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20052024

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Personal profile

Biography

Dr Shawkat Alam is a Professor of International and Environmental Law  at Macquarie Law School. Dr Alam holds an LLB with Honours from Rajshahi University, an LLM from Dhaka University and a PhD from Macquarie University.

Dr Alam's primary teaching and research expertise lies in the areas of international law, international environmental law, trade and environment law, human rights and sustainable development. His research focuses on the opportunities and challenges faced by developing economies to achieve sustainable development by examining international legal, institutional and policy frameworks. 

His PhD thesis, Ecologically Sustainable Development and Free Trade: Pressing Issues for Developing Countries examined the impact of international and regional trade law on the environment through the lens of the Global South, where he has since contributed and has become a leading voice in this area of international trade law.

Scholarly outputs

Dr Shawkat Alam has produced several monographs, journal articles and other scholarly literature relating to international trade law and sustainable development, human rights and governance. Books, produced solely and in collaboration, including The Law and Politics of Transnational Forest Governance (forthcoming, 2024), Investment Protection, Human Rights and Biodiversity Conservation (forthcoming, 2024), Implementation of Sustainable Development in the Global South: Strategies, Innovations and Challenges (forthcoming 2024, Hart Publishing), International Natural Resources Law, Investment and Sustainability (Routledge, 2017), International Environmental Law and the Global South (Cambridge University Press, 2016), International Trade Law and the WTO (Federation Press, 2013), Routledge Handbook of International Environmental Law (Routledge, 2012), Globalisation and the Quest for Social and Environmental Justice: The Relevance of International Law in an Evolving World Order (Routledge, 2010) and Sustainable Development and Free Trade: Institutional Approaches (Routledge, 2007). Dr Shawkat Alam’s body of work continues to influence the role of international trade law in implementing sustainable development and achieving effective governance within the Global South and marginalised communities.

Prof Alam has published in leading journals including  Netherlands International Law Review, Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, Climate and Development, Journal of Business Ethics, Asian Journal of International Law, Journal of World Investment and Trade, Journal of Environment and Development, Marine Policy, Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law, and Journal of World Trade Law.

Research interests

a.  International trade and the environment

Dr Shawkat Alam’s primary research interest lies in the intersection between international trade law and the environment, from the perspective of developing countries. Climate change and environmental conservation are critical goals for the global community. Climate change not only undermines human development, but developing countries often do not possess the capacity to undertake climate change adaptation and are disproportionately affected by the existential threats associated with sea level rise, droughts and extreme weather events. Nevertheless, efforts to ‘green’ international law runs the risk of preventing developing countries’ ability to grow their way out of poverty and to meet their immediate needs of poverty alleviation. This balance, between intergenerational and intragenerational equity, lies at the heart of Dr Shawkat Alam’s research. His research investigates how international trade law and environmental protectionism can impact developing countries’ to effectively participate in the global marketplace and focuses on how capacity building efforts, governance and legal reform can drive change for a more sustainable future that leaves no marginalised communities behind.

b. Sustainable development

Dr Shawkat Alam’s research considers how sustainable development can be implemented within developing and least developed countries (LDCs) through various philosophical and sectoral lens. Dr Shawkat Alam has written extensively on sustainable development. In 2008, Dr Shawkat Alam released Sustainable Development and Free Trade: Institutional Approaches which examined the intersection between trade law and sustainable development, and the role that global and supra-national institutions play in facilitating trends and inequities for the Global South. Since then, Dr Shawkat Alam has continued to advance the dialogue on sustainable development through publications such as ‘Investment Protection, Human Rights and Biodiversity Conservation: In Search of a Balance to Achieve Sustainable Development’ (forthcoming, 2023), ‘Technology Assistance and Transfers in International Environmental Law’ (2021), ‘The Neglected Cornerstone of Sustainable Development: Differential Treatment and Equity in the Climate Change Regime’ (2021), ‘International Natural Resources Law and Sustainable Investment: Principles and Practices’ (2018), ‘Natural Resource Protection in Regional and Bilateral Investment Agreements: In Search of an Equitable Balance for Promoting Sustainable Development’, ‘Sustainable Development versus the Green Economy: The Way Forward?’.

c.  Public Polcy, Governance and Capacity Building

Transparency and accountability are core values within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As developing countries improve their capacity to engage in the global market, perform climate change mitigation and adaptation and realise human development, the apparatus of government and the wider stakeholder community which constitute decision-making must also undergo transformation to support long-lasting change. Dr Shawkat Alam has written extensively on the topic of governance reform. Literature such as ‘The Law and Politics of Transnational Forest Governance (forthcoming, 2024), ‘The Development-Environment Nexus: Promises and Perils of Global Governance’ (2021), ‘Convergence of Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance in Weak Economies: The Case of Bangladesh’ (2014) and ‘Regional Environmental Governance: An Evaluation of the ASEAN Legal Framework for Addressing Transboundary Haze Pollution’ (2014) showcase Dr Alam’s work in improving governance in developing countries to realise and support their sustainable development aspirations.

Other research interests include public international law, international environmental law, WTO Law, Law of international foreign investment, human rights law, and globalisation and the Global South.

Teaching

Professor Shawkat Alam has over twenty years of experience as an academic teaching law in 19 undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Prior to his engagement at Macquarie University Law School, Dr Shawkat Alam lectured at Rajashahi University, and Dhaka University, Bangladesh in their LLB programs. At Macquarie Law School, Dr Alam has convened several key units including International Law, Law, Lawyers and Society, International Human Rights Law, International Trade Law as well as specialised units including International Environmental Law, Trade and Environment Law, Local Government Law, Environmental Law and Corporate Regulation, and the Law School’s Advanced Legal Research programs (Legal Research unit, Journal unit and Special Interest Project). He has also taught in interdiciplinary units including Business Law (Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance), Politics of International Human Rights Law, and Politics of International Law (Department of Politics and International Relations).

Dr Alam  demonstrated his leadership in teaching policy and practice through curriculum development, HDR supervision and as a mentor for junior colleagues and students. His teaching is research-led and has been recognised both within the University and externally by  peers and through his international engagement. 

Teaching Philosophy and Practice: Prof Alam's teaching philosophy incorporates three interconnected strategies: active student-focused learning and teaching, cultivating the teaching-research nexus, and distributed leadership.

  • LAWS5060- Environmental Law

  • LAWS8055- Environmental Law and Sustainable Develoopment 
  • LAWS8052- Trade and Environment Law
  • LAWS8015- International Law

  • LAWS 8089- International Trade Law
  • LAWS 5010-International Trade Law

Teaching and Leadership

Dr Shawkat Alam has proven leadership capabilities and has actively engaged in several internal and external leadership roles as well as previous Dean of Macquarie Law School. Since 2012, Dr Shawkat Alam was the Director for the Centre for Environmental Law and formulated the Centre’s strategic direction, research agenda and community engagement in its formative years. More recently, Dr Shawkat Alam contributes to the Centre for Environmental Law as a member of its Advisory Board. In addition, Dr Shawkat Alam was Director for Postgraduate Programs, Director of Higher Degree Research, and Director of International Engagement at Macquarie Law School. Dr Alam also served as Co-Editor in Chief for the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Journal, Co-Chair for the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law’s Teaching and Capacity Building Committee. Prof Alam is currently on the Editorial Board of the Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law (RECIEL).

Research student supervision

Professor Shawkat Alam has an outstanding track record in HDR recruitment, supervision and completions. He has attracted a large number of high quality domestic and international HDR candidates to the Law School.  Prof Alam has successfully implemented a holistic model of research engagement that brings together key aspects of academic work – teaching, research, supervision and engagement – in a complementary fashion. His approach to supervision has yielded the most productive HDR supervision practice in his department, with an exemplary record of timely completions. A number of his candidates have received awards and have pursued impressive academic and professional careers. He was recognised in 2012 by a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Higher Degree Research, and received awards from the Faculty of Arts for Excellence in Supervision in 2012 and 2017, Building an Inclusive Research Culture in 2011, and Encouraging Candidate Publications in 2010. 

Current Supervisions 

Primary Supervisor 

  • Zara Bending, Thesis Title, 'Governing the International Illegal Trade in Wildlife: How the law of treaties and rules of the WTO contend with the trade in rhino horn' (PhD).
  • Paul Govind, Thesis Title, 'Towards an Ethic of Responsibility in Planning Law' (PhD).
  • Asanka Edirisinghe, 'Integration of a Legal Personhood and Rights of Nature Approach in the Legal Framework of Srilanka for the Protection of Rivers against Pollution' (PhD).
  • Ethan Beringen, 'Plenty of Fish in the Sea? Examining the Interation between International Fisheries Law and International Biodiversity Law for the Anthropocene Context' (PhD).
  • Jiliang Chen, ' Acheiving Coservation and Sustainable Use in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ): Lessons from Regional Frameworks and Best Practices' (PhD).

