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.