On 26 – 30 August 2019, the Erik Castrén Institute and the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) Law School are organising the Helsinki Summer Seminar on International Law on ‘International Environmental Law: Process as Decline’.

Since the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Environment and Development, international environmental law has continued to evolve at a remarkable pace. A number of treaties have been adopted to address environmental problems, including climate change, ozone depletion and biodiversity loss. In total, there are more than 3,000 multilateral environmental agreements in force. Their governing bodies have adopted thousands of decisions and created numerous sub-processes and -bodies, giving birth to an extensive and complex specialised area of international law. However, the impressive expansion of international environmental law has not necessarily led to improvements in the state of the global environment. The international climate regime illustrates starkly the effective limitations of international law-making with respect to human and environmental health protection.

The 31st Helsinki Summer Seminar on International Law seeks to address some fundamental questions of international environmental law with an emphasis on a critical theoretical perspective. Embracing the intellectual diversity of critical legal approaches and their application to the field of international environmental law, the seminar encourages international environmental law scholars to unlearn pragmatic, instrumentalist or functionalist ways of doing international environmental law, and instead, to take distance or a step backwards in constituting the field, to reveal the underlying structures of social, cultural, political, geographical, historical and legal relations that shape, constrain and influence the epistemological and ontological contours, or boundaries of international environmental law.

Confirmed Speakers include:

Associate Professor Karin Mickelson, Peter A. Allard School of Law, the University of British Columbia
Professor Jorge E. Viñuales, University of Cambridge
Professor Harro van Asselt, UEF Law School
Professor Kati Kulovesi, UEF Law School
Dr Sabaa Khan, UEF Law School


Further information on the programme and registration will be provided shortly on the event’s website.

Helsinki Summer Seminar

Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights


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