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Northumbria Public Lecture Series: Professor Alistair Rieu-Clarke

Room 403 Business and Law Building


Professor Alistair Rieu-Clarke, Chair of Law, Northumbria School of Law

Lecture Theatre 403, Business and Law Building, City Campus East, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne

Refreshments will be available in the Corporate Hub (Fourth Floor) from 6pm

Can the Sustainable Development Goals really make a difference? Exploring prospects and pitfalls for transboundary water cooperation

In 2015, UN member states adopted the highly ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the aim of eradicating poverty, securing peace and prosperity, and safeguarding the planet’s ecosystems by 2030. Since then, a major effort has been undertaken to develop targets and indicators for measuring and monitoring progress towards the SDGs. What has been the results of this effort? Are we on track to meet the SDGs? This inaugural lecture will consider these questions within the context of transboundary water cooperation. Transboundary water cooperation cuts across several SDGs, including those related to poverty, health, energy, biodiversity and peace. However, only one SDG target explicitly refers to transboundary cooperation - namely target 6.5.

As highlighted by recent debates in the UN Security Council, a lack of cooperation over water can exacerbate tensions between countries. What for example, happens when an upstream country seeks to advance its national development policies through the unilateral development of dams, which in turn threaten downstream agricultural or fishing interests? Whose sustainable development agenda prevails? In such cases, could tensions and even conflict arise between countries that share natural resources? Alternatively, can transboundary water cooperation drive sustainable development at a regional level?

About the Speaker

Professor Rieu-Clarke is a Chair in Law in Northumbria's School of Law. His research interests lie in the interface between international law, sustainable development and transboundary waters. Alistair’s research has taken him to many of the major transboundary river basins in the world, and he has conducted several major multi-disciplinary research projects in Europe, Southern and Eastern Africa, Central America and South-East Asia.  Since September 2017, Alistair has been working as a legal advisor to one of the UN agencies responsible for the implementation of the SDGs, namely the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). As well as working for UNECE on SDG6.5.2 (transboundary water cooperation), Alistair has assisted in the implementation of the pilot reporting mechanism under the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes.

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Event Details

Room 403 Business and Law Building
City Campus East
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne


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