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Policy Integration of Human Rights and the Environment in Global Sustainability Governance

Policy
International relations
EDI14
Andrea Lenschow
Osnabrück University
Maria-Therese Gustafsson
Stockholm University

Building: Appleton Tower, Floor: 2, Room: 2.07

Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00 (19/04/2022)

Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00 (20/04/2022)

Thursday 09:00 - 17:00 (21/04/2022)

Friday 09:00 - 17:00 (22/04/2022)


In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the interconnected relationship between human rights and the environment in global policy discourses, as reflected in the recent calls by the UN to recognize the rights to a healthy environment. The importance of fostering approaches that are more integrated has also been emphasized in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and global trade policies. Yet, the implementation of the SDGs tends to follow goal-specific pathways not paying much attention to interaction effects (Tosun and Leininger 2017). Studies show that attempts to overcome isolated either environmental or human rights policies and to address human rights and environmental issues jointly, e.g. in regulating global economic relations, have often led to trade-offs and disarticulated policy interventions (Merino and Gustafsson 2021 Schilling-Vacaflor 2021). In this Joint Session, we aim to analyze the patterns of and conditions for human rights and environmental integration (HREI) in global and transnational sustainability governance. HREI focuses on two universal norms that may appear non-controversial at abstract level. Distinct from environmental policy integration (EPI), which aims to address unequal weighting of economic over environmental concerns, here we do not expect controversy over which norm should be given “principal priority” (Lafferty and Hovden 2003). This, however, implies a deep dilemma situation in case the two universal norms come into conflict, calling on research on how this dilemma is handled and how to devise governance approaches tackling hard choices. We aim to discuss the following guiding questions: 1. How and to what extent do global institutions, international agreements, and private and public policies targeting global trade and sustainability governance integrate the aims of human rights and environmental protection? 2. How are integrative structures and processes implemented and how are hard normative choices dealt with? 3. Which measures, processes, actor constellations or context conditions enable or inhibit the HREI? To discuss these questions, we invite conceptual and empirical contributions from scholars with diverse disciplinary backgrounds. For instance, contributions may borrow from EPI research distinguishing institutional, political and cognitive factors for explaining policy integration (Jordan and Lenschow 2010). EPI research could be fruitfully combined with environmental justice frameworks to analyze which interests and perspectives are enhanced HREI. References Jordan, A. and Lenschow, A (2010). Environmental policy integration: a state of the art review. Environmental policy and governance 20(3), 147-158. Lafferty, WM, Hovden, E (2003). Environmental Policy Integration: Towards an Analytical Framework. Environmental Politics 12(3), 1–22. Merino, R, and Gustafsson, MT (2021). Localizing the indigenous environmental steward norm: The making of conservation and territorial rights in Peru. Environmental Science & Policy 124, 627-634. Schilling-Vacaflor, A (2021). Integrating Human Rights and the Environment in Supply Chain Regulations. Sustainability 13(17), p.9666. Tosun, J and Leininger, J (2017). Governing the interlinkages between the sustainable development goals: Approaches to attain policy integration. Global Challenges, 1(9), p.1700036.

In this joint session, we would like to discuss the policy integration of the environment and human rights together with junior and senior scholars working on topics such as environmental policy integration (EPI), business and human rights and environmental justice or political ecology. We think that the establishment of a dialogue between researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds and perspectives will be particularly fruitful for discussing the political, environmental and social implications and challenges of policy integration in the regulation and governance of global trade and development politics. Work on EPI has mainly evolved within the field of political science and has been very helpful in conceptualizing and analyzing EPI mainly at the EU and international level. This scholarship has, however, not yet focused on the integration of human rights and the environment and work on the Global South has been under-represented in this strand of research. Scholars of business and human rights have largely worked at the interface of law and politics. This research strand has originally exclusively focused on human rights issues, but more recently we can observe the consolidation of a new research field on ‘business, human rights and the environment’ (see, for instance: https://gnhre.org), which could be enriched by entering into a closer dialogue with scholars of EPI. Furthermore, we invite scholars to submit social science papers that present and discuss fresh empirical insights about the integration of human rights and the environment in practice on the demand and supply side of global trade relations. A contextualized analysis of policy integration can help to gain a better understanding of trade-offs and synergies, contestations and hard normative choices concerning policy (dis-)integration in different places. Such case and comparative studies, including research from the Global South, are important to inform and substantiate debates on policy integration developing in the fields of EPI and business, human rights and the environment. Overall, this workshop is open to empirical as well as more theoretical and a limited number of normative contributions on the (proposed) integration of human rights and environmental protection. We invite scholars using qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method approaches. Taken together, this joint session aims to create synergies between research strands that have largely developed separately, but could strongly benefit from a closer conceptual and empirical exchange. With this, we aim to expand the research frontier in relation to the policy integration of the environment and human rights, which is an emerging and very dynamic field of research on a timely and very important topic.

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