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School of Law

Law and Environment in Small States Conference

5 September 2017 - 6 September 2017

Time: 9:00 - 12:00pm
Venue: Queen Mary University of London, 67-69 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3JB

Conference Programme - Law and Environment in Small States (Tuesday 5 - Wednesdsay 6 September 2017)

The Centre for small states will hold a conference on Law and Environment, followed by a seperate workshop on Environmental Law and Teaching at Queen Mary University of London on 5-6 September 2017.

A group of tropical islands surrounded by clear blue ocean


Small States face the same environmental problems that the rest of the world does – eg, climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, soil degradation, deforestation, desertification, changes in the fresh water supply, changes in oceans, and fisheries losses. However, as small States, they have fewer resources to combat this order secure resilience from such changes. Further, some of the impacts on small States are disproportionately large. For example, sea level rise and ocean acidification from climate change affect the very existence and survival of small island states; desertification and water supplies affect the survival of small desert states.

International and domestic laws can play a big role in preventing, monitoring, mitigating and adapting to such changes. But small States also face significant challenges in their capacity to develop relevant national and international law, as well as to implement and enforce it. Some of these challenges are due to skills capacity and levels of development; much is budgetary; and international political power is particularly relevant. As such, these challenges are relevant no matter the topic under consideration. But the challenges faced in dealing with environmental issues – of degradation, restoration and protection, both local and global – are particularly difficult to address for small States. So many environmental issues are described as ‘wicked’ problems, with multiple, complex, multi-layered causes and thus solutions required. Most are unable to be addressed by a small state alone.

This conference is the first of a series to be held by the Centre for Small States at QMUL to address these issues of environment and law. A variety of perspectives is included, all with a view to concrete change and advancement in law and fact, including speakers from small states.

Future activities planned by the Centre on this theme include a book launch on climate change mitigation and adaptation in small states (Springer, 2018), and a conference on Environmental Dispute Resolution and Small States, Sept 2018. As part of the Centre’s commitment to improvement in the real world, both conferences plan to be accompanied by a practical training session designed to benefit those from small states. In September 2017 this will be on teaching environmental law; in June 2018 it will be on environmental adjudication for lawyers, judges, officials and academics from small States.

Program timetable.


For directions to the venue, please refer to the map.

How to book

These events are free but prior booking is required. Register online via Eventbrite.

NB: Please select the correct ticket so we are aware of your registration. If you would like to attend both the conference and the workshop, please book the two tickets seperately. 


For more information on this event, please email

Photography, video and audio recording

School of Law events may be photographed or video and audio recorded. These materials will be used for internal and external promotional purposes only by Queen Mary University of London. If you object to appearing in the photographs, please let our photographer know on the day. Alternatively you can email in advance of the event that you are attending.


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