New book chapter in volume ‘Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through sustainable food systems’

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It is now possible to buy the edited volume ‘Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Through Sustainable Food Systems‘, published by Springer Nature and edited by Riccardo Valentini, John Sievenpiper, Marta Antonelli and Katarzyna Dembska. Through an interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder approach, this book tries to offer a comprehensive analysis of the main challenges in delivering sustainable food systems that can contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development across all regions and along the entire food chain. It is a truly unique endeavour, bringing studies of innovation and agri-food technology together with policy perspectives, discussions of the role of advocacy, and much more.

The volume contains a chapter authored by me together with Siamak Sam Loni, Kayla Colyard and Sienna Nordquist (all fellow members of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network). The chapter analyzes the interplay between existing youth-led contributions to implement Sustainable Development Goal 2 (‘No Hunger’) and the challenges imposed upon young people by unsustainable agricultural practices and food systems. On the one hand, the chapter examines the negative impacts that unsustainable food systems have on rural youth, including in terms of rural outmigration, youth unemployment and rural poverty. On the other, it focuses on young people’s actual contributions to sustainable food system transformations, as well as on the importance of addressing the barriers facing young farmers and entrepreneurs in their countries and communities.

Read more ▶️ https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030239688.

New book chapter: EU biodiversity law and its health impacts

In recent years, and with growing intensity since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the concept of environmental health has emerged as a fundamental prism through which to analyse the complex interplay between global health and environmental law. Environmental risks, ranging from soil, water and air pollution to waste management and land use change, are now estimated to contribute to one quarter of the global disease burden, amounting to at least 13 million deaths per year according to assessments conducted by the World Health Organization (1).

Debates proliferate in multilateral fora ranging from the World Health Assembly to the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, covering aspects including the environmental determinants of health, the social-ecological dynamics of infectious disease emergence, and the direct and indirect health benefits arising from the fight against environmental degradation. As a consequence, the need to harness synergies between these two areas of global policy-making also becomes more urgent.

For this reason, I was especially happy to join Prof Riccardo Pavoni as a co-author for a chapter in the upcoming volume ‘Environmental Health in International and EU Law‘, edited by Prof Stefania Negri. The chapter particularly deals with the health impacts of current European legislation in the field of biodiversity, and the possibility for a more effective integration of human health and well-being within its provisions. It addresses the progressive incorporation of  health considerations in the Habitats and Birds directives and in the Invasive Alien Species regulation, the use of health-related arguments in the biodiversity jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the linkage between environment and health in the application of the precautionary principle.

The volume, which will be published by Routledge in its ‘Routledge-Giappichelli Studies in Law‘ series at the end of the year, is now available for pre-order at this link.

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(1) The WHO estimate is based on the following assessments: Prüss-Üstün A, Corvalán C. Preventing disease through healthy environments: towards an estimate of the environmental burden of disease. Geneva: World Health Organization 2006; and Prüss-Üstün A, Wolf J, Cornavalán CF, Bos R, Neira MP. Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks. Geneva: World Health Organization: 2016.

Editor of the 2019 Youth Solutions Report

For the third year in a row, I had the privilege of serving as the editor of the 2019 Youth Solutions Report, the flagship publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network‘s global youth initiative (SDSN Youth).

The Report, which identifies 50 youth-led innovations that are accelerating global progress on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has been released today, at the 74th UNGA High-Level Side Event on Social Business, Youth and Technology.

This year, the selected solutions have been chosen by an advisory panel of 24 leading experts across all SDG sectors and geographical regions, among a pool of applicants that included over 4,300 submissions from 174 countries. Winning projects were particularly focused on introducing innovative approaches to lifting vulnerable communities in developing countries out of poverty, with solutions targeting areas such as digital health and education, financial inclusion, innovation in agricultural practices, sustainable livelihoods, and circular economy.

