Dr Janine Felson

Research Fellow

Janine Felson is a research fellow with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. Her primary focus is on integrating global policy for sustainable development, climate change and ocean through new or improved financial frameworks and governance structures.

Prior to joining MSSI, Janine served as a senior diplomat in the foreign service of the Government of Belize. She started her diplomatic career in 1998 as the first legal counsel in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Over her two decades of public service, she worked extensively on international legal matters at national and global levels including the World Trade Organization Banana Dispute, the Belize-Guatemala territorial differendum, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. As Belize's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Janine developed an integrated and coherent approach across the development, environment and security agendas on behalf of small island developing states (SIDS). She advocated for this approach in her leadership roles in the Caribbean Community and the Alliance of Small Island States at key multi-lateral negotiations including the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, and the inter-governmental negotiations for a legally binding instrument on conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

From 2019-2020, Janine was the principal negotiator and political strategist on behalf of the Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States. She coordinated the successful launch of the first small island developing states' climate forum, Placencia Ambition Forum, convened in April 2020 which advanced the message of accelerating climate action in the context of COVID-19 recovery. She also coordinated the elaboration of the debt and access to finance campaign for SIDS. In her role as an alternate Board Member to the Green Climate Fund, she paid special attention to the policies and modalities necessary to enable SIDS improved access to climate finance.    She has aimed to enhance the global understanding of the unique challenges of SIDS in the face of climate change and the rapid deterioration of ocean resources as well as biodiversity at large through political advocacy, technical research, and broad stakeholder engagement.

Janine received her juris doctor from the University of Wisconsin School of Law in Madison, Wisconsin and her Certificate of Legal Education from the Norman Manley Law School in Kingston, Jamaica. She is admitted to the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Bar Association of Belize. In 2007, the Government of Belize conferred upon Janine the title of Ambassador.

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