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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

Prof. Rafael Leal-Arcas to present findings of his Jean Monnet grant in Kuwait


Professor Dr Rafael Leal-Arcas, Jean Monnet Chair in EU International Economic Law at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), has been accepted to present the research findings of his Jean Monnet Chair in Kuwait.

The presentation of his findings 'Towards Sustainability in Trade, Energy and Climate,' will be delivered at the Kuwait International Law School's 6th Annual Conference ‘Contemporary Legal Developments: Issues and Challenges,’ held over 1-2 May 2019 in Kuwait.


The novelty of this paper is that it explains the paradigm shift in the governance of sustainable development: the 20th century was characterized by a top-down approach to the governance of climate action. The 21st century, however, offers a bottom-up approach, marking one of the mega-trends of the 21st century: in climate action, the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is done from the bottom up via citizens, NGOs, mayors, governors, businesses, or smart cities; in energy governance, we are observing energy democratization by decentralizing the governance of energy security and creating new energy actors, namely prosumers and renewable energy cooperatives. How about the governance of international trade? How can it be governed from the bottom up so that there is an open trading system in political, legal, and economic terms? How can we have greater involvement of civil society? How can we empower citizens in trade diplomacy? Traditionally, trade policy has been conducted by trade diplomats. Should we not listen to citizens’ concerns and those of small and medium enterprises?

This paper offers a paradigm shift in thinking about international trade. Traditionally, trade has been understood as a stumbling block to sustainable energy. I argue that trade is a building block and that the international community should capitalize on the proliferation of regional trade agreements (RTAs) to enhance energy security via renewable energy (RE) and achieve clean energy. Both can be achieved with the inclusion of strong chapters on trade in goods and services related to sustainable development and renewable energy in RTAs.



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