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


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

EULawSD Webinar with Guido Schmidt-Traub

On March 1st, in my position of Programme Manager for the the Jean Monnet Module on European Union Law and Sustainable Development (EULawSD), I had the pleasure of hosting the first session of our EULawSD Webinar Series 2018 on YouTube.

The EULawSD Webinar Series complements the activities of the EULawSD Jean Monnet Module, which is coordinated by Prof. Riccardo Pavoni (Department of Law, University of Siena) and co-funded by the European Commission for the period 2017-2020. Each webinar is aimed at fostering a lively public debate on the role of the European Union as a key actor in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and offers all interested citizens the opportunity to engage with leading experts and practitioners in the fields of European Union law and governance, sustainability science, international economics, and many more.

EULawSD’s first guest was Dr. Guido Schmidt-Traub, Executive Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).  One of the world’s leading experts on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda, Dr. Schmidt-Traub engaged with the audience to discuss the current trends and scenarios for their implementation in the European context, the challenges of financing and monitoring of progress, and the role that the European Union can play in the achieving sustainable development in third countries. I wish to thank him deeply for his participation in the webinar, which can be watched on EULawSD’s YouTube Channel.

For more information on the future project activities of the EULawSD Module, visit

Jean Monnet Module proposal selected by the European Commission

Exciting news! The European Commission’s Education, Audiovisuals and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) has selected a Jean Monnet Module proposal I wrote with Prof. Riccardo Pavoni (University of Siena) for co-funding under the Erasmus+ Programme (Call EAC/A03/2016).

Among the 833 proposals received by the EACEA for Jean Monnet teaching and research activities, 141 were selected for funding. The project activities will now be hosted by the Department of Law of the University of Siena and implemented over the course of three years.

EULawSD seeks to explore the ever-expanding corpus of European Union Law relating to sustainable development, with an emphasis on its interactions with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations in September 2015. The module will consist of an annual 40-hour course primarily aimed at students of the Single Cycle Degree Programme in Law at the University of Siena, but also open to students from the Political Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences departments. The course will be complemented, on an annual basis, by a keynote opening lecture, a final expert roundtable, a dedicated website, and a series of webinars.

I am honored to be a co-recipient of such a prestigious grant, among the hundreds of applications received by the EACEA, and I look forward to my involvement as manager of the module’s activities despite my distance from Siena.

The full list of selected proposals can be found here.

SDSN Youth at the SDSN Mediterranean Conference

A few hours removed from the wrap-up of the 2nd SDSN Mediterranean Conference, I want to take the opportunity to congratulate all current members of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Youth Network on doing a wonderful job.

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A few hours removed from the wrap-up of the 2nd SDSN Mediterranean Conference, I want to take the opportunity to congratulate all current members of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Youth Network on doing a wonderful job to prepare and cover our session on “The Role of Youth for Sustainable Development“, not just the keynote speakers (Dario Bettaccini, Fulya Kundaklar, Şila Temizel) but many others who could not be present and whom I’d like to thank heartily for working tirelessly on the launch of this initiative and allowing me to be part of such a wonderful team for the foreseeable future, including (but not limited to) Siamak S Loni, Tim Dobermann, Michelle Huang, Melissa Peppin, and Ian Lieblich.

I also look forward to engage with executives and leaders of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and in particular those who attended the Conference (Maria Cortés-Puch, Holger Kuhle and Achim Dobermann), so as to make sure that SDSN Youth and SDSN work in close cooperation to support the adoption of a bold post-2015 agenda in New York later this year.

Finally, I applaud the organizing team from the Università degli Studi di Siena, who backed the idea of a session on youth involvement in the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals and accomplished the feat of managing a perfectly successful event here in Siena.

