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“Sharing Responsibility in International Environmental Law: Fundamental Contradictions"

Prof Andre Nollkaemper, Dean and Professor of Public International Law, Amsterdam Law School, University of Amsterdam.

26 April 2017


Collins Suite, Collins Building, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

It has become commonplace to say that the responsibility to protect the environment is shared between multiple actors, rather than resting on one actor alone. Much of modern international environmental law indeed is based on this premise. However, the idea that responsibility should be shared hides fundamental complexities and contradictions. The lecture will explore one of such contradictions. On the one hand, shared responsibility stands for the idea that all those who contribute to environmental degradation, exhaustion of natural resources, and so on, should be part of the solution. This proposition may express a sense of fairness and effectiveness. On the other hand, shared responsibility tends to lead to arrangements in which responsibility is divided over so many actors, that the responsibility of each individual actor is diluted. Sharing responsibility then may lead to ‘blame games and buck-passing’. The lecture explores how the contradiction has manifested itself in international environmental law and what ways have been found to resolve it.

The guest lecture will be followed by a panel featuring Prof Ellen Hey, Professor of Public International Law, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Prof Elisa Morgera, Professor of Global Environmental Law at the University of Strathclyde Law School and Dr Francesco Sindico. Reader in International Environmental Law at the University of Strathclyde Law School.


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