The Changing Nature of International Environmental Law: Evolving Approaches of the United States and the European Union


The aim of the Symposium is twofold. First, it aims to engage in a search for more sophisticated, nuanced and complex approaches to environmental problem solving and underlying theory of IEL based on the changing nature of the field. Following last year’s Rio+ 20 Conference, we are well placed to consider potential paradigm changers, including whether the concept of sustainable development is still the best idea around which to organize legal protection of the global environment; whether alternative concepts/models might be more effective in stopping environmental harm and improving environmental quality; whether the current preoccupation with “implementation” best serves global environmental protection; and whether international law is up to the regulatory challenges posed by continuing world population growth and increasing consumption.

Secondly, the Symposium also seeks to intensify the transatlantic debate about these important questions, as well as to bring experts from various disciplines and backgrounds to discuss cutting-edge research in the field of IEL. As President Obama begins his second term in office, it seems an opportune time to not only consider the changing nature of IEL, but also to revisit and explore anew the nature, the extent, and indeed the reality of this transatlantic divide and its significance for the development of IEL. Do IEL scholars make too much of US/EU divergences? How do these divergences manifest in specific environmental regimes? What role, if any, do academic, scholarly or theoretical traditions play in the perception of the EU/US divide? Has the Obama administration worked to widen or narrow this divide?

For all inquiries, please contact Alejandra Torres Camprubi and Timo Koivurova.

Date and Location

Friday, November 22, 2013 - 8:00am to Saturday, November 23, 2013 - 5:00pm
The Graduate Institute, Geneva
Address 1: 
Maison de la Paix
Address 2: 
Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2
Zip Code: