Stockholm Declaration conference: link to video of Shelton keynote and panel on international environmental law’s future

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A superb third panel and keynote speech concluded “The 1972 Stockholm Declaration at 50: Reflecting on a Half-Century of International Environmental Law” conference that we at the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law at the University of Georgia School of Law hosted on October 8.

Following on our prior posts outlining the first and second parts of our daylong conference, we’re pleased in this post to recap the final segment, video of which is available here. (The full series, meanwhile, is available here.)

It begins with the third panel of the conference, entitled “International Environmental Law’s Future,” and moderated by MJ Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor at Georgia Law (pictured above, middle right). Joining her were 4 panelists (pictured clockwise from bottom center): Lakshman D. Guruswamy, Nicholas Doman Professor of International Environmental Law at Colorado Law; Jutta Brunnée, Dean, University Professor, and James Marshall Tory Dean’s Chair at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in Canada; Cymie Payne, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Ecology and the School of Law, Rutgers University; and Rebecca M. Bratspies, Professor and Director of the Center for Urban Environmental Reform at CUNY Law.

Together, they consider the part of Principle 1 of the Stockholm Declaration that declares:

“[Humankind] bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations.”

In light of that statement, panelists examined the major successes and failures of the last half-century of international environmental law, and, imagining a “2022 Stockholm Declaration,” they considered how to prioritize environmental protection efforts going forward.

Then follows “Stockholm Plus 50: Glass Half Full, Half Empty, or Shattered?,” the keynote address by Dinah L. Shelton, Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law Emeritus at George Washington University School of Law. In it, Shelton sounds an urgent call to action to ensure protection from the worst effects of climate change, especially for the most vulnerable populations.

Kimberlee Styple, GJICL Editor-in-Chief, then delivers closing remarks.

Stockholm Declaration conference: link for “Anti-Racism, Decolonization, Environmental Protection” panel video

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High-level speeches and other events at COP26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties now under way in Glasgow, Scotland, underscores the timeliness of “The 1972 Stockholm Declaration at 50: Reflecting on a Half-Century of International Environmental Law” conference that we at the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law at the University of Georgia School of Law hosted on October 8.

And so, following on last week’s post outlining the first part of our daylong conference, we’re pleased in this post to recap the second segment, video of which is available here. (The full series, meanwhile, is available here.)

Featured in this segment is the day’s second panel, “Anti-Racism, Decolonization and Environmental Protection,” moderated by Harlan G. Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law (pictured above, top right). Joining him were 4 panelists (pictured clockwise from middle right): Sumudu Anopama Atapattu, Director of Research Centers and Senior Lecturer at Wisconsin Law; Robin Bronen, Executive Director of the Alaska Institute for Justice; Usha Natarajan, Edward W. Said Fellow at Columbia University; and Sarah Riley Case, Boulton Junior Fellow at McGill University Faculty of Law in Canada.

Together, they consider the part of Principle 1 of the Stockholm Declaration that declares:

“In this respect, policies promoting or perpetuating apartheid, racial segregation, discrimination, colonial and other forms of oppression and foreign domination stand condemned and must be eliminated.”

In view of that statement, panelists ask inter alia: whether and to what extent the substantive protections of international environmental law addresses environmental racism; whether and to what extent indigenous peoples, racial and ethnic minorities, or formerly colonized peoples can access, use, or affect the development of international environmental law; and whether and to what extent international environmental law has incorporated the concept of consent by affected communities.

Stay tuned for our video recap of the final conference segment.

Stockholm Declaration conference: link available to video of conference start, including panel on rights-based approach

Miss the opportunity to see our “The 1972 Stockholm Declaration at 50: Reflecting on a Half-Century of International Environmental Law” live on October 8?

No worries: We at the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, University of Georgia School of Law, are happy to provide videolinks.

This daylong conference addressed, in the words of MJ Durkee, the Georgia Law faculty member who conceptualized it,

“one of the foremost challenges of our time: What the international community can do about the crises facing our environment and the link between environmental health and human flourishing.”

Durkee, who is Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of our Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor, further noted the timeliness of the conference:


“The Stockholm Declaration, in addition to launching the field of international environmental law 50 years ago, was also among the first to articulate the idea of a human right to a healthy environment, and to elevate this as a matter of world concern. Just today, in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council has been deliberating over a resolution recognizing that this human right to a healthy environment has matured into an internationally recognized human right.”

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Also in this segment is the first of three panels, entitled “The Rights-Based Approach to Environmental Protection,” and featuring a global array of panelists: Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, pictured at bottom center; Tyler Giannini, Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Harvard Human Rights Program and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law, top right; Kate Mackintosh, Executive Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights, UCLA Law, middle left; Katie O’Bryan, Lecturer, Monash University, Australia, middle right; and moderator Diane Marie Amann, Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law, top left.

Her welcome, as well as introductory remarks from Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge and Eva Hunnius Ohlin, Senior Advisor for Energy and Environment at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C., appear in the first of three conference video segments, available here.

