\r\n The old traders’ adage “better to travel than arrive” has been true in 2017. Last year wa...
\r\n President Donald Trump signed on 28 March 2017 an executive order to unravel former President B...
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\r\n Australia’s federal government has announced it will ratify and implement the OPCAT Treaty, O...
\r\n Nurses and teachers are among those bearing the brunt of a debt crisis rooted in the mistaken b...

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    During the Obama administration, the United States and China have become vital partners in climate negotiations during two critical meetings in November 2014 and September 2015. They continued the cooperation started with the Kyoto Protocol signing the Paris Agreement, strengthened it in areas such as carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS), and methane capture, and built a relationship from high-level policy to joint technology development.

    This joint interest has led to the major initiative Clean Energy Research Centers (CERC) which were supposed to be focused on building efficiency, clean vehicles and advanced coal technologies, promoted clean energy innovation through joint research projects, and introduced new products on the market so as to reduce 275 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by 2025.

    Moreover, the two partners agreed on a Joint announcement in November 2014, which included the Clean Power Plan so as to establish common emissions controls and efficiency measures, and the Joint statement in September 2015, which included the launch of a Chinese cap and a trade program for green finance.

    Nowadays this legacy may be endangered by President-elect Trump’s rejectionist administration who called climate change a “Chinese hoax”; the Chinese are critical of this position and it is becoming clear that the US may be the player that needs to be pushed in the international process. Not only is climate change no Chinese hoax, but China’s seriousness may be the world’s best hope.


    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, 14 November 2016

    (Source: ChinaDialogue)


    Marrakech, the capital of Morroco, is hosting the COP of 22, the conference of the parties. The U.N. is talking about climate change. Particularly the conference focuses its attention on the agriculture production in Africa that employ around 40% of the population.

    For example, in the high mountains, the period of the year where snow is present has been greatly reduced. Additionally, underground water sources have seen a reduction as well. In the last 27 years, the rains has been between 15%-20% lower than previous years.

    When the rain does come, it comes in showers and breeds flood. the initiative proposes measures to improve soil management’ water and irrigation management; and better weather forecasting and insurance programs for farmers affected by drought.

    The initiative proposes measures such as improved soil management, water and irrigation management, and better weather forecasting and insurance programs for farmers affected by drought.


    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 15 November 2016

    (Source: The Guardian & The World Bank)


    On the occasion of the 5th Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) held on 5th Nov. in Riga, Latvia, a cooperative agreement named “Riga Guidelines for Cooperation” has been signed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and by the Premiers of Latvia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovak Republic and Montenegro.

    The agreement focuses on the theme of “Connectivity, Innovation, Inclusiveness and Common Development” with a view to enhancing existing cooperation, fostering pragmatic cooperation in new areas, and affirming its implementation in compliance with respective laws and EU regulations.

    The participants commit to creating a mutually favorable investment environment and market access for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) so as to facilitate better networking, deepening exchanges and bilateral relations, and developing synergies in the fields of transport, health, logistics, energy, science, technology, agriculture and forestry.

    This “16+1 Cooperation” underlines the participants’ willingness to realize mutual benefits and win-win results, to bring increasing advantages to the peoples involved and to enforce their contacts through forums, dialogue meetings and workshops.


    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Sunday, 6 November 2016

    (Source: Xinhua)


    So what now? The election of Donald Trump presents Britain with many challenges and some opportunities.

    The president-elect is the son of a Scot, he owns property and golf courses north of the border, and says nice things about Britain when he visits. "Britain's been a great ally," he said in May. "With me, they'll always be treated fantastically."

    He supports Brexit and makes positive noises about Britain securing a trade deal with the US. He said: "I'm not going to say front of the queue, but it wouldn't make any difference to me whether they were in the EU or not. You would certainly not be back of the queue, that I can tell you."

    Mr Trump has also shown himself eminently flexible on policy, a point that former President Jimmy Carter made when he visited Britain earlier this year. This means that in some areas of international policy there will be opportunities for the UK to engage and to influence.