 Recent PhD Completions (Principal Supervisor)

  • Rhys Manley, Thesis Title, 'Human Development Implications of Trade in Financial Services: A Capability Approach' (PhD).
  • Md. Saif Uddin Ahammad, Thesis Title, 'Implementation of Trade Facilitation Framework under the WTO: An Assessment of National Regulatory Framework in Bangladesh' (PhD).
  • Umme Sharaban Tahura, Thesis Title, 'Facilitating Access to Justice: Managing the Cost of Litigation in the Subordinate Courts of Bangladesh'(PhD).
  • Sheikh Mohammad Towhidul Karim, Thesis Title, 'Improving Patient Safety in Healthcare in Bangladesh': Opportunities and Challenges' (PhD).
  • Md. Abdul Mannan, Thesis Title, 'Law, Policy and Institutional Frameworks for Civil Service Reform in Bangladesh: Challenges and Opportunities' (PhD).
  •  Abdullah Al Arif, Thesis Title, 'Achieving Sustainable Management of Marine Fisheries in Bangladesh: A Legal and Policy Analysis' (PhD).
  •   Badiul Alam, Thesis Title, 'Governance of Multilateral Climate Funds and their Access through Legal, Policy and Institutional Frameworks: Opportunities and Challenges for Bangladesh' (PhD).
  •  Najnin Begum, Thesis Title, 'Participatory Forest Governance for Sustainable Forest Management: Opportunities and Challenges in Bangladesh' (PhD). 
  • Kirsten Davies, Thesis Title, 'HUMAN-NATURE: Can Traditional Customary Law Contribute to Climate Change adaptation? A South Pacific Study' (PhD).
  • Peerapon Jaderojananont, Thesis Title, 'The Cooperative Management and Conservation of Transboundary Heritage Sites in the Southeast Asia Region' (PhD).
  • Sheikh Noor Mohammad, Thesis Title, 'An Evaluation of the Integration of Ecosystem Based Approach in Legal and Policy Framework for the Sustainable Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystem: A Case Study of the Sundarbans of Bangladesh' (PhD).
  • S M Atia Naznin, Thesis Title, 'Judging the Right to Housing: Towards an Appropriate Judicial Remedy in Litigations on Forced Slum Evictions in Bangladesh' (PhD). 
  • Muhammad Towhid Islam, Thesis Title, 'The TRIPs Agreement of the WTO: Implications and Challenges for Bangladesh' (PhD).
  • Sharmin Jahan Tania, Thesis Title, 'The Interface between Market Access and Sustainable Development: Implications for Sustainable Development for Least Developed Countries' (PhD).
  • Mia Mahmudur Rahim, Thesis Title, 'Corporate Social Responsibility: Small and Medium Enterprises, Challenges and Options' (PhD).
  • Yuri Suzuki, Thesis Title, 'Regional Legal Framework on ABS (Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing) in Small Islands Developing Countries in the South Pacific Region' (PhD).
  • Tanzim Afroz, Thesis Title, 'Legal Framework for Coastal Zone Management in Bangladesh' (PhD).
  • Pradip Royhan, Thesis Title, 'The Interface between the Environmental and Health Related Requirements and Market Access: The Challenges for the Least Developed Countries' Market Access under WTO' (PhD).
  • Charu Sharma, Thesis Title, 'Civil Liability for Environmental Damage: An Analysis of Environmental Claims under Private and Public Law in India' (PhD) (completed).
  • Shireen Daft, Thesis Title, 'The Relationship between Human Security Discourse and International Law: A Principled Approach' (PhD).
  • Laely Nurhidayah, Thesis Title, 'Transboundary Haze Pollution in ASEAN Region: An Assessment of Regional and National Legal Framework in Indonesia' (PhD).

