Siobhan McDonnell


Siobhan McDonnell

Senior Lecturer
PhD Legal Anthropology B.Ec (Hons) LLB (Hons)
The Australian National University
Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Siobhan McDonnell is a lawyer and anthropologist with over 20 years of experience working with Indigenous people in Australia and Oceania on land rights, gender, and climate change issues. She is a Senior Lecturer at Crawford School of Public Policy, and has been a lead negotiator on climate change for the Vanuatu and Fiji governments.

Her commitment to the practice of engaged anthropology means that she produces research that contributes to high-impact policy and legal outcomes in the areas of: improved Indigenous land rights, improved natural resource management, consideration of climate change and resettlement issues, improved disaster management, innovative land reform in the space of legal pluralism and recognition of customary institutions, and legal outcomes that improve gender equity.

Career Highlights:

-  Pacific negotiator on Loss and Damage United Nations Framework Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC), Conference of the Parties negotiations (representing Vanuatu and Fiji) (2019-2022).

- Chief Investigator on an ARC Discovery Project on Climate Change and Gender in the Pacific (2018- 2023);

- Appointed to the G8 Taskforce advising Australia's Chief Medical Officer on COVID meansures (2020);

- Lead negotiator for the Republic of Vanuatu on climate change and regional political issues (West Papua) Pacific Island Forum and international forums (2019-2021);

- Chief Investigator on the evaluation of a $8.25 million project looking at the use of family dispute resolution in the context of family violence in Indigenous and refugee families (2017-2020);

- Awarded the Australian Anthropology prize for the best thesis in Anthropology in Australia (2017);

- Awarded the Gender Institute prize for the thesis that most contributed to the advancement of gender studies (2017);

- Chief Investigator on a project for the Solomon Islands Government to develop a land reform pathway (2015);  

- Principal drafter of a new set of land laws in Vanuatu, as well as amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Vanuatu (2013-14);

- Legal/policy Advisor Central Land Council (2003-2008);

- Project Manager Reconciliation Australia (2001-2003);

- Research Officer Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (1999-2003).

Expertise Area(s)

Legal Theory
Law and Legal Studies
Gender Studies
Development studies
Social and Cultural Anthropology
Climate Change

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