Join Hub panels at the Winter / Summer School on Human Rights & the Environment
Organised by the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment & the United Nations Environment Programme
For the third year running, the One Ocean Hub continues to collaborate with the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to co-organise a series of panels for their Summer/Winter School on Human Rights & the Environment. This year the School will focus on the theme “Transformations and Transitions” from 11-15 September 2023. The call for panels recognised that the Winter/Summer School is held in collaboration with the University of Southampton Law School and with the ongoing support of the One Ocean Hub.
The School will examine themes of transformative governance, (just) transition and the many dimensions of ‘change’ that enhance or threaten human rights and the environment. The Hub is leading the co-organisation of five separate panels, including:
- Ocean and human health: transitioning and transforming to an era of interdisciplinary competencies
- Transforming ocean conservation and sustainable use: rethinking blue economies in terms of environmental and socio-cultural justice
- The transformative role of children’s rights to a healthy environment
- Gender-transformative approaches to environmental protection: women, girls and the ocean
- Transitioning from the past, through the present to potential futures of knowledge hierarchies in ocean biodiversity governance research
1. Ocean and human health: transitioning and transforming to an era of interdisciplinary competencies
Although more is known about areas that are near the coast, the seabed beyond national jurisdiction and the high seas, comprising 64% of the surface of the ocean and nearly 95% of its volume, are critical to both ecosystem and human health. However, much of the work done on the relationship between ocean and human health has been siloed, which has resulted in narrow perceptions of inter-relationships, limited information, and relatively unexplored aspects of both areas. There are, therefore, critical knowledge gaps for those seeking to develop effective policies for the sustainable use of marine resources and the protection of the human right to health.
This panel will represent a diversity of experiences and perspectives, from a diverse range of disciplines, spanning ocean science, human rights, planetary health and health law, to illuminate barriers and progress towards more integrated protection of the ocean and human health.
2. Transforming ocean conservation and sustainable use: rethinking blue economies in terms of environmental and socio-cultural justice
Discussion on blue economies often portrays the ocean as the driver of economic growth and a vast space that attracts diverse actors such as shipping companies, deep-sea mining enterprises, and fishing industries. Whilst, blue economies have received significant attention, the social-cultural justice implications of the fast and unchecked development of blue economy activities are often overlooked. As governments, industries, and different international actors around the world engage with the blue economy, the key questions to ask is: what checks and balances are in place to support ocean-based economies, whilst ensuring inclusivity and appropriate stewardship of marine resources for future generations?
This event will engage panellists and attendees in a discussion on the contentious social-cultural justice issues surfacing as ocean-based economy development expands at scale. The solution-focused event will spotlight the pressing need to integrate transdisciplinary research approaches, process, and innovation as viable routes to sustainable and inclusive blue economies and wider ocean governance. Transdisciplinary research implies working with human rights-holders, ocean experts from varied disciplines, and different knowledge holders in the co-design and co-production of solution-oriented research.
3. The transformative role of children’s rights to a healthy environment
Children’s historical contributions to the protection of human rights and the environment have gained them recognition worldwide as “agents of change”. However, the climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental pollution crises pose an urgent and systemic threat to their life and most basic human rights. Whilst the principles of intergenerational justice and equity are gaining more attention within international and regional decision-making processes, there exists a perception that children’s voices are heard, but not truly understood or meaningfully taken into account.
Reflecting on the June 2023 adoption of the UN General Comment 26 on children’s human rights and a healthy environment, with a special focus on climate change, this panel will explore the transformative role of children’s right to a healthy environment in all its dimensions.
4. Gender-transformative approaches to environmental protection: Women, Girls & the Ocean
The entanglement of gender and climate issues has been flagged up as one of the greatest global challenges of today. To echo the UN Women’s warning, the coupling of gender inequality and climate crisis jeopardises livelihoods, health, safety and security for women and girls around the world. The challenge has, too, been making crucial links between, between gender, social equity, and climate change among climate change scientists, researchers, and policymakers.
This panel aims to discuss the protection of the human rights of women and girls at the climate-ocean nexus, exploring empowerment of girls and women in the law of the sea, marine sciences, and ocean management, including in the specific context of small-scale fisheries. The panel will also reflect on the specific role of girls and women as environmental and ocean human rights defenders and their transformative potential for more sustainable ocean governance.
5. Transitioning from the past, through the present to potential futures of knowledge hierarchies in ocean biodiversity governance research
Knowledge hierarchies refer to the systematic ordering, ranking, and valuation of knowledge and its production according to their perceived authority, legitimacy, or status. Knowledge hierarchies have become embedded and continue to be reinforced across marine biodiversity governance and associated research. Knowledge and associated processes of production are steeped within histories of colonisation and the parallel development(s) of environmental marine (social) sciences and Western-dominated conservationism.
In addressing modern ocean biodiversity and conservation challenges, researchers must not only be aware of the history of knowledge extraction, imposition, and assumption within their fields, they must also actively work to continuously acknowledge and address these in their work. Yet, even within research that recognises the need to implement paradigm shifts and transformations, knowledge hierarchies have proven to be multi-layered and perpetuating, including within the context of conscious attempts to address hierarchies through such methods as the integration or ‘bringing together’ of diverse knowledge systems. This panel will bring together researchers from a diversity of disciplines who will interrogate the challenges and commitments required to address imbalances created by knowledge hierarchies, even within the construct that favours the status quo.
Illustration: Margherita Brunori