Current Developments

(Un-)Precedented?

The relevance of the Urgenda case to the Children vs. Climate Crisis Communication

The communication brought by sixteen children before the Committee on the Rights of the Child to address the effects of states’ inaction on climate change seems at first glance unprecedented and foreign to our common ideas about international environmental law. Yet, as the Urgenda case shows, a rights-based approach to climate change is not wholly unheard of. Individual communications to the Committee on the Rights of the Child              The fact …

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Current Developments

More than just a scientific report

The global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services as scientific and political tool

In May 2019, headlines worldwide suddenly became concerned with biodiversity. News sites and journals all quoted a report from the United Nations and its alarming conclusions that a million species could go extinct in the near future. In other terms, approximately one out of eight species, both plant and animal, is threatened with extinction. This massive extinction will be accompanied by a global ecosystem collapse and the consequent loss of …

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Current Developments

International climate change adjudication: A means to amplify voices of the global south?

Traditionally, the UN Climate change regime has been premised on an intergovernmental negotiations paradigm where political actors play the dominant role in the development of norms. In this post, I argue for using international adjudication as a supplementary tool to complement international negotiations. Adjudication, which entails the participation of impartial, third‑party decision makers, might help us overcome blind spots of negotiations by redistributing argumentative burdens and providing an expressive function …

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Current Developments

Future of whaling vis-à-vis Japan’s withdrawal from IWC

Japan conducted its first successful commercial whale hunt on July 1, 2019 since thirty years, against significant resistance from the international community, after it had formally withdrawn from the International Convention on the Regulations of Whaling (ICRW) in December 2018 by exercising the ‘opting out’ clause. The recommencement of hunting poses pertinent questions for international law: What legal impact will the withdrawal have on the work of the International Whaling …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Playing with Fire

Is the aid pledged by the G7 an offer Brazil’s President Bolsonaro cannot refuse?

“Our house is burning”, French President Macron found graphic words to address the wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, which have reached threatening levels in the past weeks. 80,000 fires this year alone have resulted in the loss of approximately 350,000 hectares of rainforest. Notably, Brazilian President Bolsonaro is known to support the ‘slash-and-burn’ agriculture, which is responsible for most of the fires, and only initiated a two month ban of …

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DiscussionKick-off

Human rights and the international protection of biodiversity – A promising alliance (Part II)

The first part of this post established the intrinsic connection between human rights and the protection of biodiversity, looked at human rights and the environment in international public law in general and examined the conceptual relationship between biodiversity and the environment. The second part centers around the current approach of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment which promises nothing less than a change of paradigm on …

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DiscussionKick-off

Human rights and the international protection of biodiversity – A promising alliance (Part I)

For a long time, the legal and political endeavours to protect humans from violations of their basic rights seemed in no way connected to the preservation of biodiversity. In the past, this paradigm has been reflected by indifferent international responses to biodiversity issues: Whereas the promotion and protection of human rights has in recent decades become a major concern of the international community and the relationship between human rights and …

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Current Developments

Stretching Abstract Reasoning to its Limits

The IACtHR and the Right to a Healthy Environment

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued the Advisory Opinion (AO) of 15 November, 2017 (OC-23/17), on the subject matter of the environment and human rights. Its wide-ranging features already sparked a lively debate in the blogosphere (see here, here and here). Whereas some welcome the Court’s engagement with environmental rights, others are either skeptical of the way in which the AO deals with criteria of state responsibility in human …

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Current Developments

Defending the Defenders

Assessing LAC-P10, the new treaty to protect environmental activists in Latin America

On 3 March 2016 Honduran indigenous activist Berta Cáceres was assassinated. She was a coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and one of the leading voices in her people’s fight against Agua Zarca Dam at the Río Gualcarque. Her activism had earned her the Goldman Environmental Prize and years of threats and intimidations by state and non-state actors, which led to the Inter-American Commission …

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DiscussionKick-off

A right to tourism – and the duty of hosting the leisure class

Some thoughts on the recent Convention on Tourism Ethics

The movement of bodies across borders attracts significant media and academic interest. This interest is often directed at specific forms of movement, such as refugees and economic migration. Another form of movement of bodies is having an important environmental, cultural, social and economic impact, albeit more quietly in the human rights realm: that of tourism, most especially mass tourism. Leisure tourism is not widely recognized as a serious area of …

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