Rights in Environmental Governance: Explaining their Emergence, Examining their Effectiveness
Yale University, April 26th & 27th, 2013
On April 26th and 27th, 2013, the Yale/UNITAR workshop “Rights in Environmental Governance: Explaining their Emergence, Examining their Effectiveness” convened twenty scholars and practitioners to discuss the role and influence of rights in modes and systems of environmental governance around the world. The workshop was organized by the Governance, Environment & Markets Initiative (GEM) at Yale and the United Nations Institute of Training and Research, with support from the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, the Tropical Resources Institute, the Global Institute for Sustainable Forestry, and the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Fund of the Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale.
The introductory session of the workshop entitled “The Rights Revolution in Environmental Governance: Progress, Problems & Prospects” featured an interactive panel discussion co-moderated by Professor Ben Cashore, Director of GEM and Dr. Achim Halpaap, Associate Director of Training and Head of the Environment Unit at UNITAR. During the subsequent working sessions, participants reflected on the emergence and effectiveness of the right to a healthy environment and on the rights of forest-dependent communities around the world. The workshop also started to identify key research questions and new concrete initiatives for understanding these rights and enhancing their contributions to environmental justice and sustainability. Key outcomes of the workshop included proposed elements of a research agenda on rights and environmental governance, the genesis of a new collaborative research project to assess levels of implementation of environmental rights worldwide, and a discussion on the concept of a new tool-kit on the constitutional recognition of the right to a healthy environment. The workshop also featured a planning discussion for a 3rdYale/UNITAR Conference Environmental Governance and Democracy that will focus on the interface of human rights, environmental sustainability, and climate change and is scheduled to take place in mid-2014.