Principle 1 of the Stockholm Declaration begins:

“Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being …”

Considering that claim in relation to “humankind,” panelists explored a range of issues, including: the utility, or not, of the rights-based approach; comparison of the rights-based approach with others, including the rights of nature and harmony with nature; and the recent civil-society promulgation of a definition of the international crime of ecocide, with the aim of amending the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to include this crime.

Interested in other segments of our Stockholm conference? Stay tuned.

(Update: The full series of links is available here.)

“Stockholm Declaration at 50,” October 8 Georgia Law journal conference, will feature experts in international environmental and human rights law

“The 1972 Stockholm Declaration at 50: Reflecting on a Half-Century of International Environmental Law” is the title of the daylong conference to be hosted Friday, October 8, 2021, by the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, with additional cosponsors including the American Society of International Law.

As described in the concept note:

The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment produced the “Stockholm Declaration,” an environmental manifesto that forcefully declared a human right to environmental health and birthed the field of modern international environmental law. In celebration of its 50th anniversary volume, the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law is convening a symposium to reflect on the first 50 years of international environmental law and the lessons this history may hold for the future.

The symposium will include a keynote address by Dinah L. Shelton, Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law Emeritus at George Washington University School of Law whose distinguished service in areas of human rights and environmental law includes President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Also featured will be scholars and practitioners from around the world, taking part in panel discussions and breakout sessions: on the rights-based approach to environmental protection; on anti-racism, decolonization, and environmental protection; and on the future of international environmental law. As indicated in the schedule below, the panels reflect themes in Principle 1 of the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, which states in full:

“Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations. In this respect, policies promoting or perpetuating apartheid, racial segregation, discrimination, colonial and other forms of oppression and foreign domination stand condemned and must be eliminated.”

The conference will take place on Zoom, though students and a limited number of registrants may attend in person. Details and registration here. The full schedule follows:

Welcome and Introduction by Georgia Law’s Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, Dean, MJ Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor, 9 a.m.

Panel 1: The Rights-Based Approach to Environmental Protection, 9:10 a.m. (followed by breakout session at 10:25 a.m.)

Recalling Principle 1’s statement that humankind “has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being,” the following panelists will explore how and in what contexts the Stockholm Declaration’s rights-based approach to environmental protection is useful, as well as limitations of this approach:

  • Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation
  • Tyler Giannini, Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Harvard Human Rights Program and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law
  • Kate Mackintosh, Executive Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights, UCLA Law
  • Katie O’Bryan, Lecturer, Monash University, Australia
  • Moderating will be Diane Marie Amann, Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law

Panel 2: Anti-Racism, Decolonization, and Environmental Protection, 10:50 a.m. (followed by breakout session at 12:05 p.m.)

Recalling Principle 1’s statement that “policies promoting or perpetuating apartheid, racial segregation, discrimination, colonial and other forms of oppression and foreign domination stand condemned and must be eliminated,” the following panelists will explore how international environmental law addresses, or fails to address, environmental racism:

  • Sumudu Anopama Atapattu, Director of Research Centers and Senior Lecturer at Wisconsin Law
  • Robin Bronen, Executive Director of the Alaska Institute for Justice
  • Sarah Riley Case, Boulton Junior Fellow at McGill University Faculty of Law in Canada
  • Usha Natarajan, Edward W. Said Fellow at Columbia University
  • Moderating will be Harlan G. Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law

Panel 3: International Environmental Law’s Future, 1 p.m. (followed by breakout session at 2:15 p.m.)

Recalling Principle 1’s statement that humankind “bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations,” the following panelists will explore what are the successes and failures of the last 50 years of environmental law, as well as the key international environmental law challenges for the next 50 years:

  • Rebecca M. Bratspies, Professor and Director of the Center for Urban Environmental Reform at CUNY Law
  • Jutta Brunnée, Dean, University Professor, and James Marshall Tory Dean’s Chair at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in Canada
  • Lakshman D. Guruswamy, Nicholas Doman Professor of International Environmental Law at Colorado Law
  • Cymie Payne, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Ecology and the School of Law, Rutgers University
  • Moderating will be MJ Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor at Georgia Law

Introduction of keynote by Adam D. Orford, Assistant Professor at Georgia Law, followed by keynote address, entitled “Stockholm Plus 50: Glass Half Full, Half Empty, or Shattered?” and delivered by Dinah L. Shelton, Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law Emeritus at George Washington University School of Law, 2:40 p.m.

Closing remarks by Kimberlee Styple, Editor-in-Chief of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, 3:15 p.m.

Besides ASIL, many units of the University of Georgia are cosponsoring this event. They include the International Law Society, Environmental Law Association, Georgia Initiative for Climate & Society, Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, School of Public & International Affairs, Center for International Trade & Security, Global Health Institute of the College of Public Health, School of Social Work, and College of Environment & Design.

Registration and details on the program and accommodations here.