Established in 2010

About MEPIELAN eBulletin

MEPIELAN E-Bulletin is a digital academic and practitioner newsletter of the MEPIELAN Centre, launched in 2010.  It features insight articles, reflective opinions, specially selected documents and cases, book reviews as well as news on thematic topics of direct interest of MEPIELAN Centre and on the activities and role of MEPIELAN Centre. Its content bridges theory and practice perspectives of relational international law, international environmental law and participatory governance , and international negotiating process, thus serving the primary goal of Centre: to develop an integrated, inter-disciplinary, relational, context-related and sustainably effective governance approach creating, protecting and advancing international common interest for the present and future generations. Providing a knowledge- and information-sharing platform and a scholarly forum, the Bulletin promotes innovative ideas and enlightened critical views, contributing to a broader scholarly debate on important issues of international common interest. The audience of the Bulletin includes academics, practitioners, researchers, university students, international lawyers, officials and personnel of international organizations and institutional arrangements, heads and personnel of national authorities at all levels (national, regional and local), and members of the civil society at large.

Obituaries

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Articles

Articles

Inter Folia Fulget: The UN General Assembly Resolution 76/300 of 28 July 2022 on “The Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment”

On 28 July 2022, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the landmark Resolution 76/300 “: “The Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment”. Resolution 76/300 was adopted with overwhelming support: 161 votes in favour, zero against, and 8 abstentions (Belarus, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Syria).

The process of “carving out” the international recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right at the interacting international and national orders was naturally long and imperceptibly, but steadily, embedded in international negotiating process.

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Articles

The Pollution of Outer Space: Compulsory Norms Required for Addressing Hazardous Space Waste

Since the beginning of the space age, the outer space has been extensively used for communications, navigation, earth observation and climate monitoring. Communication satellites power telephony and the internet. Navigation satellites have provided us with the GPS, and other such systems, that make traversing the earth much easier. Reconnaissance or surveillance satellites observe the earth to detect changes alerting us about environmental deterioration, illegal activities or polluting emissions. Satellites, as evidenced by the war in Ukraine, can even warn us about the movements of enemy nations by detecting, for example, the accumulation of armies and weapons right on our borders ready for invasion. Satellites in the service of the World Meteorological Association have led to much more precise estimates about the anticipated magnitude of climate change.  Satellites and the rockets that propel them to space have made possible the beginning of conquest of space, the much-touted final frontier of humanity.

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Articles

The Conundrum of Defining the Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea has been shared for centuries between Russia/USSR and Persia/Iran. Before the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the international legal status of the Caspian Sea was governed by the International Treaties of 1921 and 1940, in which no specific definition was given to the Caspian Sea and its sui generis status was not named, but it was de facto condominium. These Treaties were accepted and recognized by the international community.[1] Since 1991, the three newly formed littoral states, former Republics of the USSR – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, have expressed a need to establish the new legal regime of the Caspian Sea.

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Articles

Green hydrogen perspective and energy transition: Advancing sustainable energy governance in the Mediterranean region

The European Union (EU) has set an ambitious goal to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, and is relying on the European Green Deal (EGD) to achieve it, along with the Renewable Gases and Hydrogen Directive. The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine has accelerated the EU's strategy for energy resilience and replacing fossil energy carriers. Within the 2019 EGD vision and framework, renewable, low-carbon, and net-zero gases will have a prominent role to play in decarbonizing the EU economy. Hydrogen as a clean, reliable and potentially sustainable energy vector is a rising enabler for a multisectoral transition towards a low-carbon economy based on renewable energy sources.

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Articles

Remedies for Loss & Damage from Climate Change: From Concept to Reality?

Efforts to deal effectively with loss and damage (L&D) in the UN climate regime, and to provide for avenues to remedy associated harms, have so far failed. While these efforts are ongoing, it is becoming increasingly clear that a broad range of international regimes and domestic legal systems will be challenged to respond to calls for appropriate remedies for those harmed by L&D. L&D is not defined in the UN climate regime. It has been suggested in the literature, however, that the phrase ‘loss and damage’ recognizes two categories of harm. One category involves permanent harm, or irrecoverable ‘loss’, such as the loss of landmass from sea level rise. The second category involves reparable or recoverable ‘damage’, such as shoreline damage from storms.

