The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

Read more about the RIA

'The global politics of climate emergency'


Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 09:00 - 17:30


Academy House


Full price €20 Concession Price (Student, retired, unemployed) €10.00 Members of the Academy contact
Registration fee includes lunch

A highlight of our calendar, this year's International Affairs Conference will include a keynote by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Mary Robinson MRIA will provide the plenary.

We invite you to join us after the conference for the launch of the journal Irish Studies in International Affairs at Iveagh House.  The names of those who have booked for the conference will be shared with the organisers of the launch in our Publications Department and at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Please see programme attached for the paper titles and speakers at this full day conference.

 2020 conference themes: Discourses and climate change; Democracy, rights and climate change; Just transitions; Pathways.

As global warming occurs more rapidly than scientists predicted, the world approaches a key threshold in the rise in the average global temperature. The demand to reverse climate change is fuelling sweeping transnational protests. Those protests have also embraced broader themes related to the sustainability of the current economic model, global trade and social justice.  In that, they question the sincerity and success of traditional international politics in tackling today’s global issues.

International policy responses to climate change have proven pitifully laboured to negotiate, difficult to enforce at the national level, and incapable of addressing the societal consequences of climate change—such as an increase in migration, or the rise of violent conflicts—and global inequalities.  By way of an illustration, achieving and maintaining the current high standards of living in economically developed countries gives rise to high emissions, the impact of which disproportionally affect populous and less developed countries, which are themselves seeking to alleviate poverty and emulate the development path of wealthy countries.

Keynote speaker: Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Plenary speaker: Mary Robinson MRIA

Mary Robinson is Adjunct Professor for Climate Justice in 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 and most recently 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.

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. She was Chancellor of the University of Dublin from 1998 to 2019. 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.

Click here to read our Data Protection Policy and Eventbrite Transparency Statement in relation to the handling of your data for booking this event. 

This conference will be live streamed and recorded.  The conference may also be photographed. Media may be used for promotional purposes, Academy's historical records, published on YouTube, Soundcloud, our website, and that of our sponsor. 

Support the future of sciences & humanities in Ireland

Make a donation