Thursday, April 7, 2016

Conference: Smart Mixes in Relation to Transboundary Environmental Harm

On April 15, 2016, the Amsterdam Center for International Law, the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, and Maastricht University will hold a conference on "Smart Mixes in Relation to Transboundary Environmental Harm," in Rotterdam. The program is here. Here's the idea:

The increasingly complex nature of transboundary environmental problems, such as global warming, deforestation, fish stock depletion, oil pollution and biodiversity loss, and the risks associated with such problems, pose a fundamental challenge to policy makers worldwide, namely that of designing an effective global environmental governance system. States have traditionally resorted to the conclusion of international agreements as a means of targeting environmental problems, thus giving rise to a rich body of international law. Nonetheless, over the last years doubts have been voiced about the capacity of these agreements to effectively counter environmental problems.

In response, we have seen a profound expansion in the development of alternative regulatory instruments that can complement international agreements. In part, these alternatives reflect a turn to the market as a force through which environmental goals can be achieved. States themselves increasingly resort to combinations of command-and-control, economic and informational instruments. Partly related to the turn to the market, we also have seen an emergence of a network of private actors, often acting across borders, which engage in the creation of environmental initiatives, either beyond or in collaboration with the State. Thus, international environmental law nowadays operates in tandem and in certain instances interacts with private or hybrid initiatives existing on all levels of governance.

Aim of the Conference

The conference will seek to present the latest research results on how alternative modes of regulation (hybrid and private) and different forms of regulatory instruments (command-and-control, market-based, suasive) can complement the operation of international agreements. The conference aims at presenting and discussing: 1) the results of the ‘Smart Mixes’ project; and 2) the results of other research that has been conducted on mixes that have supplemented or could be considered for supplementing international environmental agreements. It also aims at identifying specific policy recommendations that can be based on these outcomes of research.