The emergence of new and diverse global, non-state, actors such as the World Trade Organisation and European Union raises questions relating to democracy and accountability of decision-making which compound the regulatory challenge posed by the need to reconcile the diverse commitments of the international community.
Key legal and regulatory issues addressed in this module
- The complexity of governance and regulation in an increasingly globalised context, where governance takes new and diverse forms and is undertaken by a diverse range of actors
- The challenges posed to democracy and accountability by the emergence of such new forms and levels of global governance
- The regulatory challenges posed by new forms and levels of governance acting in or applying to diverse, and frequently conflicting, fields
- Different approaches to achieving a regulatory balance between different international obligations and to meeting the challenges posed by new forms and levels of governance
Case study: The principle of sustainable development
Sustainable development has been selected as a case study in recognition of its status as a 'principle' of particular contemporary significance. Thus the module, having provided an introduction to the theoretical framework of the course, highlighting questions of democracy and accountability posed by the emergence of new forms of governance by new international actors, examines:
- the meaning and content of sustainable development: highlighting the interdependence of the prima facie conflicting objectives therein: social (including human rights protection), environmental protection and economic development are highlighted
- the international legal and institutional regulatory frameworks within which sustainable development has been adopted and can be delivered
- the diverse regimes engaged by the commitment to sustainable development: in particular trade liberalisation regimes (the EU and WTO) and International Environmental Law, in particular focusing upon the international responses to the challenge of climate change.
- the operationalisation of sustainable development in particular contexts (e.g. the EU)
- the institutional/judicial response where the principle has manifested (whether explicitly or implicitly) in case law in different fora (e.g. CJEU, WTO)
- the challenges to democracy and accountability exposed by pursuit of the principle of sustainable development (and the responses to its delivery).
- alternative regulatory approaches to the realisation of sustainable development
To do so the module is structured in three substantive parts and a concluding part drawing the issues together:
1: The overarching legal framework - unpacking 'sustainable development'
2: Spotlight on the WTO - Trade and Environment
3: Climate Change: The International Framework of Regulation - Effecting Change?
4 Conclusions: Globalisation and Democracy: Regulatory Challenge