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Articles

The EU Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol to the Biodiversity Convention: A Game Changer or Institutional Paralysis?

Unimproved germplasm, the way found in nature, and landraces cultivated by farmers around the world for years, were, till the adoption of the Biodiversity Convention, a free access resource. Improved germplasm, by breeding or bio-engineering, on the other hand, is often protected by patents or other sui generis intellectual property rights (IPRs). The power of the seed industry, the industry that has acquired IPRs over most of the improved germplasm, has increased dramatically. Five big companies, Syngenta (owned by ChemChina), Bayer (Germany), Corteva (US, a spinoff of DowDuPont) and BASF (Germany) control a sizeable piece of the total seed market and 90 percent of the agrochemical market. The oligopolistic nature of the seed industry makes improved germplasm often prohibitively expensive for the farmers of the developing countries.

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Opinions

Opinions

The Output of the Durban Climate Change Negotiations: A First Critical Approach

The United Nations Durban Conference on climate change convened from 28 November to 11 December 2011. It involved a number of events, including the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 7).

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Opinions

The Benefits of Continuous Training and Education in International Environmental Negotiations: Reviewing two Practical Guides for Environmental Negotiators

Nowadays, international environmental negotiation has become one of the most substantial and widespread forms of international communication in the realm of international environmental governance and an invaluable tool for handling and offering mutually beneficial solutions to large-scale transboundary environmental problems.

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Opinions

Reviewing Two Distant OECD Environmental Performance Reports for Greece: What Progress?

When the first OECD Environmental Performance Review of Greece was published in 1983, the great challenge for the Greek Government was to respond to the pressures on the natural resources and the environment resulting from the rapid economic growth, which started in the 1970s, and the consequent expansion of a number of potentially heavy polluting industries. Almost thirty years later, the latest OECD Review, the 2009 OECD Environmental Performance Review of Greece, proves that not only little has been done by the consecutive Greek Governments since then, but also, major warnings have been systematically ignored.

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Documents & Cases

Documents & Cases

The World Congress Rio+20 Declaration on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability

The World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability was held in Brazil, from 17-20 June 2012, with the aim to contribute to the support of Chief Justices, Attorneys General, Auditors Generals and other legal experts to the achievement of sustainable development and to provide inputs to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio +20.

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Documents & Cases

Nicaragua Files New Proceedings Against Costa Rica Before the International Court of Justice over Sovereignty Violations and Major Environmental Damages to its Territory

On 22 December 2011 the Republic of Nicaragua filed suit against the Republic of Costa Rica at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging that Costa Rica’s plan for the construction of a road along the border area between the two countries violates its territorial integrity and has serious environmental consequences to the ecosystem.

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Documents & Cases

“Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling” – Final Report of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling

April 2010 marked a catastrophe of an unprecedented scale in the Gulf of Mexico that was undoubtedly a turning point for the future of offshore drilling not only in the United States, but worldwide. On April 20, the Macondo well that was situated 50 miles offshore Louisiana blew out causing the sinking of the semi-submersible Deepwater Horizon rig which resulted in injuring 17 and costing the lives of 11 workers and in having devastating environmental and broader economic impacts. On January 2011, the “National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling”, appointed by President Obama on 22 May 2010, handed over its report after a six-month intense research period.

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Documents & Cases

CoE/CEMAT Moscow Declaration on “Future Challenges: Sustainable Spatial Development of the European Continent in a Changing World” July 9, 2010

The 15th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CoE/CEMAT) was held in Moscow (Russian Federation) on 8-9 July 2010 on the theme “Future Challenges: Sustainable Spatial Development of the European Continent in a Changing World”.

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Books

Books

Consensus and Global Environmental Governance Deliberative Democracy in Nature’s Regime

In this book, Walter Baber and Robert Bartlett explore the practical and conceptual implications of a new approach to international environmental governance. Their proposed approach, juristic democracy, emphasizes the role of the citizen rather than the nation-state as the source of legitimacy in international environmental law; it is rooted in local knowledge and grounded in democratic deliberation and consensus.

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Books

The Handbook of Global Climate and Environment Policy

The Handbook of Global Climate and Environment Policy presents an authoritative and comprehensive overview of global policy on climate and the environment. It combines the strengths of an interdisciplinary team of experts from around the world to explore current debates and the latest thinking in the search for global environmental solutions.

