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On the 6 April 2019, the Environmental Law Center of University of Cologne (Germany) will host the workshop “ Globalization of Environmental Law and the Role of Emerging Economies“. The workshop is jointly organized by the University of Cologne (Germany), gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development (United Kingdom), the European Society of International Law (ESIL) Interest Group on International Environmental Law and the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Interest Group on Intellectual Property Law.


Globalization has lifted millions of people out of poverty over the past decades. At the same time, the processes that accompany globalization have had a tremendous impact on the environment. Commodification of the environment along with environmental degradation have led to an almost universal awareness of the negative effects of a changing climate.

Developing countries and emerging economies are no longer passive actors in the environmental global discourse, but are proactively and assertively shaping, advancing and furthering the globalization of environmental law. Their rationales for doing so, however, widely differ from developed countries: in these countries,  environmental degradation is a new form of ’poverty’ that curtail and undermines the right to development and, in extreme cases, the right to life.

Biodiversity protection, conservation and environmental restoration are essential for ecosystem services that support human life, including its economic components.  The developmental component (green-growth policies) may be preferred by globalizing forces, which also regard it as most suitable to cope with climate change. One example of that perspective is that of “clean industry.” According to one study, the 2018 Climatescope Emerging Market Outlook (Bloomberg NEF, 2018), emerging economies are guiding the transition to a low-carbon future. Investments, trade and technology advances are the key driving forces of this transition.

Globalizing environmental law means creating international standards for all societies.  It is not so clear who will benefit from these standards. Globalization without local concerns can endanger relevant issues such as good governance, human rights, right to water, right to food, social, economic, cultural and environmental rights, as well as climate change, energy, environmental protection and sustainable development. On the other hand, globalization can be said to lead to   the removal of barriers to the deployment and development of the clean industry and integrating developing countries and emerging economies’ priorities in global environmental law. Two elements are diminishing the global nature of environmental law. First, North-South technology transfers and trade in green goods are slowing down and, second, developed countries are increasingly using protectionist measures to protect national industries.

Similarly,green-growth policies of emerging economies mostly focused on nominal GDP growth are pushing aside the interests and needs of local and underrepresented and underserved communities, as well as of the ecological component of environmental protection.

The Globalization of Environmental Law strives for the integration of the ecological and the developmental component of environmental protection by analyzing the contribution of emerging and developing economies.

Areas of Interest

The workshop will address the contributions, the problems, the international and comparative law issues, the policies framework, and the barriers and constraints caused by the globalization of environmental law. Topics include investments in the clean industry, trade in green goods and agricultural products,intellectual property rights, traditional knowledge, technology transfer,emerging technologies such as big data, climate change, energy security, food security, conservation of biodiversity, environmental restoration, development aid and trade facilitation. Special attention will be paid to the following topics:

  • Philosophical and Historical Underpinnings of Ecological Culture, Ecological Civilization, and Environmental Protection from East and West (eco territoriality, ecological civilization, political ecology,human ecology, climate change relativism, ecological modernization)
  • Investment and Trade Policies (investments and trade facilitation measures in clean energy, trade in green goods, South-South cooperation and trade liberalization measures, protectionist measures in green goods and services, trade in agricultural products and farmers role)
  • Intellectual Property Rights and Technology Transfer (IPRs and technology transfers, IPRs and sustainable energy, IPRs and the protection traditional knowledge, IPRs and multinational companies)
  • Sound-Science Based Regulations (environmental and social impact assessment, effective communication of sound scientific decisions, rule of law and gender discrimination, climate change relativism in international and domestic law, evaluation of scientific evidence by international courts and tribunal, politicization of scientific committees and international scientific organizations )
  • Indigenous People and Local Communities (human rights and the environment, environmental rights and access to justice, indigenous people and traditional knowledge, collaboration with local governments and cities in environmental protection measures)
  • Food Security, Safety, Production and Quality (sustainable food and agriculture, rural farmers and environmental protection,securing food production in developing countries, food security and natural resources management)
  • Biodiversity Protection, Conservation and Restoration (the role of the state in biodiversity, best practices and regional experiences in the restoration of biodiversity, biodiversity as a holistic approach to environmental protection, sustainable utilization of genetic resources, access to genetic resources and benefit sharing)
  • Emerging Technologies and Innovation (emerging technologies and their Implications for sustainable development, big data, block-chain technology, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and smart cities,digital solutions to improve energy efficiency, green or low carbon cities model between developed and developing countries, social networks and new technological channels)
  • Non-State Actors (multinational corporations, aid agencies, multilateral development banks, environmental non-governmental organizations,indigenous people, ‘green’ lobbies group)
  • Economic Integration and Cooperation (Promotion of environmental protection in regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements, regional and transnational environmental governance, China's Belt and Road Initiative towards sustainable development and sustainable energy)

Venue and Date

The workshop will take place at the premises of the University of Cologne (Germany), on 6 April 2019.


Applications should be submitted via e-mail by March 15, 2019 to all of these three e-mail addresses:,,

Please include the following information:

  • The author’s name and affiliation;
  • A 500-700-word abstract [Word file or PDF];
  • The author’s CV, including a list of relevant publications, if applicable;
  • The author’s contact details, including e-mail address and phone number;
  • Whether the author is an ESIL member or ASIL member

Co-authored papers are also welcomed.


The workshop will be divided into sessions, each chaired by the discussant with participation of three to four speakers.


All Members of the ESIL Interest Group on International Environmental Law and of the ASIL Interest Group on Intellectual Property Law, the members of other ESIL IGs and ASIL IGs and also the non-ESIL and non-ASIL members (ESIL or ASIL membership will be required if the abstract is selected) are invited to submit abstracts.

Publication Opportunities

The organizers have publication plans for the presented papers. The precise format of publication will be discussed during the workshop. The Organizers envisage to publish a Book collection (Edited by Kirk W. Junker and Paolo Davide Farah) in the Routledge Publishing (New-York/London) multidisciplinary gLAWcal book series on “Transnational Law and Governance” or in HEE - Journal - The Journal of Health, Environment, & Education : An International Online Journal or other equally relevant SSCI or US Law journals.

Organizing Committee

Paolo Davide Farah (West Virginia University, USA and gLAWcal - Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development,UK & ESIL Board Member and Convener of the ESIL IG on International Environmental Law)

Kirk W. Junker (Chair, US Law; Director of International Master of Environmental Sciences Programme, University of Cologne, Germany)


The workshop is jointly organized by the Environmental Law Center of University of Cologne (Germany), gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development (United Kingdom), the European Society of International Law (ESIL) Interest Group on International Environmental Law and the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Interest Group on Intellectual Property Law.