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On 31 May -1 June 2019, National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia) will host the Conference “ International Law in Times of Trade Wars and Global Environmental Problems: Protection or Protectionism? “. The conference is jointly organized by  National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia), gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development (United Kingdom), the ESIL Interest Group on International Environmental Law, and the ASIL Interest Group on Intellectual Property Law.


States possess permanent sovereignty over their natural resources. The natural resource sector occupies a significant part of world’s economy, representing more than 20% of global international trade and 50% of total EU investments. These economic interests are supposed to be balanced with sustainable development, a fundamental goal of the World Trade Organization. Under WTO rules, members can adopt trade-restrictive measures aimed at protection of the environment, as long as these measures are not protectionist. However, recent growth of protectionist trade measures has resulted in a global trade crisis. Between mid-October 2017 to mid-May 2018, trade-restrictive measures from G20 economies have doubled compared to the previous review period.

Trade conflicts negatively influence global cooperation, which in turn undermines Sustainable Development Goals, especially those connected with environmental protection, preservation of natural recourses and spread of environmental technologies. At the same time, some commentators have argued that isolationist policies might slow globalization and, thereby reduce the negative impact of economic activities on the environment.

Given the global nature of environmental and trade-restrictive problems the international community needs a coordinated response to these developments. The conference aims at exploring the contribution of international law in both fields of trade law and environmental law to the prevention of known and emerging risks from trade-restrictive measures in the context of environmental protection. The debate will also include national security interests in the field of environmental protection under the conditions of current crisis in international multilateral trade system.

Areas of interest

The conference will address the international legal aspects of the intersections between trade-restrictive measures and environmental protection with regard to food safety and food security, energy security, climate change, trade in natural resources and trade in intellectual property rights. Special attention (not exhaustively) will be paid to the following topics:

  • Environmental protection as a legitimate objective for trade-restrictive measures;
  • Food safety and food security in the context of trade-restrictive measures;
  • Energy security under conditions of trade wars;
  • Fight against climate change and trade-restrictive measures;
  • Trade in natural resources in the light of SDGs and trade-restrictive measures.
  • Trade in intellectual property rights in the light of SDGs and trade-restrictive measures.

Venue and dates

The conference will take place at the premises of the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia on 31 May – 1 June 2019.

Structure of the conference

The conference 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.


Applications can be submitted via e-mail to the following addresses: ; ; , by 31 January 2019. 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.

Publication opportunities

The organizers have publication plans for the presented papers. The precise format of publication will be discussed during the conference. The Organizers envisage to publish a Book collection (Edited by Daria Boklan and Paolo Davide Farah) in the Routledge Publishing (New-York/London) multidisciplinary gLAWcal book series on “Transnational Law and Governance”

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)

Daria S. Boklan (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia & Convener of the ESIL IG on International Environmental Law)