Our New Visiting Fellow: Vance Culbert

27 July 2023

Vance Culbert is a senior development and humanitarian professional who has managed operations for non-governmental organizations and United Nations (UN) agencies over the past twenty years. He has focused on humanitarian protection programming and policy, the promotion of international humanitarian law (IHL), and the protection of civilians. He has also worked extensively in the field of education in emergencies and post-disaster reconstruction.

He just started as a Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy and will stay with us until the end of October.

What motivated you to carry out a fellowship at the Geneva Academy?

I have worked in collaboration with researchers and experts from the Geneva Academy during the past several years on initiatives including IHL opinions on housing, land and property issues in Palestine, and IHL promotion with non-state armed groups across the MENA region. I look forward to positive collaboration on exploring legal protection aspects of global climate debates.

What will be the focus of your research during this fellowship?

Most of the global policy processes on addressing climate change mitigation, including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), have been on emissions reduction. There have been few initiatives on supply-side limitation, despite the fact that the large majority of global production is concentrated in a dozen countries. My research will look at the geopolitical and economic barriers to bringing about such an agreement, and how this could be brought in line with protection considerations required for a just transition.

Why are these issues important?

Many of those oil and gas-producing countries who have made significant commitments to emissions reductions continue to invest heavily in production capacity expansion. There is currently no linkage between UNFCCC emissions goals and global production, making possible pathways to a just transition less likely and more chaotic.

What will be the impact of this research?

Additional research can directly inform increased calls for new policy initiatives. Pressure for a new global agreement on production regulation is increasing. Data is lacking however on the economic implications of such an agreement, and policy options for how such an agreement could ensure fair usage of remaining resources.

What do you expect from your time at the Geneva Academy?

Given the breadth of expertise at the Geneva Academy, I look forward to exchanges with colleagues on legal and protection aspects of global policy options. I also hope to be able to engage the Geneva Academy’s networks to be able to further raise the profile of this important issue.

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