KomUR - Network of Competence on Future Challenges of Environmental Law

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The ‘Network of Competence on Future Challenges of Environmental Law’ (KomUR) is a collaborative project by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and six German Universities funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The project’s aim is to facilitate and enhance networking of German environmental law research institutions domestically but, moreover and in particular, with European and international counterparts. It provides funding for 14 PhDs and diverse networking activities, including international workshops, conferences, publications and short-term research visits to international network partners. The Network is chaired by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Köck and Dr. Moritz Reese and coordinated by Dr. Elisabeth V. Henn, Post-Doc at the UFZ-Department for Environmental and Planning Law and; further partners of KomUR are the Universities of Bonn (Prof. Dr. Dr. Wolfgang Durner), Berlin (FU, Prof. Dr. Christian Calliess), Bremen (Prof. Dr. Claudio Franzius), Leipzig (Prof. Dr. Kurt Faßbender), Münster (Prof. Dr. Sabine Schlacke) and Oldenburg (Prof. Dr. Pascal Cancik). Moreover, the Network is supported by 15 distinguished international competence partners and part of the federal research program ‘Forschung für Nachhaltigkeit – FONA’.

The Network is dedicated to further advance environmental law towards the objectives and requirements of sustainability with a focus on major environmental challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and the degradation of water, soil and natural resources. In these areas, the Network will undertake comparative research on international, European and national environmental law. Comparative studies will aim at identifying effective and innovative regulatory approaches and at discussing the transferability of such instruments. Key aspects of this research concern are, i.a., the

  • Legal inclusion of long term environmental sustainability objectives combined with new approaches in implementation planning and adaptive governance regimes,
  • Analysis of implementation gaps and factors improving enforcement in both the executive and judicial branch,
  • Acknowledgement, scope and effectiveness of individual sustainability and environmental rights as well as rights of nature,

  • Role and improvement of transparency, participation and legal protection (Aarhus pillars),

  • Handling of uncertainty, risk and projections in law
  • Digitalization as both a threat and opportunity for environmental protection,
  • Policy integration under Article 11 TEU with a particular focus on agriculture and the Common Agricultural Policy,
  • Further development of international environmental conventions, institutions and approaches such as the ‘Global Pact for the Environment’ initiative,
  • Liability and compensation for transboundary environmental damage,
  • Integration of environmental sustainability objectives/requirements into international trade regimes,
  • Approaches to transnational environmental governance, norms and regulation.