer developments, such as negotiating the rule-book for the enhanced transparency framework of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and debating the role within climate policy of climate engineering technologies. The authors draw out the implications of this analysis for the prospects of UN-led multilateralism to deliver on climate equity in the pursuit of sustainable development.