Litigating climate change displacement: Cutting-edge cases and decisions
20 October 2021, 9.30-10.30am AEDT
People fleeing disasters and the impacts of climate change often enter an unmapped legal landscape. Faced with legal gaps or overlaps, courts today are considering how laws may be shaped to unprecedented circumstances. Different jurisdictions are deciding differently – and some outcomes are forcing leaders to propose more creative new solutions.
Executive Director, Alaska Institute for Justice
Robin Bronen has been working as a human rights attorney and interdisciplinary social scientist on the issue of climate-forced displacement of Alaska Native communities since 2007. She co-founded and directs the Alaska Institute for Justice where staff focus on protecting the human rights of Alaskans by advocating for immigrant rights and climate justice. She co-authored the Peninsula Principles and provided technical assistance for the relocation guidelines published by the Brookings Institution, Georgetown University, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She has been an advisory member of the Platform on Disaster Displacement since its inception. The FBI awarded the Alaska Institute for Justice the 2012 Director's National Community Service award for the agency's work with human trafficking victims. The Municipality of Anchorage awarded AIJ the Community Diversity award in 2007. Robin’s additional honours include: 2012 Alaska Bar Association Human Rights award, 2012 International Soroptimist Advancing the Rights of Women award and 2007 Robert Hickerson award for public service.
Barrister, Victorian Bar
Adam McBeth is a barrister at the Victorian Bar practising primarily in public law, including judicial review, constitutional law, electoral law, immigration, human rights and matters in Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the Administrative Appeal Tribunal, as well as appeals and commercial matters involving regulators or issues of statutory construction. He was previously an Associate Professor at the Monash University Law Faculty and a Deputy Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law and has written extensively on public international law and human rights law.
Climate Displacement Project Strategist, International Refugee Assistance Project
Ama Francis is Climate Displacement Project Strategist at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), developing the organisation’s strategy, in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, on expanding legal protection for climate displaced people. Ama is also a non-resident fellow at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. Previously, Ama was the 2018-2021 Climate Law Fellow at the Sabin Center, where they developed legal solutions to climate displacement and served on the Advisory Board of the Platform on Disaster Displacement and the Steering Committee of the Climigration Network. Ama’s work at the Sabin Center also focused on developing countries, building on prior expertise as a legal consultant to Dominica’s Ministry of Health and Environment. Ama currently sits on the Executive Board of the New York Climate Action Alliance. Ama received their JD from Yale Law School, where they were a student director of Immigration Legal Services. A native Dominican, Ama received a BA (magna cum laude) from Harvard University, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Campaign Director, Campaign Director of the Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change
Solomon Yeo is a climate activist from the Solomon Islands. He is working alongside civil society and youth in the region to advance Pacific climate justice. Solomon was one of the 26 law students who founded the Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change (PISFCC) in 2019. He currently serves as the organisation’s Campaign Director. The PISFCC are currently campaigning for a UN General Assembly Resolution on seeking an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on climate change and human rights. Solomon holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of the South Pacific.
Chair: llona Millar
Partner, Environmental Markets & Climate Change Practice, Baker McKenzie
Ilona Millar is a Partner with Baker McKenzie's Environmental Markets Practice and has 20 years experience advising on international and domestic climate change law and policy, and environmental markets. This experience extends to complex multi-jurisdictional transactions as well as the development of innovative responses to climate change and sustainability problems. Ilona has held previous roles with the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD) and International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London, and as the Principal Solicitor for the Environmental Defenders Office Ltd (NSW). Ilona advises governments and businesses on the development and implementation of climate change laws, including emissions trading schemes, greenhouse and energy reporting, renewable energy and emerging low carbon technologies. Her most recent work involves helping companies and government agencies navigate the legal and policy issues associated with climate change risk assessment and disclosure obligations and to develop their climate change strategies.
Image credit: Supplied - Facebook