Marie-Claire Cordonier-Segger

Professor of Law (Limited Term)

Visiting Chair of Sustainable Development Law and Policy, University of Cambridge


Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger

Faculty of Law
University of Victoria
PO Box 1700, STN CSC
Victoria, BC  V8W 2Y2

Visiting Professor, Yale Law School; Senior Director, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL); Vice-President, International Law Association of Canada; Law Fellow, Director of Studies & Democratising Education for Global Sustainability & Justice Programme Director, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Social Sciences) & Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, UK

Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger is a leading jurist and scholar of international law on climate change and other crucial global sustainability challenges, as a distinguished expert in the field of sustainable development law and governance. Author of the legal textbook Sustainable Development Law: Principles, Practices and Prospects (Oxford University Press 2004, 2nd ed 2024) and the critically acclaimed Athena’s Treaties: Crafting Trade and Investment Accords for Sustainable Development (OUP 2021), having published over 25 further volumes with world-class presses and more than 160 other contributions in five languages, Prof. Cordonier Segger focuses on law and policy solutions to advance the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As founding editor of the Treaty Implementation for Sustainable Development series with Cambridge University Press, editorial/advisory board member of five law journals including the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law and the prestigious Cambridge Journal of International Law, and founding Senior Director of the world-leading Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), her academic endeavors are shaping her discipline as well as treaty design and practice around the world.

In her scholarship, Prof Cordonier Segger explores integrated legal solutions to critical ecological, economic and social justice concerns, particularly climate change, biodiversity loss and natural resources degradation. Her innovative research, online education and engagement strategies are shaping legal regimes, carrying inquiry across comparative and interdisciplinary realms. She has secured and led many competitively awarded research grants; held prestigious visiting professorships including in Yale Law School, Oxford University, and the Universities of Bern, Chile, Montreal and Kisangani; delivered respected lectures including the University of Cambridge 2020-22 Leverhulme Lectures with 9,000+ registrants; and chaired significant international conferences and experts commissions. Her purposive research on sustainable development law, while advancing profound underlying inquiries on cooperative approaches to treaty negotiation and compliance, pilots nuanced interactional theories of legality and legitimacy, including in highly climate vulnerable countries. Her advance on trade, investment and financial instruments; inter-generational and indigenous peoples rights; international courts and tribunals, and evolving natural resources management rules have led to her receiving the Global Leadership Award for Climate Law and Governance in 2022, the esteemed HE CG Weeramantry International Justice Award in 2020, the Justicia Regnorum Fundamentum Medal in 2016, and other illustrious prizes. She is an elected Fellow of the UK Royal Society of the Arts, and of the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Social Sciences), the country’s highest academic honour.

Prof Cordonier Segger was one of the first women law professors to be awarded the highly prestigious senior Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship in the University of Cambridge, where she holds distinguished international fellowships in the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law and the Bennett Institute for Public Policy and has helped to found three other institutes. As inaugural Visiting Chair in Sustainable Development Law and Policy in the University of Cambridge, she leads a new international programme on Democratising Education for Global Sustainability and Justice and serves as Law Fellow and Director of Studies in Lucy Cavendish College. She also serves as Executive Secretary to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Climate Law and Governance Initiative, as Chair of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Biodiversity Law and Governance Initiative, and as Vice-Chair of the UNESCO Voices of Future Generations Children’s Initiative. Previously, she was full professor of law in the University of Waterloo, where she holds Waterloo Climate Institute and Balsillie School of International Affairs fellowships. She also served as Senior Legal Advisor to the UNFCCC Presidency where her expertise shaped drafting of key Paris Agreement provisions, as senior legal expert to the CBD and Ramsar Convention on Wetlands secretariats, and in various senior advisory roles with the United Nations, the International Development Law Organization and the Government of Canada.

Prof Cordonier Segger serves on the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, the World Future Council and as Vice-President of the International Law Association, also founding President of the global Sustainable Development Law Association. She adjudicates grants for several countries, councils and foundations, and chairs the juries of leading awards and fellowships including (as laureate) the Climate Law and Governance Global Leadership Awards and the Weeramantry International Justice Awards, also the Association of American University Women’s International Fellowships. She speaks five languages and enjoys exploring world heritage sites, art galleries, museums, ancient libraries and the natural world.


  • PhD ad eundem – International Law, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • DPhil - International Law, Exeter College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • MEM - Environmental Economics, Law & Policy, Yale University, United States
  • LLB & BCL - Civil & Common Law, McGill University, Canada
  • BA (Hons) - Interdisciplinary Studies, Carleton University / University of Victoria, Canada


M.C. Cordonier Segger, Sustainable Development Law: Principles, Practices and Prospects (2nd ed, OUP, accepted for 2024).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, I. Espa & N. Schrijver, eds, Sustainable Development in International Law on Natural Resources (Wolters Kluwer, accepted for 2024).

M.C. Cordonier Segger & W. Garnons-Williams, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ILO Convention 169 and Sustainable Development through Indigenous Treaties (Cambridge University Press, accepted for 2024).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, A Harrington & C. Voigt, eds, The Routledge Handbook of Climate Law and Governance: Courage, Contributions & Compliance (Routledge, accepted for 2023).

