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Climate, Nature, and Conflict: The Unspoken Interactions That Require Urgent Actions

General Conference Keynote Lecture

Tuesday 13 August 2024, 16:15 – 17:30 BST
Live streamed from University College Dublin


Speaker – Mary Robinson
Former President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Chair of the Elders

Register FREE

In this year's General Conference Keynote Lecture held as part of our House Series, Ireland's first woman President Mary Robinson explores the complex links between the climate crisis and global conflicts, emphasising the urgent need for long-view leadership.

The lecture

The rapidly worsening climate and nature crisis confronts us with an existential challenge. Yet at the same time, we face a world of increasing insecurity and renewed conflict which, in addition to direct and grave humanitarian impacts, exacerbates the crisis facing the natural world and diverts much-needed financing and political attention.

Within conflicts, the environment itself is increasingly under direct attack, while the significant emissions driven by conflict, in the production and use of arms, are not captured in global agreements. As efforts to develop greener energy sources progress, it is clear that many essential elements of the new technologies needed are sourced from the most conflict-ridden environments on Earth.

In her keynote address at our General Conference, Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Chair of The Elders, will explore these complex interactions and the need for long-view leadership to forge a pathway to a better future.

Free and open to all

All instalments in our House Series are FREE to attend and open to scholars from ECPR member and non-member institutions.

Mary Robinson


Mary Robinson is Adjunct Professor for Climate Justice at Trinity College Dublin and Chair of The Elders. She served as President of Ireland from 1990–1997 and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997–2002. She is a member of the Club of Madrid and the recipient of numerous honours and awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the President of the United States Barack Obama.

Between 2013 and 2016 Mary served as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy in three roles; first for the Great Lakes region of Africa, then on Climate Change leading up to the Paris Agreement and in 2016 as his Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate. Her Foundation, the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, established in 2010, came to a planned end in April 2019.

A former President of the International Commission of Jurists and former chair of the Council of Women World Leaders, she was President and founder of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative from 2002–2010 and served as Honorary President of Oxfam International from 2002–2012. She was Chancellor of the University of Dublin from 1998 to 2019.

Mary Robinson serves as Patron of the International Science Council and Patron of the Board of the Institute of Human Rights and Business, is an Ambassador for The B Team, in addition to being a board member of several organisations including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the Aurora Foundation. Recently she became joint Honorary President of the Africa Europe Foundation.

Mary’s memoir, Everybody Matters was published in September 2012 and her book, Climate Justice - Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future was published in September 2018. She is also co-host of a podcast on the climate crisis, Mothers of Invention.

How to participate

The House Series is FREE to attend and open to scholars from all institutions. Registration is required and you'll need a My ECPR account to register.

To participate:

  1. Register for the House Series
  2. The lecture will be automatically added to your itinerary
  3. Your itinerary is available through My Events in MyECPR
  4. A link to join the session will appear in your itinerary 15-minutes before the start of the session


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