4 April 2019 from 16:15 to 17:15

"Unsustainable International Law": inaugural lecture of Seline Trevisanut

Academiegebouw in de lente met mensen erbij en een bloembak

In her inaugural lecture, professor Seline Trevisanut will develop ideas and aims at aligning our way of acting with our way of thinking, when it comes to international law and sustainability.

Duurzaam denken is nog niet duurzaam doen” (Thinking sustainably is not acting sustainably). That insight again made headlines in the Volkskrant of 7 March 2019.  Many lawyers and policy-makers have been thinking sustainably for a while now, but have they also acted sustainably? More specifically, can international law support sustainable action by relevant actors, both public and private? The answer to these questions is twofold:

First, for too long, sustainability issues have been confined to environmental law. But current challenges like climate change are not merely and not primarily environmental problems. They are rooted in our economic and social ways of life. 

Second, core concepts that shape international law have come into existence without any consideration for sustainability. Take, for instance, the concepts of sovereignty, jurisdiction, immunity, and state responsibility. Those concepts sustain patterns of behaviour which are not sustainable. They allow prioritising non-sustainable interests. 

Seline Trevisanut
Seline Trevisanut

At the same time, not everything is gloomy. Other international law concepts—precaution, common but differentiated responsibility, social and economic human rights— have the potential of bringing about sustainable change. But it is necessary to first change the way we think about the core concepts of the legal framework, to render the core of the legal system sustainable in order to support sustainable action.

During the inaugural lecture on 4 April 2019, the Chair of International Law and Sustainability at Utrecht University School of Law, Professor Seline Trevisanut, will develop these ideas and aims at aligning our way of acting with our way of thinking.

Start date and time
4 April 2019 16:15
End date and time
4 April 2019 17:15
Seline Trevisanut
International Law and Sustainability
Entrance fee
Free of charge