M.C. Cordonier Segger & S. Stephenson, eds, Research Handbook on Investment Law and Sustainable Development (Edward Elgar, in production for 2023).

M.C. Cordonier Segger & D.A. Wardell eds, Implementing CITES for Sustainable Development (Cambridge University Press, in press for 2023).


M.C. Cordonier Segger, Athena’s Treaties? Crafting Trade and Investment Accords for Sustainable Development (Oxford University Press, 2021).

M.C. Cordonier Segger & M. Szabo, eds, Intergenerational Justice in Sustainable Development Treaty Implementation (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

M.C. Cordonier Segger w HE C.J. Weeramantry, eds, Sustainable Development in International Courts and Tribunals (Routledge, 2017).

S. Jodoin and M.C. Cordonier Segger, eds, Sustainable Development, International Criminal Justice and Treaty Implementation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

M. Michel, M.C. Cordonier Segger, M. Gehring and F. Gelinas, Responsibility, Fraternity and Sustainability in Law: In Memory of the Hon Charles Doherty Gonthier (LexisNexis, 2012).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, M. Gehring and A. Newcombe, eds, Sustainable Development in World Investment Law (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2010).

M. Gehring and M.C. Cordonier Segger, eds, Sustainable Development in World Trade Law (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2005).

M.C. Cordonier Segger and A. Khalfan, Sustainable Development Law: Principles, Practices and Prospects (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

M.C. Cordonier Segger and Judge C.G. Weeramantry, eds., Sustainable Justice: Integrating Environmental, Social and Economic Law (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2004).

Selected Journal Articles

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “Sustainable Developments in International Investment Law and Policy related to Renewable Energy and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation” (2019) Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law ), Vol 7, p29

M.C. Cordonier Segger, P. Holmgren & D.A. Wardell, “Financing Sustainable Landscapes through Innovative International Economic Law and Governance Instruments” (2018) Global Journal of Comparative Law Vol 7 / 1, p169

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “Inspiration for Integration: Interpreting International Trade and Investment Accords for Sustainable Development” (2017) Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law Vol 3 / 1, p159

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “Advancing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change for Sustainable Development” (2017) Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law Vol 5 / 2, p202

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “Sustainable Development through the 2015 Paris Agreement” (2017) Canadian International Lawyer Vol 11 / 2, p124

M. Gehring, S. Stephenson & M.C. Cordonier Segger, “Sustainability Impact Assessments as Inputs and as Interpretative Aids in International Investment Law” (2016) Journal of World Investment and Trade Vol 17, p155

C. Haywood, D.A. Wardell, M.C. Cordonier Segger & P. Holmgren, “Legal Frameworks for Implementing REDD+ in Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania: Opportunities for a Sustainable Landscapes Approach” (2015) Carbon Climate Law Review  Vol 9 / 2, p130

M.C. Cordonier Segger and F. Phillips, “Indigenous Traditional Knowledge for Sustainable Development: The Biodiversity Convention and Plant Treaty Regimes” Journal of Forest Research (2015) 20:5 p430

M.C. Cordonier Segger and Y. Saito, “Innovative Legal Measures for Climate Change Response in the Green Economy: Integrating Opportunity, Equity and Inclusion” (2013) World Bank Legal Review 5

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “Sustainability, Global Justice and the Law” (2010) McGill Law Journal 54:4

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “The Role of International Forums in the Advancement of Sustainable Development” (2009) Sustainable Development Law and Policy, Vol X, p4-18

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “Sustainable Development Law and Governance: A Proposal” (2004) United Nations Natural Resources Forum Journal 28:1 p61

M.C. Cordonier Segger and M. Gehring, “Precaution, Health and the World Trade Organisation: Moving Toward Sustainable Development” (2003) Queen’s Law Journal 29:1 p133

M.C. Cordonier Segger, N. Borregaard, M. Leichner and A. K. Gonzales, “A New Mechanism for Hemispheric Cooperation on Environmental Sustainability and Trade” (2002) Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 27:2 p613-632

Selected Book Chapters

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “UN Treaties on the Environment and Sustainable Development” in Handbook of United Nations Treaties, D Malone et al, ed (OUP 2019 fc).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, M Gehring & A Wardell, “REDD+ Instruments, International Investment Rules and Sustainable Landscapes” in Research Handbook on REDD+ and International Law, C. Voigt, ed (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2016).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “Innovative Legal Solutions for Investment Law and Sustainable Development Challenges” in Bridging the Gap Between International Investment Law and the Environment, Y. Levashova et al, eds (Amsterdam: Eleven, 2015).

M.C. Cordonier Segger and M Gehring, “Climate Change and International Trade and Investment Law” in International Law in the Era of Climate Change R. Rayfuse and S. V. Scott, eds (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2013).

