Testimonial by Graduate Institute Student - Vandana Gyanchandani

Student: Vandana Gyanchandani

Clinic: Graduate Institute Clinic, 2016-2017

Project: UNFCCC Nationally Determined Contributions: Climate Change and Trade (Read here)

Beneficiary: UNCTAD

“TradeLab is an innovative platform for policy-makers, small businesses, NGOs, international organizations and various stakeholders to benefit from a network of international economic law (IEL) expertise equipped with trustworthy research capability - ‘free of cost’. The platform connects – experts, students and beneficiaries - from diverse backgrounds in search for challenging enquiries around how IEL can benefit ‘everyone’ in the community.

I worked on a project - with two PhD students: Dario Piselli, PhD Candidate, Dept. of International Law, IHEID and Rana Elkahwagy, SJD Candidate, Harvard Law School – as granted by UNCTAD to TradeLab - ‘UNFCCC Nationally Determined Contributions: Climate Change and Trade’. We mapped 162 INDCs, national commitments to combat climate change in order to assess the trade-related climate measures. In the process, we were invited by the UNCTAD’s Chief Economic Advisor to the UN headquarters for discussions in pursuance of the project. The study assisted UNCTAD in their work on Trade, Economic Diversification and Climate Change as it helped in their findings that that around 40% of climate change mitigation measures consist of trade measures which mainly promotes economic diversification (i.e., green growth policies) than restrictions. In addition, our study revealed that the LDCs and other developing countries were more transparent in their INDCs as regards national mitigation commitments compared to developed countries.

In relation to the TradeLab project, I also got the opportunity to assist Ms. Clara Brandi, senior researcher at the German Development Institute and an expert at ICTSD on her publication ‘Trade Elements in Countries’ Climate Contributions under the Paris Agreement’ which was presented at the WTO on behalf of ICTSD.

I am confident that TradeLab Practicum is a necessity for all the Universities promoting IEL in order to equip their students with practical, real world experience supported by a network of world’s leading experts and academicians from diverse backgrounds.”

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