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.
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.
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.
I have recently received the positive news that the main article arising out of the research project on “How to break the gridlock in global health governance“, in which I have been involved for more than two years in my previous position with the Global Health Centre of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, has been accepted for publication in the Global Policy Journal.
The project, hosted by the Global Health Centre in collaboration with Durham University and funded by the Swiss Network for International and Development Studies (SNIS), brought together different strands of governance theories to analyse the interweaving pathways to increasingly difficult cooperation and innovation that have operated in global health governance over the past three decades. In particular, the project explored this rapidly-changing sector of global governance by relying on three case studies of significant political, social and health relevance which also exemplify different types of health threats, namely HIV/AIDS, the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Its ultimate aim was to better understand how the institutions and processes of global health governance can adapt to a new era characterised by growing insecurities, continuing to deliver positive health outcomes for vulnerable communities while also contributing to wider sustainable development objectives and provision of global public goods.
‘Governance starts and ends with the individual human person […] This is why the process of governing must always aim at generating concrete results that benefit the people on the ground. If we are not generating meaningful change in people’s lives, then we are failing.’
I look forward to the dissemination of this significant research output, on which I worked alongside David Held (Durham University), Ilona Kickbusch and Michaela Told (Global Health Centre), and Kyle McNally (Médecins Sans Frontières), as well as of the rest of the planned publications. In the meantime, you can read more about the completed project here: https://snis.ch/project/gridlock-global-health/. In addition, you can watch the final symposium of the project, held in Geneva in March 2018, in the YouTube video pasted below.
I am particularly proud of this 2018 edition, which was presented during a launch event in New York on July 16th. Like its 2017 predecessor, the new Report showcases 50 youth-led innovations that are successfully contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and seeks to provide them with a platform for increased visibility, access to funding, and expert advice. At the same time, however, the Report significantly expands on our previous efforts. Through in-depth research and analysis, the publication specifically focuses on the challenges facing young people within larger innovation systems and in the context of a rapidly changing economic landscape, providing timely recommendations for stakeholders including governments, businesses, acceleration programs, academia, and civil society.
With high-level contributions including that of Mariana Mazzucato, Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, and endorsements from the likes of Paul Polman and Forest Whitaker, among others, I am sure that the Report will provide a lot of interesting inputs for policy-makers, investors and everyone seeking to understand how to harness youth skills in support of the SDGs.
The book contains a long interview in which I discuss a range of questions relating to the actions that governments should undertake to support local communities and young farmers, invest in job creation in the agri-food sector, and promote sustainable rural development more generally:
“It is crucial, for both ecosystem resilience and economic development, to ensure that we get the issue of sustainable agricultural systems right in the next few decades. Thriving rural areas, both in developed and developing countries, hold the key to solving the challenges lying at the interface of food security, land use change, energy production, biodiversity loss, air and water pollution […].”
I would like to thank again Danielle, BCFN and the Food Tank staff for the interesting opportunity. This is a highly recommended read, and I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and feedback.