P.S.: As SDSN Mediterranean unveiled the outcome document of the Conference, the “Siena Declaration for Sustainable Mediterranean Agriculture and Food Systems”, I welcome the inclusion of many poignant references to the role of Universities and Youth for sustainable development, which -I hope- is also due to the glaring success of our session on the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Youth Network’s proposal:

“4. UNIVERSITIES can play a pivotal role in tackling MED Agri-Food challenges not only through research and promotion of solutions, but also through education. They should provide students with sustainable development knowledge and skills useful for promoting principles and tools of integrated sustainability, awareness on the meaning and role of SDGs and SD research and execution. These skills are relevant also in the labour market. This last aspect is of particular importance for the Mediterranean area and, above all, for Mediterranean Agri-Food businesses (especially the smallest ones), which often suffer from a serious lack in expertise and knowledge on sustainable development principles and practices.

5. STUDENTS should be at the core of future sustainable development initiatives. Students at any stage of their career should be made aware of the role of Sustainable Development principles and tools, including SDGs, to tackle Mediterranean environmental and societal challenges.

6. BUSINESS world should adopt a different approach to sustainability. Recent data and statistics highlighted once again the leading role of the Agri-Food sector in Mediterranean economies, as well as on youth employment. To deal with new needs and contribute to implement SDGs, however, businesses should take advantage of the opportunities given by research on sustainable agriculture and business models.”


Dispatches from the ground. February 2015

Hi everyone,

sorry for the long hiatus I took from updating this blog. A whirlwind of academic deadlines and personal issues kept me from being active as much as I would have liked but hey, there are a bunch of good news that I am going to share with you during the next few weeks, so be on the lookout for them!

As of now, I am glad to announce that for the last three months I have been teaming up with a wonderful group of individuals from around the world (including fellow Italian and friend/colleague Dario Bettaccini) to work on the launch of SDSN Youth, the Global Youth Chapter of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. This is going to be an extremely interesting experience, and whatever position I end up assuming within the project, I am enthusiastic about the idea of promoting the role of youth for sustainable development in the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals, which are currently being discussed in preparation of their eventual adoption (due September 2015).

Regarding the operations of SDSN, it is also fitting to remind you that the University of Siena (the SDSN Regional Center for the Mediterranean Region) is hosting the 2nd SDSN for Mediterranean Conference, themed “Solutions for Agri-Food Sustainability in the Mediterranean” and featuring the likes of Jeffrey D. Sachs and Achim Dobermann, on March 5-6. On that occasion, a special session will be held to celebrate the global launch of SDSN Youth, something that -it goes without saying- makes me particularly proud of the work we have been conducting in the last two years to establish Siena as a hub for sustainability and youth engagement with the help of Professors, students and the Administration as a whole. I will definitely keep you updated on the programme (which you can nonetheless find here: http://www.sdsnmedconf.unisi.i) and be available for questions on student participation through my e-mail address

In the meantime, thanks for having me again.


The Social Dimension of Environmental Sustainability (document)

Poster of the seminar “Health, Social Inclusion, Sustainable Development” (Siena, 20 May 2014)

On May 20, 2014 I had the pleasure of featuring as a speaker along with Tommaso Diegoli (Project Manager of MED Solutions) and Gianluca Breghi (Managing Director of Fondazione Sclavo) during the seminar “Health, Social Inclusion and Sustainable Development. Global and Regional Challenges“, co-hosted by Greening USiena and Fondazione Sclavo in partnership with MED Solutions and the University of Siena. As the title of the event suggests, covered topics included the progress on the MDGs, the transition to the SDGs, the push to achieve health for all, social sustainability as a pillar of sustainable development, perspectives for the Mediterranean region and so on.

My talk (“The Social Dimension of Environmental Sustainability”), in particular, focused on the mutual relationship that exists between social and environmental sustainability, analyzing the importance of a healthy bio-physical environment for livelihoods and societies and presenting examples of such an interaction throughout areas ranging from climate change to the plight of natural resources during armed conflicts.

Below you can find slides from my presentation (in pdf format), the content of which mainly relied on data and reports from UNSDSN, UNDP, UNEP, IPCC, FAO, TEEB. It was divided in the following sections:

a) Section 1: What exactly is social sustainability?
b) Section 2: Why “the social dimension of environmental sustainability”?
c) Section 3: Interactions: the Millennium Development Goals
d) Section 4: Interactions: the impact of climate change
e) Section 5: Interactions: armed conflicts and violence
f) Section 6: Conclusions

Download the document here: