Environmental Law Program

Alaya de Leon (’11 LL.M.) at the COP23

From November 6-17, 2017, Alaya (Aya) de Leon was in Bonn, Germany for the 23rd Conference of Parties (COP 23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  Fiji sat as COP President this year–the first Pacific Island and small island state to do so–although the conference was hosted in Germany, where the UNFCCC is headquartered.

This year’s negotiations focused largely on developing rules and guidance elaborating the elements of the Paris Agreement, adopted at the 2015 COP, as Parties aim to complete a “Paris Rulebook” by COP 24 next year.

This is Aya’s 7th UNFCCC COP, having started in the process in 2011.  Aside from advising the Philippine delegation on issues related to forests, land use, and rights, she has also actively advocated for stronger social and environmental safeguards in climate actions related to forests, and in the Paris Agreement.

The Parabukas team with Forest Foundation Philippines Executive Director Jose Andres Canivel (left) and Board of Trustees Chairperson Antonio La Viña (3rd from left)

She was at COP 23 as part of Parabukas, a legal consultancy she co-founded, which looks at areas where law and policy intersect with climate change, the environment, and sustainable development. The Parabukas team worked with Forest Foundation Philippines to capture and convey messages on forests and climate change emerging from the myriad events, discussions and exhibits at the conference, as well as to provide legal and technical support to the Philippine delegation.

Aya obtained her law degree from the University of the Philippines and completed her LLM at Richardson, with an LLM Specialization in Environmental Law. She considers her time at UH and the law school as the starting point of her climate and environmental law work.

Philippine delegation to UNFCCC COP 23