Dr Sabaa Ahmad KHAN (Canada)

Sabaa’s research focuses on the interaction between environmental, trade and labour law systems in the context of transboundary movements of ICT commodities and wastes, global recycling chains and Arctic climate change.

PhD in Law/International Environmental Law

Current position: Director General at David Suzuki Foundation, Quebec and Atlantic Canada

Research focus: international environmental and trade law, Arctic governance, short-lived carbon pollutants, climate change law

Sabaa holds a Doctorate in Law with specialisation in International Environmental Law from the Faculty of Law at McGill University where she was an O’Brien Doctoral Fellow of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and Member of the Labour Law and Development Research Laboratory.

Sabaa is Principal Investigator of the Academy of Finland funded project ‘Forging an Arctic future through international chemicals control’ (2018-2021) and Consortium Researcher of the Academy of Finland and Strategic Research Council funded project ‘Sustainable drug discovery and development with end-of-life yield’ (2018-2023).

Sabaa’s international and national advisory mandates include appointments to the NAFTA Advisory Council on the Environment (Government of Canada, 2018), the Joint Public Advisory Committee of the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (2017-2019, elected Chair: 2019), and the United Nations Expert Group on Legal Frameworks for Chemicals and Waste Management (2017-2018).

CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2012):

McGill University, Canada

Research focus: public-private partnerships in asset recovery and e-waste management, social and environmental responsibility in pyrometallurgy and metals supply to the IT sector

Electronic waste, or “e-waste”, has become the fastest growing waste stream in the 21st century – and perhaps the scariest. These end-of-life devices, built and marketed for obsolescence, generate uncontrolled quantities of toxic waste.

If not in landfills, much of the worlds e-waste – up to 50 million tonnes of it – ends up in Asia and Africa, which have come to be known as “dumping grounds” for the developed world's obsolete electronics. Environmental lawyer and Green Talents winner Sabaa Ahmad Khan, currently completing her LL.D. on regional and national policies of e-waste management and asset recovery, is taking a close look at emerging e-waste industries in India and Ghana, and their international linkages. “Unfortunately many electronic commodities that are sent to West Africa labelled as second-hand equipment are actually waste, or very close to becoming waste,” says Khan. “While providing access to technology is essential to human development, so is enabling societies to safely manage technologies once they become obsolete. It is a global environmental responsibility.” The environmentally sound recycling of e-waste is a critical component to reducing the overexploitation of natural resources, yet it continues to be a significant challenge in developing countries.

Through her interdisciplinary investigations into the global e-waste dilemma, Khan hopes to make an impact in the area of extended producer responsibility policymaking and lifecycle management.

The jury, impressed by Khans exhaustive research on the nexus of regulatory frameworks and technical considerations on the e-waste issue, noted the growing importance of governance-focused research like Khan's in sustainable resource management practices.