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Duncan French

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Duncan French and Benjamin Pontin

Abstract The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established to assess the evidence of human-induced climate change, as well as to assess its impact and our vulnerability and to make scientific judgements on mitigation and adaptation. As a scientific body within the UN system, it has sought to ensure the credibility of its scientific assessments as well as ensuring meaningful state participation. As the reports of the IPCC have become established as a fundamental feature of the international political and scientific debate on climate change, increasingly attention has been paid to its institutional set-up, internal processes and ways of working. Despite high-profile controversies, the IPCC continues to have a pivotal role in the international architecture on climate change, and is the principal actor in making scientific judgements on the issue.
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Duncan French and Louis J. Kotzé

This chapter provides the context, a broad introduction and the essence of each of the chapters in the book.

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Nathan Cooper and Duncan French

As the final Global Goal, SDG 17’s principal function is to establish partnerships in support of the achievement of the other Sustainable Development Goals. It includes targets in such areas as overseas development assistance, debt sustainability, technology transfer, capacity building, and international trade. It reflects a pattern set in the Millennium Development Goals, where the final goal is also the most instrumental, in that case MDG 8, which sought to establish a ‘Global Partnership for Development’. SDG 17 underscores the importance of cooperation in the attainment of global development, recognising more broadly that partnerships are fundamental to the achievement of sustainable development. And yet SDG 17 also reveals many of the contradictions within the primarily voluntarist nature of the international community’s approach to development. SDG 17 is reflective of an approach that possesses strong moral injunction but weak normative commitment. Thus, the chapter provides a critical analysis of SDG 17, focusing on three distinct issues. First, whether on their own terms, the targets within the Goal will contribute to the achievement of effective partnerships, or whether the systemic hurdles towards institutional reform remain as great as they always have done. Secondly, how far SDG 17 weakens still further the normative argument as to the existence of a positive obligation in international law on development cooperation. And thirdly, in the context of seeking to achieve the right to water in a domestic setting, how far SDG 17 provides legal certainty to such partnerships, especially those involving civil society. The chapter concludes that while SDG 17 promotes partnerships it has not given sufficient guidance to states in implementing them. The innate voluntarism of the cooperation that supports the Global Goals ultimately puts at risk their effective attainment, and there thus remains a necessity for the development of supportive legal frameworks.

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Sustainable Development Goals

Law, Theory and Implementation

Edited by Duncan French and Louis J. Kotzé

Building on the previously established Millennium Development Goals, which ran from 2000-2015, the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide the UN with a roadmap for development until 2030. This topical book explores the associated legal and normative implications of these SDGs, which in themselves are not legally binding.