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Ateneo dean appointed arbitrator on environment for PCA in The Hague

/ 03:56 PM February 16, 2016
Dean Antonio La Viña. SARA PACIA/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

Dean Antonio La Viña. SARA PACIA/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

Antonio “Tony” La Viña, dean of the Ateneo School of Government, was recently appointed to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, The Netherlands.

La Viña, who served as spokesperson of the Philippine delegation to the 21st Conference of Parties in Paris last year, posted the news on Facebook.

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“Proud to have been appointed (upon nomination by the Philippine government) member of the Specialized Panel of Arbitrators of the Permanent Court of Arbitration for environment and natural resources based in The Hague, Netherlands,” he said.

“The secret of keeping my sanity amid the viciousness of our politics is being able to do highly technical work like this,” La Viña added.

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He was assigned to the Specialized Panel of Arbitrators.

The PCA, different from the International Court of Justice, assists in resolving disputes, between states and other bodies, pertaining to international agreements.

The PCA Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and/or the Environment require the appointment of a number of arbitrators who are experts on the issue. It also provides for the establishment of a list of scientific and technical experts who may be appointed as expert witnesses during hearings.

The outgoing Ateneo dean said he was “pleasantly” surprised, as well as “embarrassed,” by the reaction of his friends and media.

“It’s not really a big deal; essentially I am just one of around 20 experts in the world who are in a pool that can be chosen by parties to an environmental arbitration. I am certainly not moving to The Hague and is continuing to plan my post-deanship life in June which I hope to be light and easy,” he explained.

La Viña said he was pleased that he was selected and had almost forgotten about his nomination submitted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

READ: A first: ’Climate justice’ makes it to text of Paris climate pact

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“I agreed to the nomination because I figured I could help resolve disputes fairly given my 25 years of experience in this field,” he said.

“To be part of this panel is a good achievement professionally but that’s not even the reason for joining it. I genuinely just want to help people and planet,” La Viña said.

The PCA document bearing the list of newly appointed arbitrators describes La Viña as a veteran environmental and human rights lawyer and scholar.

Before becoming dean of the Ateneo School of Government, he worked for eight years with the Washington-based think tank World Resources Institute (WRI).

He was undersecretary of the DENR from 1996 to 1998 and co-founder of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center. CDG

READ: PH officially joins new High-Ambition Coalition

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TAGS: 21st Conference of Parties, Antonio La Viña, COP21, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague
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