Environmental Law Program

Agir en Justice au Nom des Génerations Futures : Une Réalité Grandissante Vecteur de Paix

In November 2017, ELP Director David Forman ’93 participated in an international symposium entitled Agir en Justice au Nom des Génerations Futures : Une Réalité Grandissante Vecteur de Paix (Legal Action on Behalf of Future Generations: A Growing Reality as a Vehicle of Peace) in Caen, France. ELP was one of the Scientific Partners (or co-sponsors) for the symposium organized by Professor Émilie Gaillard, University of Caen. Professor Gaillard previously participated in the first Tony Oposa Intergenerational Moot Court and workshop held in conjunction with the 2016 World Conservation Congress in Honolulu; she also served alongside Forman as a Judge at the second Oposa moot held in Cebu, Philippines as part of the May 2017 IUCN Academy of Environmental Law colloquium.

The symposium in France covered a range of topics under the umbrella of protecting future generations.  Mireille Delmas-Marty, Honorary Professor at the Collêge de France delivered the opening plenary, followed by Professor Edith Brown-Weiss, Georgetown Law (via video).  The first panel addressed Le Nucleaire et le droit des Générations Futures d’hier a Aujourd’hui  (The Nuclear Industry and the Rights of Future Generations From the Past to the Present), featuring: Nobel Peace Prize nominee Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND); Russian sociologist and lawyer Nadezdha Kutepova, founder of an NGO called “The Planet of Hope”; Professor Jean Marie Collin, Vice-President of Initiatives for Nuclear Disarmament; University of Caen Normandy sociologist Frederick Lemarchand; and Dr. Andreas Nidecker, Professor Emeritus of Radiology at the University of Basel, and former President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War in Switzerland.  

With the aid of simultaneous translation, Forman (who required French to English translation — although many more benefited from the availability of French to English translation), moderated the second panel on Les Actions en Justice Climatique au Nom des Générations Futures (Legal Action for Climate Justice on Behalf of Future Generations), featuring:  Paris Court of Appeal attorney Christian Hugo; Serge de Gheldere, President of ASBL L’Affaire Climat (Klimaatzaak); Elizabeth Brown, Staff Attorney and Global Program Manager, Our Children’s Trust; and Professor Agnès Michelot, President of the French Society for Law and the Environment.  Former Minister for the Environment in France, Corinne LePage closed the first day by Calling for the recognition of the Rights and Duties of Humanity.

Forman started off the second day of the symposium by introducing legendary Philippine environmental attorney Antonio A. Oposa, Jr., who address the audience via video.  The third panel addressed Les Actions en Justice de Protection des Communs-Pistes Prospectives (Legal Actions Taken in Order to Protect the Commons), focusing on issues surrounding pesticides and GMO use, and featuring: Argentine lawyer Juan Ignacio Pereyra; Forman, whose discussed the “Preemption of Hawaiʻi County Ordinances Regulating Pesticide Use by GE/GMO Seed Companies in and Hawaiʻi; and Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini, Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Caen.  

Jarman Fellow Miranda Steed ’19 assisted Forman both prior to and during the symposium by translating  PowerPoint slides and video clips for the French-speaking audience, as well as providing crucial translation during conversations that took place before, during breaks, and after the formal presentations.  The professional interpreters hired to provide simultaneous translation were effusive in their praise of Miranda’s French-language skills!

The final series of plenary presentations addressed Quels Leviers Juridiques pour Protéger les Communs pour les Générations Futures (What Legal Levers can be used to Protect the Commons for Future Generations), featuring: Marie-Angèle Hermitte, Honorary Research Director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research on “Taking Legal Action on Behalf of Nature”; the inestimable Michel Prieur, Professor Emeritus of Law and President of the International Center for Comparative Environmental Law, who spoke about a project to create an International Covenant on the Human Right to the Environment’ and Natalie Herve-Fornereau, Head of Research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, who spoke about “The European Union and Future Generations: what juridic tools to build a sustainable future?”

The final panel  addressed the topic of transhumanism, featuring: Paris attorney Gérard Haas;  Magistrate Christian Byk, Vice-President of the International Bioethics Committee, UNESCO; and Professor Louise Bandelac, Department of Sociology and Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Quebec.

Professor Nicholas A. Robinson, Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in New York, appeared via video to give a presentation on “Valuing Our Past: Evolutionary Roots Nurturing Equity Across Generations” before Professor Gaillard closed the symposium by addressing the “Legal Basis for Protecting Future Generations.“

Gaillard and Forman intend to publish the symposium proceeding in both French and English. They are also collaborating on the fifth Tony Oposa Intergeneration Moot Court to be held June 2018 in Caen, just before the D-Day commemoration and the inaugural World Peace Forum in Normandy.