Universiteit Leiden

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Economic, Social and Cultural Rights & Transitioning to a Sustainable Society

Wednesday 12 October 2022
Online via Zoom

The Hernan Santa Cruz Dialogue Series brings together academics, civil society, economists, politicians, community leaders, students and others to identify barriers to implementing Economic, Social and Cultural rights, and approaches to operationalize these rights as a framework to address local and global challenges. Jointly hosted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR); the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at Leiden University, the Netherlands; the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE); the Human Rights Center at the University of Minnesota, USA; the University for Peace, Costa Rica; Macquarie Law School, Australia and the International Law Training and Research Hub at the University of Tokyo, Japan, renowned speakers in fields related to Economic, Social and Cultural rights will explore understudied collective action strategies, and emerging approaches to social and economic justice. The ultimate goal is to strengthen powerful coalitions of changemakers through civic engagement, while identifying gaps in enhancing economic, social and cultural rights- with specific focus on environmental sustainability, business and human rights, gender equality and justice, and subnational actors.

This first dialogue in the series focuses on the role of Economic, Social and Cultural rights in transitioning to a sustainable society. It is situated against the backdrop of the triple planetary crises of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. These crises already undermine the enjoyment of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, with adverse effects expected to worsen still. At the same time, measures taken to address these crises also have significant implications—which can be positive or negative—for the enjoyment of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. At this dialogue, renowned human rights and environmental law experts will unpack the role of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in imaging, crafting and implementing pathways towards sustainable and inclusive societies. Topics discussed range from energy justice, climate litigation and the rights of future generations through to the risks posed by geoengineering. Participants are invited to pose questions and share views on these topics as part of an interactive dialogue, which will be built upon during the second dialogue in the series.    

The interactive webinar will be moderated by Dr. Margaretha Wewerinke-SinghAssistant Professor of Public International Law, Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies - Leiden University & Dr. Annalisa SavaresiAssociate Professor of International Environmental Law, University of Eastern Finland


  • Ms. Nikki Reisch, Director of the Climate & Energy Program, Center for International Environmental Law
    Topic: Economic, social and cultural rights risks of geoengineering
  • Professor Damilola Olawuyi, Professor of Law, Hamad Bin Khalifa University College of Law
    Topic: Energy justice, SDG7 and the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights 
  • Dr. Maria Antonia Tigre, Global Climate Litigation Fellow, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
    Topic: Economic, social and cultural rights and gender in just transition litigation 
  • Dr. Miloon Kothari, Human Rights Expert and former UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing
    Topic: The economic, social and cultural rights of future generations 

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