International Environmental Law
Full course description
The environment knows no boundaries, while national legal systems do. It is therefore of the utmost importance to develop international law approaches in order to deal with transboundary and global environmental problems. While environmental law originally focused on local problems like smoke and noise, today we are confronted with transboundary and global environmental problems like the continuing loss of biodiversity, long-distance air-pollution, and the threat of climate change. The conservation of important nature, the sound condition of air, water and soil, and the environmental safety of products and economic activities are core concerns.
Law serves as an important instrument to improve and protect the environment. The course International Environmental Law (IEL) discusses the role of international law – and the emerging body of global environmental law - in order to protect the environment. It takes a fundamental approach which means that we will examine environmental law from the perspective of principles, environmental rights, and the choice and design of regulatory instruments. Both strengths and, unfortunately, weaknesses will be discussed. As far as international law falling short, the importance of national approaches and private initiatives will be addressed. Some specific attention will go to the European Union as a regional international organisation addressing, inter alia, environmental problems. The world-wide problem of climate change serves as the leading case of this course.
The course will be structured around the following themes: ▪ international environmental rule-making, including compliance and enforcement ▪ global environmental law ▪ environmental principles ▪ human rights and environmental protection ▪ procedural rights▪ international and EU climate law, including the choice and application of regulatory instruments to steer citizen & business behaviour.
The course will be structured around the following themes:
- international environmental rule-making, including compliance and enforcement
- global environmental law
- environmental principles
- human rights and environmental protection
- procedural rights
- international and EU climate law, including the choice and application of regulatory instruments to steer citizen & business behaviour
This intensive 3 week, 36 hour course includes:
- Weekend excursion to Brussels and Leuven (visits to the European Parliament & Parlementarium, and the European Commission to be confirmed)
- Weekend excursion to The Hague and Amsterdam (visits to the International Court of Justice, Greenpeace headquarters, International Union for the Conservation of Nature to be confirmed)
The overall objective of this course is to provide basic knowledge of the main characteristics and developments of environmental law from an international perspective. A related goal is to provide an in-depth understanding of the interrelationship between international and European greenhouse gas emissions reduction regulations.
By the end of the course, students should have basic knowledge of:
- The (limited) role of the International Court of Justice with regard to environmental problems
- The (important) role of International rule-making through multilateral environmental agreements, including compliance and enforcement
- The opportunities of and complexities surrounding environmental legal principles and the concept of sustainable development
- The value and shortcomings of current human rights arrangements for environmental protection, with a focus on procedural rights with regard to governmental decision-making in environmental matters
- The regulation of greenhouse gas emission reduction on the international and EU level
Students should have a background in law. The program is designed for students with an interest in becoming future policy and decision makers in government and businesses, working in NGOs in the field of environmental law and sustainable development, consultants, researchers and academics, corporate lawyers, barristers and practitioners.
Students will study a collection of book chapters, articles, treaty texts, court decisions and relevant websites. These materials are comprehensively provided electronically (an electronic reference list),