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The world community has acknowledged that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet. The need for an effective, urgent and global response has been emphasised by both the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The widest possible cooperation of all countries is essential for successfully reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Countries are also encouraged to cooperate in the implementation of respective climate adaptation measures, especially in terms of enhancing the resiliency of developing countries and regions vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. In addition, climate action can significantly contribute to the achieving of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy. The UNEP has also recognized the security implications of climate change for fragile regions potentially leading to social tensions, upheavals and instability. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that, on average, 22.5 million people have been displaced by climate or weather-related events each year since 2008. International law has enormous potential to address the aforementioned challenges related to climate change, sustainable development, and environmental protection, since global and ambitious actions, based on international cooperation, are required. Although the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement are considered landmark achievements, their potential may be undermined by the current crisis of the traditional international law system. Raising distrust towards multilateral governance among states is represented by contestation of universal values, anti-institutional and isolationist sentiments around the world. Various stakeholders are of the opinion that international law does not keep pace with global changes, as well as changes within society. Global governance is blamed for its inability to address current challenges. Against the background of the current backlash against global governance, the IG on International Environmental Law seeks to discuss the role of international law in pursuing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. International law has the potential to cope with various global challenges, including sustainable development, climate change and environmental protection and may rebuild trust to multilateral governance. There is an undisputed momentum for sustainable development and climate change which should be maintained, in good times and even more in times of disorder and contestation. Beyond the most recent achievements of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community is already equipped with several instruments to keep advancing and implementing actions towards sustainable development, the protection of the environment, the fight against climate change and ultimately the respect of the basic human rights, that are at stake when the Earth is in danger. States have an obligation to take positive and incremental measures to safeguard the right to a clean and healthy environment. Moreover, States have a duty to prevent severe environmental pollution that could put human life and health in danger, to implement reparatory actions that might resolve past harm. Furthermore, States should not omit to act, should adopt precautionary measures and should cooperate to prevent violations of human rights. The prevention of negative effects to human life and health caused by climate change is certainly part of this State’s obligation, even more in times when these risks are dramatically accentuating.


This session will be held, in its entirety, on the 28th of February. 

8.30 – 8.45 

Welcoming Address by Paolo Davide Farah, West Virginia University (USA) and gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development (UK) and Martin Svec , Tel Aviv University (Israel) gLAWcal – Global Law Initiative for Sustainable Development (UK).


1st Panel Sustainable Development 

Chair Christina Binder, University of Vienna, Department of European, International  and Comparative Law, Austria and ESIL Vice-President

Sergio Ramiro PEÑA-NEIRA (Universidad Mayor de Chile, School of Law and Center for Research in Public Policy, Chile and Cambridge University, Lauterpacht Center for International Law, United Kingdom): Sustainable Development as a general principle of public international law and international environmental law: Evolution and contribution of the Conventions of Biological Diversity and Climate change to the idea of “traditional knowledge” 

Kishor DERE (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India): Sustainable Development 1987-2017: Ambiguity or Clarity? 

Thays Ricarte LOPES (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain): Energy Poverty, Social Metabolism and Willful Blindness 

Constantinos YIALLOURIDES (British Institute of International and Comparative Law, United Kingdom): Protecting and Preserving the Marine Environment in Disputed Areas: Seismic Noise and Provisional Measures of Protection 

Daniela PELLIN and Wilson ENGELMANN (Valley of Bells University – UNISINOS, Brazil): One of Brazil’s Problems For Compliance with The Agenda 2030: The Low Company Systems Complexity 


Coffee Break 


2nd Panel Response to Climate Change 

Chair Fulvio Maria Palombino, University of Napoli “Federico II”, Italy and ESIL Board Member

Silvia ZORZETTO (University of Milan, Department of Legal Sciences Cesare Beccaria, Italy): Risk and precautionary principle between science and politics. A conceptual analysis from a philosophical perspective

 • Justine BENDEL (University of Sheffield, United Kingdom): The challenge of climate change as a common concern of humankind to the existence of an international community 

Larry Catá BACKER (Pennsylvania State University, United States): The Obligation of States to Prevent Negative Effects to Human Life and Health Caused by Climate Change: The View from International Human Rights Frameworks 

Francesco ADAMO (University of Eastern Piedmont, Italy and Geoprogress, Italy): An International Environment Fund (IEF) for Sustainable Development for All 

Martin SVEC (Tel Aviv University, Israel and gLAWcal – Global Law Initiative for Sustainable Development, United Kingdom): Role EU’s Free Trade Agreements in the Implementation of the Paris Agreement through Promotion of Energy Efficiency and Transfer of Low-Carbon Technologies 


3th Panel Climate Adaptation 

Chair Peter-Tobias Stoll,  Georg August University of Göttingen, Germany

 • Haifeng DENG (Tsinghua University, Beijing, China and gLAWcal – Global Law Initiative for Sustainable Development, United Kingdom): Common and Symmetrical Responsibility in Climate Change: A Bridging Mechanism for Adaptation and Mitigation 

Lucia Bodišová (Pavol Jozef Safarik University in Košice, Faculty of Law, Slovak Republic): Leave No One Behind: Protection of Disabled Persons in the Event of Disasters by Non-State Actors 

Katerina UHLIROVA (Masaryk University Faculty of Law, Brno, Czech Republic): Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Environmental Protection in the Arctic: What Role for International Law? Concluding Remarks 

Organizing Committee Paolo Davide Farah (West Virginia University, John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics, USA & gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development, UK) and Martin Svec (Masaryk University, Czech Republic & gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development, UK)