PhD, Masters of Research completions as Associate Supervisor

  • Ummey Tahura, Thesis Title, 'Case Management in Reducing Backlog: Potential Adaptation from the NSW District Court to the Bangladeshi Civil Trial Courts' (MPhil).
  • Hau Nguyen, Thesis Title, 'Vietnamese Corporate Governance Mechanisms Through Transplanting Australian Corporate Governance' (PhD).
  • Nadira Sultana, Thesis Title, 'A Critical Exploration of Policy and Practice Pertaining To Climate Justice, Sustainable Development And Gender Mainstreaming: A Case Study of Bangladesh' (PhD).
  • Nakib Mohammad Nasrullah, Thesis Title, 'Corporate Social Responsibility in Bangladesh: The Concerns of Private Enterprises' (MPhil).
  • Harold Baroi, Thesis Title, 'The Right to Information Act: Issues & Challenges of its Implementation in Bangladesh', (PhD).
  • Rizwanul Islam, Thesis Title, 'Trade Cooperation within SAARC and Possibility of Integration: A Historical, Legal and Economic Perspective' (PhD).
  • Trish Blazey, Thesis Title, 'The Value of Carbon Sinks in Mitigating Green House Gas Emissions' (PhD).
  • Shima Zaman, Thesis Title, 'Mainstreaming Human Rights Issues in the WTO Agreements: A New Era to Enforce Human Rights Obligation in International Trade' (PhD).
  • Jakerul Abedin, Thesis Title, 'International Watercourses Law and the Utilisation of Fresh Water Resources in the Ganges Basin' (PhD).
  • Natalia Rodriguez Uribe, Thesis Title, 'Rights-Based Environmental Protection in Colombia: Implementation Challenges in Environmental and Cultural Diversity Issues' (PhD).
  • Mostafa Mahmud Naser, Thesis Title, 'Climate Change and Forced Migration' (PhD).
  • Iman Prihandono, Thesis Title, 'Violation of International Human Rights Law by TNCs in Indonesia: The Prospect of Transnational Litigation' (PhD).

Research engagement

Research Projects, Capacity Building Training and Research Consultancy

Dr Shawkat Alam has an extensive history providing subject matter expertise (SME) and consultancy services for several high value projects and capacity building initiatives including Executive Trainings. Successful partnerships include capacity building initiatives with the Australian Government (DFAT), the Government of Bangladesh, the Republic of Indonesia, the Republic of the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand  as well as several non-government organisations including  the British Council, Bangladesh and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) . These programs include building the capacity for developing countries to engage effectively in the international trade regime, building the capacity for middle and senior government officials and policy makers to improve their governance concerning natural resource management, and building the ability for decision-makers to draw the linkages between trade, sustainable development and human rights. This experience is informed by Dr Alam’s project management capabilities and deep collaborative partnerships with public and private stakeholders, enabling him to inform decision-makers and solve complex problems holistically with clarity and precision.

Community engagement

Dr Shawkat Alam has established a deep network of peer researchers and research institutions, professional bodies, decision-makers and government authorities, private sector stakeholders and non-government and community based organisations. Dr Shawkat Alam has an extensive fingerprint within South and South East Asia, and has developed strong linkages with the Government of Bangladesh, the Republic of Indonesia, as well as fellow Australian, American and European universities and research institutions. 

Education/Academic qualification

Law and Legal Studies , PhD, Ecologically Sustainable Development and Free Trade: Pressing Issues for Developing Countries, Macquarie University

20002005

Award Date: 21 Apr 2005

External positions

Visiting Scholar , Singapore Management University

4 Feb 202421 Feb 2024

Visiting Researcher , The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN)

10 Apr 202310 May 2023

Visiting Professor , University of Hamburg

1 Dec 202214 Dec 2022

Visiting Professor , Singapore Management Univ, Singapore Management University

5 Nov 202212 Nov 2022

Senior Academic Fellow, Universitas Airlangga

1 Sept 20221 Oct 2022

Member, Editorial Board, Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law (RECIEL) 

2018 → …

Co Editor in Chief, IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Journal

20172019

Co-Chair, IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Teaching and Capacity Building Committee

20162018

International Trainer for the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law “Train the Teachers” Program, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Academy of Environmental Law

2016

Member, IUCN Academy of Environmental Law TEACHING & CAPACITY BUILDING COMMITTEE , IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Teaching and Capacity Building Committee

20142016

Member, Management Committee, Australian Branch, International Law Association

20102012

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