Lawyers and Climate Change

Michael Strauss, General Counsel, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Vesselina Haralampieva, Senior Counsel, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

The growing threat of climate change will define this century and our generation more dramatically than any other challenge. It is widely recognised by scientists and environmentalists that we have a small window of opportunity to halt the warming of the Earth to prevent a collapse of the vital ecosystems and natural resources upon which modern societies are built.

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UK Environment Banking & Finance August 2023 Vol.16, No. 64, Summer 2023

Michael Strauss


Michael Strauss was appointed General Counsel at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in January 2020. In that role, Mr Strauss serves on the Executive Committee, the Crisis Management Team and various other committees of the Bank. Mr Strauss joined EBRD from private practice as a Partner at the Washington-based law firm Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP. Prior to this, he represented the United States on the Board of the Asian Development Bank and served as a Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for International Finance at the US Treasury. He has worked as a legal counsel in both the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, primarily focused on sovereign debt, institutional governance, political risk mitigation and development in Francophone Africa. He began his legal career in capital markets, equity and privatizations in the Paris, London and Washington offices of the law firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP. He has a JD from Stanford Law School (where he has also taught as a lecturer in law), a Master’s from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy (where he has taught as an adjunct professor) and a BA from Williams College. Mr Strauss, a US national, is admitted to the Bar in New York and Washington, DC.

Vesselina Haralampieva


Vesselina Haralampieva is a Senior Counsel at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London, UK. She leads the climate change and sustainability focus area at the EBRD’s legal department. Vesselina advises on matters relating to sustainable finance, ESG regulation and reporting, climate governance and energy transition. She has worked on numerous sustainability-related projects and initiatives with corporates, financial institutions, national authorities and capital markets in the EBRD region. Vesselina is the originator and strategic lead of the EBRD’s corporate climate governance facility, which supports private and public sector companies in strengthening their governance and management of climate-related risks and opportunities, and is central to the delivery of the EBRD’s Paris agreement alignment approach. Vesselina is a member of the Climate Change Working Group with the Law Society of England & Wales. She is also a member of the legal working group under the Network for Greening the Financial Systems (NGFS) and the EFRAG’s technical working group on ESRS for Governance. Vesselina is admitted to practice as a solicitor in England & Wales and as a lawyer in Bulgaria. She holds law degrees from Harvard Law School and Sofia University.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development


The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is an international financial institution which is owned by 61 countries and two intergovernmental institutions and which supports the development of market economies and democracies in countries from central Europe to central and the southern and eastern Mediterranean.

UK Environment Banking & Finance August 2023 Vol.16, No. 64, Summer 2023

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