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Universality of Climate Action ” on the occasion of the 14th ESIL Annual Conference on “‘International law and universality”, Manchester, UK, September 13, 2018.


Universality of Climate Action



H. 09:00 - 12:30


9.00 -9.05

 Welcoming Address by Paolo Davide Farah , West Virginia University (USA) and gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development (UK)


9.05 – 10.30


1st Panel: Universality of Climate Action: Implementation of the Paris Agreement and State Responsibility

Chair and Discussant: Josephine van Zeben and Daria S. Boklan


Amrisha PANDEY (University of Leeds, UK): Common Concern, State Responsibility and the International Environmental Law

 Natalie JONES (University of Cambridge, UK): Operationalizing the Paris Agreement’s Implementation and Compliance Mechanism: Will It Promote Universality of Climate Action?

Paolo Davide FARAH, (West Virginia University, USA and gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development, UK): The Role of the European Union’s Law in the International Climate Change Regime


Patrick TOUSSAINT (University of Eastern Finland, Finland and Institute forAdvanced Sustainability Studies, Germany): What Universality? Grappling with Loss and Damage from Climate Change from a TWAIL Perspective

Martin Svec (Masaryk University, Czech Republic and gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development, UK): Foreign Investment Protection Against the Backdrop of the Implementation of the Paris Agreement: Limits of the Right to Regulate


10.30– 11.00

Coffee Break


11.00– 12.15


2nd Panel: Human Rights and Climate Litigation


Chair and Discussant:

Paolo Davide Farah and Martin Svec


Jason RUDALL (University of Geneva, The Graduate Institute, Switzerland): Climate Action through International Dispute Settlement: Green Shoots or Red Herrings?


Dalia PALOMBO (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK): Business and Human Rights and Climate Change: Transnational Litigation


Alexander SOLNTSEV (People's Friendship University of Russia, Russian Federation): Human Rights Obligation of States and Climate Change (Using Example of Rights of Indigenous Peoples)

Josephine Van Zeben (University of Oxford, UK) ) and Arden Rowell (University of Illinois College of Law, USA): A New Status Quo? The Psychological Impact of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Pauline Milon (Aix-Marseille University, France and Lausanne University, Switzerland): The Right to Water. Which Governance for this Common Good?


12.15– 12:30

Concluding Remarks


Organizing Committee: 

Paolo Davide Farah (West Virginia University, USA and gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development, UK), Martin Svec (Masaryk University, Czech Republic and gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development, UK), Josephine van Zeben (Oxford University, UK), Daria S. Boklan (Higher School of Economics, Russia), Chamu Kuppuswamy (University of Herford- shire, UK)

Introduction to the Conference Univerality of Climate Action

At the UN Climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adoptedthe first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal to strengthen theglobal response to the threat of climate change. The central objective of the ParisAgreement is to hold global average temperature increase to “well below 2°Cabove preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increaseto 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”.Although the Paris Agreement does not explicitly refer to universal character ofthe international obligations enshrined, the widest possible cooperation of allcountries in climate action is understood to be essential for the success of theaccord. Countries are encouraged to cooperate in the implementation of respectivenationally determined contributions including various mitigation and adaptationactions. Countries are encouraged to strengthen efforts to improve thedevelopment of low-carbon technologies and their transfer and dissemination todeveloping countries, especially the least developed countries. In this context,international law may effectively facilitate cooperation in identifying effective adaptationpractices, adaptation needs and priorities, challenges and gaps, as wellas support the synthesis of relevant information and knowledge.Achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals will require not only an energy transition,but also an industrial revolution affecting all sectors of the economy. However,the drive to build climate-resilient societies and economies powered by cleanengines of growth has to be steered by innovation and investment. Since theoverall investment requirements are substantial, developed countries are encouragedto provide necessary financial resources to assist developing countrieswith implementation of the Paris Agreement. Countries in Asia, Africa and LatinAmerica and the Caribbean, especially, urgently need financial support to greentheir power sectors and thereby implement their national climate action plans.Importance of private sector’s engagement for successful implementation of theParis Agreement brings into play universal character of international environmentallaw (Preamble of the Paris Agreement acknowledges the importance of theengagements of all levels of government and various actors, in accordance withrespective national legislations of Parties, in addressing climate change). Universalityof international law implies its expansion beyond the inter-state sphere(See Article 7 of the Paris Agreement states: “Parties recognize that adaptationis a global challenge faced by all with local, subnational, national, regional andinternational dimensions”). However, in the context of its engagement, privatesector is facing barriers to mobilizing their resources. Thus, international cooperationshould address elaboration of long-term policies to leverage privatefinance, as well as elimination of trade barriers to trade in green goods and services. In addition, individuals may invoke norms in international law (most likelytheir human rights) to push governments to comply with their climate relatedinternational obligations.To this end we invite paper proposals that analyse the role of international lawand its role in the facilitation of international cooperation needed for the universalimplementation of the Paris Agreement, as well as its universal characterand role of individuals. The idea is to better understand particular tools of internationallaw and their potential to enhance universal implementation of climatemitigation and adaptation policies and establishing a solid regulatory environment;cooperation in low-carbon technology development, transfer and dissemination;as well as cooperation in the mobilization of public and private climatefinance. We also invite paper proposals analysing relevant case law, combininglegal theory with practical application and case studies.

The IG on International Environmental Law invites contributions addressing universality of climate action under the following themes (not exhaustively):

• Universality of climate action

• Universality as a global norm vs. Principle of common but differentiated responsibilities

• Human rights obligations in responding to climate change

• Transboundary impacts of climate change

• Human rights in climate mitigation and adaptation activities

• Role of international law in the implementation of the Paris Agreement

• Solutions to migration linked to climate adaptation and mitigation

• Facilitation of international cooperation needed for the universal implementationof the Paris Agreement Potential impacts of the U.S. withdrawal from theParis Agreement

• Role of non-state actors in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

• Long-term policies to leverage private finance

• International law as a tool to accelerate transfer of low-carbon technologies

• Regulation and governance for climate action

• International administrative law and its potential for climate action