    So there will be something for British diplomats to work with. And, of course, the longstanding intelligence, military and diplomatic relationships between Britain and the US will endure, regardless.

    And yet the challenges are huge. There are many policies that Donald Trump supports that Britain opposes.

    He wants to tear up the deal constraining Iran's nuclear ambitions that the UK worked so hard to secure. He wants to withdraw from the Paris climate change deal. He wants to tear up some of America's free trade agreements and instinctively leans towards protectionism.

    He wants to shift the focus in Syria towards fighting the Islamic State group, rather than seeking a political end to the civil war without President Bashar al-Assad. He wants to engage with President Vladimir Putin of Russia - whom he describes as "a hero" - rather than confront a leader that many in the West see as a growing threat.

    And above all he has said that America's allies in Europe and Asia must do more to pay for and provide for their own defence, even suggesting that the US might not come to the aid of a NATO country if it fails to pay its bills. This will worry the Baltic states no end.

    Those are what another Donald, Donald Rumsfeld, might describe as the known knowns. But it is the unknown unknowns that worry diplomats just as much.

    "He is an unknown quantity," said one. "No-one knows what he is going to do." They say Mr Trump's advisers make a distinction between what they call "campaign talk" and actual policy. "They don't recognise campaign rhetoric and promises as something they feel bound by," another official said.

    So there will be an unpredictability to the Trump White House that will worry Western leaders. But more than that, there is also the sense that his focus will be on America's domestic problems rather than its interests overseas.

    "Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo," Mr Trump said as he accepted his nomination at the start of the contest. Diplomats say this means the president-elect does not believe in the Pax Americana, the idea that an internationalist United States at least tries to make the world a better place.

    Instead, they say he sees foreign policy as transactional, a process of improvised ad-hoc deals rather than the projection of US values and interests. Mr Trump's slogan was: "America first," they point out, and he means it.

    The most pessimistic diplomats talk about a fracturing of the post-War international consensus. They dismiss comparisons with Ronald Reagan, saying the former president had governed a major state, that he inspired rather than galvanised, that he unified rather divided.

    Much will depend on whom Mr Trump appoints as his secretary of state.

    Names in the frame include:

    §  senator Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, who is heading up the Trump national security transition team

    §  John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN

    §  Richard Haas, head of an influential foreign policy think tank in Washington

    §  Stephen Hadley, a former national security advisory to the first President Bush

    And of course, there is always the possibility that Nigel Farage might find a role in the new administration - he has modestly suggested he might enjoy being Mr Trump's ambassador to the EU.

    The fear among some Western diplomats is that the Trump election will not only provide a vacuum in which other countries can expand their global influence - such as Russia and China - but at the same time encourage other populist, anti-establishment politicians across Europe and the world.

    The Italian prime minister is facing a real threat in a constitutional referendum next month. The Netherlands, France and Germany are braced for tricky elections next year.

    One senior diplomat said: "What does this mean for Marine Le Pen?" - a reference to the far-right party leader in France. Little wonder she was one of the first foreign politicians to congratulate Mr Trump.

    As if all this was not enough of a challenge, some UK policymakers have a few bridges to repair with the Trump administration. In January, MPs from all sides of the House of Commons lined up to attack the president-elect as they debated a motion to ban him from travelling to the UK.

    Last year, the nowadays Prime Minister, Theresa May, said Mr Trump's promise to ban Muslims from the US was "divisive, unhelpful and wrong", it was "nonsense" to suggest there were no-go areas in London, and he did "not understand the UK and what happens in the UK".

    Inevitably, the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, went even further. He said: "Donald Trump's ill-informed comments are complete and utter nonsense. Crime has been falling steadily in both London and New York - and the only reason I wouldn't go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump."

