In recent years, the European Union has emerged as a leading actor in the negotiation of multilateral environmental agreements and other important instruments of global environmental governance, including the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The successes of European environmental legislation have also been celebrated, ranging from the expansion of protected areas under the Birds and Habitats Directives to the ambitious objective of a near-total decarbonisation of the European economy by 2050.
More recently, the new European Commission followed up on previous commitments to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a landmark vision for a ‘European Green Deal’ that puts sustainable resource use, greenhouse gas emission reduction and conservation of the Union’s natural capital at the centre of the continent’s future growth strategy.
At the same time, however, the outlook for several environmental trends both inside and outside the borders of the European Union is deteriorating rapidly, with the acceleration of climate change and the ongoing loss of biodiversity representing two formidable challenges to the ambitions voiced by European institutions and civil society organisations.
Policy coherence between environmental and socio-economic goals remains difficult to achieve, and recent proposals for more integrated approaches to the multiple challenges of sustainable development have not yet resulted in a concrete modification of the relevant legal frameworks.
Finally, despite the multiple achievements of European environmental law, the 2019 Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) conducted by the European Commission highlights a series of continuing implementation gaps at the national level, affecting areas including waste and resource efficiency, conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, climate adaptation, air pollution, and water quality.
Against this background, the Jean Monnet Module on European and International Environmental Law (EIEL) aims to provide students, practitioners and civil society with in-depth knowledge about the state of the art of European and international environmental law and policy, its achievements and challenges, and its interaction with emerging environmental issues and landmark intergovernmental processes.
Two overarching themes run through the module:
(a) the emphasis on the most pressing and emerging issues in European and international environmental law, including the interconnected planetary crises of climate change and biodiversity loss;
(b) the particular focus on implementation and enforcement at the level of the EU and its Member States, consistent with the outstanding needs outlined in the Commission’s latest EIR.
Among its main outcomes, the module is expected to: (a) foster the publication and dissemination of the results of academic research on the implementation of European and international environmental law and the regulation of emerging environmental problems; (b) increase the interest of general public on EU legal studies, while also strengthening an emerging pole of European knowledge on environmental law at the University of Siena; and (c) deliver a tailor-made course on European and international environmental law and policy, equipping students with notions that will be increasingly relevant in their professional lives.
The module builds upon the knowledge and experience that has been developed at the University of Siena in the implementation of the Jean Monnet module on European Union Law and Sustainable Development (project number: 586764-EPP-1-2017-1-IT-EPPJMO-MODULE), which from 2017 to 2020 represented a best practice of the Department of Law and the University of Siena at large.
In particular, the EIEL methodology rests on three key pillars that have been pioneered by its predecessor, and namely: (a) promoting interdisciplinarity between European legal studies and other disciplines, including environmental science, political science and ecological economics; (ii) promoting the use of participatory teaching activities to expand on frontal lectures and relying extensively on ICTs; and (iii) fostering collaboration with external stakeholders and outreach to policymakers, non-governmental organisations, other educational institutions and civil society.
To discover EIEL activities, read more about our Module Structure.
Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza
Università degli Studi di Siena
Via P.A. Mattioli 10
53100 Siena (Italy)
Phone: +39 0577 233194
Office Hours: Tuesdays, hrs 11.00-13.00
Who we are
The EIEL module, hosted by the University of Siena, aims to provide students, practitioners and civil society with in-depth knowledge about the state of the art of European and international environmental law and policy, its achievements and challenges, and its interaction with emerging environmental issues and landmark intergovernmental processes.