Third Annual RALHUS & SARCIL Rule of Law and Sustainable Development Seminar

Sustainable Development Goals and the Progressive Development of International Environmental Law (REDUX)

Date: 7 April 2017

Venue: Devon Valley Hotel, Stellenbosch, South Africa

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets embodied in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015. The so-called “Global Goals” succeeded the Millennium Development Goals. The SDGs, however, do not merely focus on development but are intended to promote sustainable development. This will require a balancing of environmental, economic and social dimensions. The 2030 Agenda contains several economic, environmental and social goals. Goals 13, 14 and 15 can be said to form an environmental cluster as these SDGs relate to key issues in environmental law and are to be implemented in a manner that is consistent with international (environmental) law. Several other goals and targets, such as SDG 6, are also relevant for international environmental law. The Agenda is, however, a political declaration and the normative influence thereof on law requires further clarification.

The previous seminar on the Rule of Law and Sustainable Development facilitated an introductory exploration of various aspects of SDGs. Accordingly, the third seminar will build on the outcomes of the previous seminar and investigate the following specific themes:

(i) SDGs and international environmental law: progressive development or normative anarchy?

(ii) The environmental cluster and international environmental law: fragmentation or coordination?

(iii) SDGs and the human rights framework: “Ships passing in the night”?

(iv) Sustainable development and SDGs: indivisible integration or imposed constraints?

(v) Global partnerships: shared responsibility and solidarity.


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