    And this year in May, before he became Foreign Secretary, Mr Johnson broke the cardinal rule of not intervening in another country's election. "I am genuinely worried that he could become president," he said. "I was in New York and some photographers were trying to take a picture of me, and a girl walked down the pavement towards me and she stopped and she said, 'Gee is that Trump?' It was one of the worst moments."

    So some humble pie will have to be eaten, and the special relationship is going to be tested as perhaps never before.




    Mr. Trump’s electoral victory may signal America’s resignation from its position as a leader in furthering global development initiatives. Donald Trump surprised pollsters by securing a comfortable victory in the US presidential elections. State leaders from around the globe have been quick to send their congratulations to Mr. Trump, but many foreign spectators are anxious about the practical implications of the President-Elect’s views towards foreign policy.

    Mr. Trump’s promise to renegotiate the USA’s obligations under the UN Paris Agreement on climate change, and vow to cut tens of billions of dollars in contributions to international global warming initiatives, sharply contrast with the proactive, leading role assumed by the Obama administration during the last two electoral terms. The status of the USA’s defence pact with other parties to NATO has been called into question over concerns that certain states are not providing sufficient economic contributions to the union. Previous attempts to resolve conflicts in the middle-east via primarily political means will be replaced by a series of more hostile, violent actions against Islamic State. These policies, like several others made by Mr. Trump, send a clear message: that America’s foreign policy will be strictly geared towards the promotion of ‘Americanism, not globalism’. Humanitarian projects which do not directly benefit the self-interests of America may no longer be supported.

    Ultimately, it remains to be seen which policies amount to mere “campaign talk” from Mr. Trump, as opposed to policies which his administration will in fact implement.




    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 10 November 2016

    (Source: BBC News)

  • Qinglin Zhang: ‘Analysis of the Impact on Sustainable Developments by Investment Regulations in the Energy Charter Treaty’

    In an energy-related legal dispute between a foreign investor and a host state, in which the parties involved are bound by the Energy Charter Treaty 2004, due consideration must be given to both for the need to promote the interests of the investor, and the goal of facilitating sustainable development. Qinglin Zhang, Professor in International Economic Law at Wuhan University, argues that these two interests have not been satisfactorily balanced in practice.

    It is noted that energy-related disputes are most commonly resolved via international arbitration. This is often because foreign investors fear that the contracting party in their host state will benefit from protectionism by local courts. However, Zhang suggests that a similar degree of protectionism, this time in favour of the investor and at the expense of host states which are developing countries, is experienced when disputes are resolved via arbitration proceedings.

    This is argued to be the case because arbitrators tend to be trained in developed Western jurisdictions; thus, are arguably predisposed to favour the arguments of investors from developed countries. Case-law supporting this finding is provided. Additionally, Zhang states that arbitrators tend to be accustomed to handling disputes between two private parties, but are generally less experienced and less equipped to adjudicate upon matters concerning public state entities. As a result, Zhang suggests that arbitration panels lack the requisite expertise to provide a fair decision. To the extent that developing countries are the victims of such prejudice, it is suggested that their ability to pursue sustainable development is undermined.

    To resolve this problem, Zhang proposes several solutions. Zhang argues in favour of providing financial assistance to the state via money raised from other member states, so that the state can adequately represent its interests and better position itself to avoid being advised by incompetent lawyers. Furthermore, it is suggested that a special team of arbitrators, who are experts in the fields of both sustainable development and investments disputes, should be made readily available to prospective disputants. Additionally, Zhang concludes that it is necessary for the state of an investor to better supervise their conduct, and take measures to prevent them from avoiding legal obligations or bribing officials in the host state. Finally, it is suggested that the confidentiality which is characteristic of arbitration proceedings should not necessarily apply to energy-related arbitration proceedings involving a state entity. It is implied that the public should be able to access such information so that they can hold the state accountable for its dealings with the foreign investor.

    Qinglin Zhang: ‘Analysis of the Impact on Sustainable Developments by Investment Regulations in the Energy Charter Treaty’ - Journal of World Energy Law and Business, 2015, Vol. 8, No. 6

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