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DROP is aimed at researching “sustainable development law and policy” focusing on reconciling the tensions between environmental sustainability, economic development, and human welfare with a holistic view of current legal, political, economic, social and cultural developments. It integrates public international law (i.e. international economic, social, and environmental law), regional and national law and policy with the goal of enhancing the rule of law around the world and reducing poverty in developing nations.

DROP promotes well-functioning national, regional and global law movements and justice institutions and projects. International organizations and national governments bound by the rule of law are essential in guaranteeing economic growth, political stability, environmental sustainability, social and just development and the eradication of poverty in the world. Any diplomatic outcomes related to sustainable development and the environment (i.e. climate change, water conflict, food security, energy safety, natural disasters etc.) will remain unimplemented without adherence to the rule of law, without open, just and dependable legal orders.

DROP intends to synthesize global knowledge relevant to the legal empowerment agenda, promote the legal empowerment agenda at national, regional and global level, assist emerging economies (i.e. BRICS) development, serves as a global networking platform and cross-fertilizes global and local experiences. It conducts research, develops and provides policy recommendations and tools that will guide policymakers in the implementation of reforms.

DROP intends to function as focal point, mainstreaming knowledge relevant to sustainable development law and research outputs from different perspectives and sciences for the benefit of prospective experts.

DROP falls under the institutional and academic control of the Dean of the Faculty of Law and enjoys institutional support from the Vice-Rector (Research and Innovation, Prof Eugene Cloete and administrative support by the Water Institute at the same University.

DROP is in full alignment to the Universities HOPE Project. It inter alia works in close cooperation with the Law Faculty’s Ciucci Centre for Law and Social Development (CLSD), the NEPAD Water Centres of Excellence Programme, the Biofuels Research Chair, the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies and the Centre of Excellence for Green Economy Transitions (CEGET), the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies, the Centre for applied Ethics (Units for Environmental Ethics, Bioethics and Business Ethics and Public Integrity, the School of Public Leadership (Sustainable Development Programme), the Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement, the Centre for Chinese Studies and the Centre for Transdisciplinarity, Sustainability, Assessment, Modelling and Analysis.