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Una Europa Talk: Rights of Nature – a solution for Europe?

Event information

Date & location

From 2:30pm to 3:30pm CET

La Chaufferie, Etterbeek (Brussels) & Webstream

Website of the venue



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The in-person Talk is now fully booked. Watch the livestream on our YouTube channel.

Should forests be able to sue us? Should rivers and oceans have the right to defend themselves in court?

Deeply rooted in indigenous philosophies, the concept of Rights of Nature is increasingly discussed in Europe and beyond as potential legal tool to safeguard our environment.

Join us in Brussels on 15 November for a unique Una Europa Talk at the intersection of sustainability, policy and law.

Leading academics from the Una Europa community will share different perspectives and examples on the Rights of Nature concept and discuss the European dimension with policy representatives and the audience.


  • Silvia Bagni, Comparative public law expert, Università di Bologna
  • Pierre Brunet, Legal Theory expert, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne
  • Linnea Luuppala, Environmental philosophy expert, University of Helsinki
  • Piotr Szwedo, International trade and investment law expert, Jagiellonian University
  • Thierry Lucas, Biodiversity Coordinator Europe, United Nations Environment Programme
  • Lena Helińska, Law and science expert, Jagiellonian University (Moderator)

Rights of nature – a promising concept?

Existing legal frameworks for environmental protection and climate action are often considered overly anthropo-centric – prioritizing human interests through incentives for social and economic development. The concept of Rights of Nature shifts the focus by recognising nature as a subject of law, a being with its own rights.

The approach may sound promising and has, in fact, been used in a growing number of legal contexts, ranging from its inclusion in the Ecuadorian Constitution to a recent initiative to protect a Spanish lagoon.

But many doubts remain as regards a potential implementation in Europe: Is the concept compatible with our legal systems or will it trigger turmoil? And is our society ready for such change? Are there alternative concepts?

Get registered for the Una Europa Talk to hear expert views and join the debate. Seats are limited.

Una Europa’s commitment to sustainability

Una Europa shares an aspiration for the ‘sustainable university’ as an institution that rises to meet global environmental and societal challenges. With its Sustainability and Climate Protection Strategy, the alliance commits to a series of concrete courses of action in teaching and research, governance, operations and community development. Under the 1Europe project, Una Europa piloted new educational programmes in the field, such as a Microcredential and the Lifelong Learning Certificate in Sustainability. An interdisciplinary joint Bachelor programme in Sustainability is also underway.