Like its 2017 and 2018 predecessors, this year’s Youth Solutions Report provides selected initiatives with a powerful platform to secure funding, build capacity, communicate experiences, and scale efforts. In addition, the new edition includes an in-depth analysis of the role of youth-led innovation in achieving the specific SDGs that have been reviewed at the July session of the 2019 High-Level Political Forum, focusing on the role of young people in improving access to quality education, promoting decent work for all, reducing inequality, combating climate change, promoting peaceful societies, and supporting a renewed global partnership for sustainable development.

One key aspect of the Report consists of its discussion of cross-cutting challenges to youth-led innovation and the importance of seeing young people as a fundamental component of the broader innovation systems that are required to implement the 2030 Agenda.

To read the Report, visit http://www.youthsolutions.report/2019report.

Collaboration with University of Eastern Finland/UN Environment Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreements

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I am happy to announce that, as part of my role with the Jean Monnet Module on European Union Law and Sustainable Development, I will be one of the co-organizers of the prestigious University of Eastern Finland / United Nations Environment Course on Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

Pursuant to the agreement reached between EULawSD and UEF, the EULawSD Module (with the support of the University of Siena and its Department of Law) will host the 2019 edition of the course, which will be themed ‘Emerging Issues in International Environmental Law‘ and will take place in Siena from 14 to 24 October 2019. The two-week, high-profile course is entering its 16th year, having welcomed over 400 participants from 122 countries since 2004. It reaches Italy for the first time, having been previously hosted in Finland (eight times), South Africa (twice), Kenya, Grenada, France, China and Thailand.

The ultimate aim of the UEF/UN Environment course is to improve environmental negotiation capacity and governance worldwide by transferring past experiences in the field of international environmental law to future negotiators of environmental agreements. In addition, the course aims to provide a forum to foster North-South cooperation and to take stock of recent developments in the negotiation and implementation of multilateral environmental agreements and in diplomatic practices in the field.

Each edition concentrates on one specific theme under international environmental law. Through interactive lectures, workshops, and excursions, the course equips participants with basic skills in international environmental law-making, diplomacy and negotiations related to that specific thematic area. It is intended for experienced government officials engaged in international environmental negotiations, but other stakeholders (such as representatives of NGOs and the private sector, researchers and academics in the field of international environmental law) are also eligible.

I am honoured of this opportunity to work with the University of Eastern Finland and UN Environment. This collaboration will further EULawSD’s objective of establishing new partnerships and networks focused on the teaching and study of international and European law for sustainable development. I wish to express my gratitude to the Finnish colleagues for giving EULawSD this high-profile opportunity for expanding its activities and worldwide impact.


In order to learn more about the course and apply, visit https://www.uef.fi/en/web/unep

Gridlock, innovation and resilience in global health governance

As anticipated a few weeks ago, over the course of 2018 I had the pleasure of co-authoring an article on ‘Gridlock, Innovation and Resilience in Global Health Governance‘ with David Held, Ilona Kickbusch, Michaela Told and Kyle McNally. The article, which was accepted for publication by the Global Policy journal last December, is finally available in Early View (and it is also open access).

Bearing the fruits of a two-year research project supported by the Swiss Network for International Studies, the article explores pathways of innovation and resilience in global health governance in the face of a changing multilateral order, and tries to understand what the remarkable evolution of the global health system can tell us us about the future of multilateral cooperation on global public goods.

You can read it here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1758-5899.12654.

New EJIL:Talk! blog post on a planetary boundary for biosphere integrity in international law

In this era of mass extinction, international biodiversity law is at a crossroads. As the debate on a post-2020 global biodiversity framework intensifies, calls are growing for the Convention on Biological Diversity to set an ambitious overarching goal to fight biodiversity loss and find innovative ways to link such a goal with national targets and commitments.

In a two-part blog post just published on EJIL:Talk!, the blog of the European Journal of International Law, I argue that the planetary boundary framework first developed in 2009 by the Stockholm Resilience Centre could represent an important tool in this quest to identify more substantive legal obligations applying to biodiversity within national jurisdiction. In addition, I suggest four ways in which the planetary boundary for biosphere integrity could be incorporated in international biodiversity law, ranging from institutional arrangements within the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to normative developments at the level of emerging principles of international law.