2021 Madame de Staël Prize Lecture
Climate Change in Human Rights Courts: Overcoming Procedural Hurdles in Transboundary Environmental Cases
The Madame de Staël Prize Lecture is an annual scientific event hosted by ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities. Each year, the laureate of the Madame de Staël Prize delivers an interactive lecture related to their own research and reflecting on current affairs in the European political and scientific landscape.
This year’s laureate, Professor Helen Keller, will deliver a lecture titled ‘Climate Change in Human Rights Courts: Overcoming Procedural Hurdles in Transboundary Environmental Cases’. A panel discussion will be held after Professor Keller’s lecture, followed by a Q&A session and a reception with a flying buffet.
The 2021 Madame de Staël Prize Lecture will take place on 6 November 2021 in a hybrid event during the Berlin Science Week. The physical event will be hosted by Embassy of Switzerland in Berlin.
Human rights bodies usually examine cases brought by individuals who have been impacted in a specific way by an act of their home State. By contrast, a new and atypical kind of case is currently emerging before domestic and international human rights bodies around the world. These are cases in which applicants allege that their human rights have been violated because of States’ and corporations’ failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
These cases are atypical not only because of the number of potential victims involved and the global nature of climate change, but also because the harms in question are often still in the future. These cases push human rights bodies to evaluate political decisions and scientific evidence. They raise questions about how to balance economic and environmental interests, how to provide redress for large-scale or systemic problems, and whether it is appropriate to allow human rights bodies to accept claims in the public interest.
To date the European Court of Human Rights has never decided a climate change case. The first two applications, however, have been filed and communicated to the parties. This lecture discusses the most significant admissibility issues that these climate change cases will face before the European Court of Human Rights and show how the Court could ensure that these admissibility hurdles could be overcome and thus climate cases can finally receive full consideration on the merits.
SAVE THE DATE
6 November 2021
12:00 – 13:30 pm (CET)
- Online event to be held via Zoom
- On-site event to be held at the Embassy of Switzerland in Berlin (Otto-von-Bismarck-Allee 4A 10557 Berlin)
Read our summary of the event here
12:00 – Welcome remarks
Dr Paul R. Seger, Swiss Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany
12:05 – Laudation
Professor Antonio Loprieno, President of ALLEA
12:15 – Lecture: ‘Climate Change in Human Rights Courts: Overcoming Procedural Hurdles in Transboundary Environmental Cases’
Professor Helen Keller, 2021 Madame de Staël Prize laureate
12:45 – Panel discussion and Q&A Session
- Professor Başak Çalı, Professor of International Law at the Hertie School and Co-Director of the School’s Centre for Fundamental Rights
- Professor Helen Keller, Chair for Public Law, European and Public International Law at the University of Zurich, and 2021 Madame de Staël Prize Laureate
- Professor Felix Ekardt, Head of the Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy, and Professor of Public Law and Legal Philosophy at Rostock University
- Dr Adam Levy, Doctor in Atmospheric Physics (University of Oxford), Science Presenter, and Climate Communicator
13:30 – Reception
15:00 – Closing
Professor Helen Keller
Chair for Public Law, European and Public International Law at the University of Zurich, and 2021 Madame de Staël Prize Laureate
Lecturer: Climate Change in Human Rights Courts – Overcoming Procedural Hurdles in Transboundary Environmental Cases
Professor Başak Çalı
Professor of International Law at the Hertie School and Co-Director of the School’s Centre for Fundamental Rights
Professor Felix Ekardt
Head of the Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy, and Professor of Public Law and Legal Philosophy at Rostock University
Dr Adam Levy
Doctor in Atmospheric Physics (University of Oxford), Science Journalist, and Climate Communicator
Professor Antonio Loprieno
President of ALLEA
Dr Paul Seger
Head of Mission of the Swiss Embassy in Berlin
Project and Finance Officer, ALLEA
Communications Officer, ALLEA