At Harvard, Olawuyi unveils new book, calls for global solidarity for the SDGs

Ogunsakin Mustapha
5 Min Read
Prof Damilola Olawuyi SAN

Frontline international law expert and global Vice Chair of the International Law Association, Professor Damilola Olawuyi (SAN) has called for increased solidarity and strategic trade cooperation to advance all aspects of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who is also a United Nations Independent Expert on Business and Human Rights, made these remarks while delivering a compelling keynote lecture at the Gulf Cooperatives Conference held at the prestigious Harvard University in United States.

Themed “Harmony in Collaboration: Unleashing Gulf Creativity,” the conference brought together high-level diplomats, business executives and leading experts from across the world, including H.E. Jasem Al-Budaiwi, Secretary General Gulf Cooperation Council, H.E. Amb. Dr. Mohammed Al Hassan, Permanent Representative of Oman to the United Nations, H.E. Al-Zain Al-Sabah, Ambassador of Kuwait to the United States, H.E. Dr Ahmad Al Sayed, Minister of State of Qatar for Foreign Investment and Trade, Maryam Bin Theneya, Second Deputy Speaker, Federal National Council of the United Arab Emirates, and H.E. Deemah AlYahya, Secretary-General Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) amongst other notable speakers.

In his distinguished keynote lecture, Professor Olawuyi, SAN noted that “Many of the complex problems facing our world today cannot be addressed in isolation, ranging from the problem of climate change, spread of pandemics and zoonotic diseases, to issues of water and food security, clean energy transition, technology development, and the enthronement of stable peace in conflict affected regions amongst others.”

He emphasized the need for solidarity and diplomatic cooperation to jointly tackle these pressing issues, recognizing the interconnectedness of all nations. Olawuyi called on resource rich Gulf countries to develop common, cooperative and aligned positions that will ensure sustained progress on all aspects of the SDGs through strategic trade and investment alliances.

While noting Africa’s potential as a hub for strategic trade partnerships, Olawuyi called on African governments to deploy the best talents with specific expertise and knowledge of the Gulf region to unlock these investment potentials.

The conference also featured the formal public presentation of Olawuyi’s latest book titled Net Zero and Natural Resources Law, published by Oxford University Press.
The 400 page book highlights the latest developments in natural resources law and policy in light of ongoing worldwide efforts to achieve the clean energy transition.

With case studies from Africa, Asia, Middle East, Europe, Australasia, and North and South America, the book analyses how legal and regulatory systems are responding, and can better respond, to the wide range of challenges and risks in the clean energy transition.

Consideration is also given to contract negotiation, drafting techniques, financing and trade integration tools needed to promote coherence and coordination in the implementation of energy transition programs.

Olawuyi said: “The courtroom battles and arbitration challenges filed against some energy transition programs show the deep fragmentations, uncertainties, and implementation gaps that demand greater clarity.

At the same time, the rush for minerals needed to manufacture clean energy technologies raises fundamental questions, most crucially, on how to ensure the exploration and development of energy transition minerals in a manner that does not exacerbate resource conflicts.

The 22 chapters of the book examine the wide range of legal risks in the clean energy transition and how policymakers, lawyers and regulators can better respond to them.”

He noted that this new book outlines the risk mitigation strategies and contractual techniques – focusing on net-zero and climate aligned financing, low-carbon business models, green procurement, climate-smart infrastructure development, transparent climate disclosures and reporting, gender justice, and other sustainability safeguards — that are required to ensure a just and inclusive energy transition.

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