M.C. Cordonier Segger and M. Gehring, “Making Progress? Climate Change, Sustainable Development and International Trade and Investment Law” in Legal Aspects of Carbon Trading: Kyoto, Copenhagen and Beyond, C. Streck and D. Freestone, eds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “Sistemas de inversión y comercio para economías bajas en emisiones de carbono más sustentables” in Nuevo Marco Legal para el Cambio Climático, P. Moraga ed (Santiago: LOM, 2009).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “International Law on Sustainable Development” in Routledge Handbook of International Law, ed. D. Armstrong (New York: Routledge, 2009).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “Intersecting Implementation of Environment, Trade and Social Regimes” in Effectiveness in International Law, T. Komori and K. Wellens, eds (Lieden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2009).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “Principles, Practices and Prospects: Sustainable Development through International Treaty Law” in Sustainable Development in National and International Law, H.C. Bugge and C. Voigt, eds (Groningen: Europa Law Publishing, 2008).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “The WTO, Regional Trade Agreements and Sustainable Development” in Regional Trade Agreements and the WTO Legal System, L. Bartels and F. Ortino, eds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, “Precaution and Trade Law: Global Review of the ‘Safe’ Level of Risk” in Regulating Ecologically, J. Wargo, ed (New Haven: Yale University, 2003).

M.C. Cordonier Segger and N. Borregaard, “Sustainability and Hemispheric Integration: A Review of Existing Approaches” in Greening the Americas, D. Esty and C. Deere, eds (Boston: MIT Press, 2002).

Selected Reports

M.C. Cordonier Segger & C. Campbell-Durufle, “Rapid Entry into Force of the Paris Agreement – UNFCCC CoP23 Presidency Legal Opinion” (Montreal: CISDL, 2016).

M.C. Cordonier Segger & E. Mrema, eds, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Contributions of International Law, Policy and Governance Series of 10 Legal Issues Papers (Nairobi / Montreal: UNEP / CISDL, 2016).

C. Dalupan, C. Haywood, D.A. Wardell, M.C. Cordonier Segger & R. Kibugi, “Building Enabling Legal Frameworks for Sustainable Land-Use Investments in Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique: A Synthesis” (Bogor: CIFOR / IDLO, 2015).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, P. Reynaud et al, “Green Economy: Compendium of Innovative Legal Practices” (Rome: IDLO/CISDL 2012).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, J. Friedman et al, “Natural Resources: Compendium of Innovative Legal Practices” (Rome: IDLO/CISDL 2011).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, S. Mason-Case, P. Reynaud et al, “Climate Change: Compendium of Innovative Legal Practices” (Rome: IDLO/CISDL 2011).

P. Reynaud, M.C. Cordonier Segger, et al, “International Law Partnership Contribution to the UNCSD 2012 Deliberations” (Rome: IDLO, ILA, CISDL, LCIL, 2011).

M.C. Cordonier Segger & M. Gehring, “Trade and Investment Implications of Carbon Trading for Sustainable Development” (Rome: IDLO/CISDL, 2010).

S. Mason-Case & M.C. Cordonier Segger, “International Law Trade and Climate Finance” (Rome: IDLO/CISDL, 2010).

M. Kerr & M.C. Cordonier Segger, “Legal Strategies to Promote Corporate Social Responsibility and Accountability: A Pre-requisite of Sustainable Development” (Montreal: CISDL, 2004).

M.C. Cordonier Segger, et al, “UNDP Challenge Paper on Land Tenure Reform presented in the UNDP – CISDL – ACTS Experts Panel at the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Drought and Desertification” (Havana: CISDL, 2003).

K. Garforth, M.C. Cordonier Segger et al, “When Biosafety Becomes Binding” (Montreal: CISDL, 2003).

K. Garforth, M. Toering, H. Suthan, A. Khalfan, M.C. Cordonier Segger et al, “A New Regime on Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing?” (Montreal: CISDL, 2003).

M. Gehring & M.C. Cordonier Segger, ‘Sustainable Developments in WTO Law and ‘Jurisprudence’ (Cancun: CISDL, 2003).

M.C. Cordonier Segger & A. Khalfan, “Towards the World Summit on Sustainable Development: Crafting Legal Rules for Integrating Economic, Environmental, and Social Concerns” (Montreal: CISDL, 2002).
A. Marong, M. Gehring & M.C. Cordonier Segger “‘Sustainability through Process for WTO Law” (Doha, CISDL, 2001).

M.C. Cordonier Segger & A. Khalfan “Strengthening Environmental Governance & Law for Global Sustainable Development” (Montreal: CISDL, 2001).


  • Fellowship in Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Social Sciences) 2022
  • Cambridge University United Nations Association 75th Anniversary Commendation Recipient 2021
  • HE Judge CG Weeramantry International Justice Award WIJA 2020 Laureate
  • Elected Fellow of Royal Society of the Arts FRSA 2020, 2003
  • Elected Councillor of World Future Council 2017, 2007
  • Laureate of International Justitia Fundamentum Regnorum International Award 2016
  • Hon Justice CD Gonthier Memorial Award 2015
  • Recipient of National Honours / Commendations from 26 countries through United Nations 2000-2022
  • University of Oxford SSHRC Doctoral Award, UNEP and Chevening Scholarship Recipient 2003-2009
  • Yale University Teaching Fellowship Award Recipient 2002-2003
  • McGill University Wainwright Scholarship Award Recipient 1998-2002