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Books

Environmental Governance of the Great Seas – Law and Effect

The great seas contain immense resources and provide invaluable services to humankind, yet their environmental conditions are threatened worldwide. The authors of this comprehensive and interdisciplinary study provide a rich assessment of the seas and the efficacy of the international environmental regimes governing them, as well as suggestions for improving governance and protection.

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Thematic News

Environmental Governance Regimes

The 79th IMO MEPC Adopts the Mediterranean Sea Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides and Particulate Matter (Med SOx ECA) on 15 December 2022: A Turning Point in the Mediterranean

The 79th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 79) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was convened from 12 to 16 December 2022 at IMO Headquarters in London. On 15 December 2022 MEPC 79 adopted the drafted amendments and formally designated the Mediterranean Sea, as a whole, as an Emission Control Area (ECA) for Sulphur Oxides and particulate matter under regulation 14 of Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) in an effort to halt the air pollution from ships.

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International Environmental Negotiation Process

The First Session of the International Negotiating Committee Takes Place Towards a Landmark Global Agreement on Plastic Pollution

Following the mandate agreed by the adoption of the historic UNEA resolution 5/14 in March 2022, the first of the five planned meetings of the International Negotiating Committee (also known as INC-1) took place in Punta del Este, Uruguay from 28 November to 2 December 2022. More than 2.300 delegates from 160 countries and representatives from the private sector and the civil society participated at the meeting. The ultimate task of the INC is to develop an internationally binding instrument to combat plastic pollution by 2024, based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full lifecycle of plastics.

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Environmental Governance Regimes

Tunisia becomes the 13th Contracting Party to ratify the ICZM Protocol

On November 29, 2022, Tunisia, under Decree No 2022/917, ratified the ICZM Protocol becoming the 13th Contracting Party bound by the relevant provisions. Signed in January 2008 in Madrid by 15 Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and entered into force on March 24, 2011, following the sixth ratification of the Protocol by the Syrian Arab Republic, the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol constitutes the first regional, legally binding regulatory instrument concerning coastal zone management.

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Climate Change

COP 27 hosted a first-ever Mediterranean Pavilion

Convened from November 6 to November 18, 2022, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, also known as the City of Peace, the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change hosted for the first time a Mediterranean Pavilion. This development reflects a joint initiative led by the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) together with UNEP/MAP and the PRIMA Foundation along with the participation of numerous scientific institutions dealing with the adoption of climate action in the region. The initiative has been co-sponsored by Plan Blue, UNEP/MAP’s Regional Activity Center with expertise in sustainable development, and MedWaves, the UNEP/MAP’s Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production, and the independent network of scientists MedECC (Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change).

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Public Participation in Environmental Governance

A new dimension for Participatory Rights: Spain recognizes the Mar Menor lagoon as a “subject of rights” and allows for its autonomous governance to ensure its ecosystemic protection

On 30 September 2022, the Spanish Government approved the landmark  Law 19/2022 “for the recognition of legal personality of the Mar Menor lagoon and its basin” which grants a new legal status to the Mar Menor coastal lagoon recognizing the rights of the Mar Menor lagoon ecosystem and its basin and  allowing for its autonomous governance. The lagoon marine ecosystem of the Mar Menor, with an area of ​​135 km 2, is the largest coastal lagoon in the Spanish Mediterranean and one of the largest in the western Mediterranean, and, according to the WWF, the Europe’s largest salt-water lagoon. This innovative Law transforms the treatment of the lagoon given until now “from being a mere object of protection, recovery and development, to being an inseparably biological, environmental, cultural and spiritual subject.”

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Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, UNEP links its Strengthening with the implementation of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In the aftermath of the fifth United Nations Environmental Assembly, UNEP convened, on 3-4 March 2022, a special session called UNEP@50 to commemorate the 50 years since the establishment of the United Nations Environmental Programme in 1972, in Stockholm.  The meeting was held under the theme “Strengthening UNEP for the implementation of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, providing the opportunity for high-level officials, scientists, academia, and civil society to reflect on the organization’s five decades of engagement into environmental affairs. In this context, the meeting explored how to further strengthen UNEP in the entity’s endeavor to substantially implement the environmental dimension of the sustainable development, thus contributing to the battle against the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

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