Pedro Cisterna Gaete

Thesis title: The principle of equity in the climate law regime and the adaptation of the law: the case of informal settlements.


Pedro Cisterna Gaete is a Chilean qualified lawyer. He obtained his LLB Law degree from Universidad de Concepcion and he holds an LLM in Global Environment and Climate Change Law from the University of Edinburgh. Currently, Pedro is undertaking his PhD in Law at the University of Edinburgh.  

Before starting his studies at the University of Edinburgh, Pedro worked in the Chilean 'TECHO' for almost four years (2013-2017). TECHO, is a Chilean NGO focused on working with informal settlements communities in Chile and Latin America. Here, Pedro worked as the Legal Adviser of the southern Chilean zone. Then, he became the Regional Director of the organisation in the Bio Bio Region, working with more than 20 informal settlements communities across the region. Finally, Pedro was appointed as the National Deputy Social Director, managing the national advocacy strategies of the organisation, developing public policy proposals for the Congress and the Government, seeking to improve the situation of informal settlements in Chile. This role also involved frequent presentations in different Congress Committees and meetings with various Ministers, advocating for the rights of the inhabitants of informal settlements.

In 2017, Pedro obtained a BECAS-Chile scholarship to study an LLM in Global Environmental and Climate Change Law at the University of Edinburgh (2018-2019), which he obtained with distinction.  His LLM dissertation titled 'Intragenerational equity in international climate change law and implications for domestic application' proposes the implementation of the intergenerational equity principle at the national level. 

In June 2019, while finishing his LLM, Pedro obtained a BECAS-Chile scholarship for studying a PhD, starting in September 2019. His PhD research focuses on the process of adapting the law in protecting the vulnerable urban populations from the effects of climate change. This research involves the interactions and analysis of different legal fields, named, climate law, property law and urban law. 



LLB (Universidad de Concepcion, Chile)

Admitted to legal practice in Chile.  

LLM in Global Environment and Climate Change Law with distinction (University of Edinburgh)


Undergraduate teaching

Guest Lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Biobio, Chile in the course ‘Climate Change and Engineering’ (2019-2021). 

Research summary

Climate Law, property law, planning law, urban poverty, climate litigation, climate finance

Current research interests

I am interested in the legal responses to climate change challenges, especially regarding adaptation. Also, the interaction of different legal fields, namely climate law, property law and urban law, in improving the protection of vulnerable communities to climate change. I usually follow the latest steps in climate litigation, such as the interactions between torts law and climate law to protect ecosystems threatened by extractive industries. Or judicial claims invoking the intra and intergenerational equity principle, identifying the new roles that states should take to confront climate change.

Past research interests

My research interests have been mainly focused on the relationship between environmental law and climate law and vulnerable populations, mostly indigenous people and the urban poor. In addition, biodiversity and native forests are also part of some of my previous research.

Affiliated research centres

Papers delivered

Author, "Ambición y equidad intergeneracional: Un comentario al reciente fallo del Tribunal Constitucional Alemán en Neubauer, et al. v. Germany (Ambition and the intergenerational equity principle: a comment to the decision of the German Constitutional Court in  Neubauer, et al. v. Germany) . Available in: , May 2021.

  • Author, Human  rights  and  climate  change  adaptation  in  protecting  urban poor, Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI) Conference, Pretoria, 3-

5 September 2020

•    Author,  'The  essentiality  of  the  common  but  differentiated  principle  in  the international    climate    change    regime', published    in    the Environmental   Law   Journal,   University   of   Chile,   Chile,   June   2020. DOI/URL:

•    Author, Challenges of the New Urban Agenda, Global Justice Academy Blog, University                  of                  Edinburgh,                  2018,                  URL:

•    Co-author  of  “Right  to  adequate  housing  in  Chile:  a  view  from  the  informal assessment (slums)”, article published in the “Annual report on human rights, Chile  2016,  Centre  of  Human  Rights,  Universidad  Diego  Portales”  URL:


•    Author  and  exhibitor  of  “Popular  preventive  action  as  a  restraint  tool  to  the mono cultivation forest expansion”, exposed in the Students Seminar of Law and Environment, Universidad de Chile, 2013.

•    Author   and   exhibitor   of   “Situation   of   conservation   and   environmental preservation in Chile, with a view to the bill that establishes the Biodiversity Service and protected areas”, article published in the book “Second contest of the  conference  of  university  seminar  of  law  and  environment.  Selected articles”, Universidad Diego Portales, 2013