7e. Legal aspects of Sustainability

Track chair:

Volker Mauerhofer, University of Vienna, Austria. volker.mauerhofer@gmx.at

Goals and objectives of the track

The goal of this track is to discuss principles, key concepts, methods and applications of legal aspects of Sustaina-bility and lessons learned. We will further map opportunities of and challenges for legal aspects in a sustainable development in various thematic and strategic subjects, thereby contributing to the development of these domains scientifically and practically.

Contributions from the followings areas are sought-after (e.g.):

  • Empirical (qualitatively and/or quantitatively data backed) and theoretical contributions
  • Philosophical and historical analysis; case studies; conceptual developments & assessments; descriptions of newly developed methods and their practical application.
  • Deductive and inductive studies; thematically horizontal or sectorial papers; studies of policy mixes among en-vironmental, social and/or economic instruments; de lege lata and/or de lege ferenda essays.
  • Local studies with a potential wider application; comparisons of nations or other spatial units; analysis of re-gional integration; multilevel interplay.
  • Studies of Common Law and/or Continental Law (public, private and/or criminal/penal law)
  • Contributions about soft law, binding and/or non-binding instruments, formal and customary institutions
  • The role of sustainability law for institutional change and government policy also towards future generations
  • Single (case) studies or comparisons related to strategies, plans, programs, conflict of interests and/or trade-offs among different values and interests. Studies related to any stakeholders.
  • Studies on substantial rights (such as human rights) and procedural rights (such as ublic participation (such as access to information, participation in procedures and access to justice)
  • Innovative local, national, regional & international legal principles/approaches towards more sustainability incl. e.g. degrowth law, green economy law, soft law & customary law
  • Legal institutions and inter-/intragenerational justice on the pathway towards a sustainable transitions
  • Legislative, administrative, judicial decision-making & enforcement by law in terms of priority setting, igno-rance, uncertainty, risk, conflicts of interest and trade-offs; absolute and relative achievements by law
  • The role of law for property rights, new commons, the Post2015 Agenda & Sustainable Development Goals
  • Gender, planetary boundaries and/or ecosystem services, footprint, sustainable production & consumption
  • Sustainable development elements of
    • efficiency, effectiveness and sufficiency
    • environmental, social and economic capital, capacity and carrying capacity, also with the back ground of population questions


  1. Each proposed contribution shall in particularly outline its relevant to sustainable development in connection to one of the areas pointed out above or with another particular area.
  2. A brief indication how the proposed contribution relates to the topic of the Conference ("The challenge for in-clusive sustainability for development: how to engage the academy, government, communities and business") is welcome.


You may submit your abstract by visiting the Ex Ordo abstract submission system (you will be required to setup an account first): http://isdrs2017.exordo.com



Volker Mauerhofer holds Master degrees in Laws (1989-93), Natural Sciences (1992-99) and Ecological Economics (2002-03) and a Doctorate (1993-98) in Law. He is former Attorney-at-Law and Visiting Professor at United Nations University/Japan after having taught and researched there for over two years. Currently he is a Lecturer at the University of Vienna, holding several visiting positions elsewhere, and a Coordinating Lead Author of the UN-IPBES Global Assessment/Chapter6. Besides editing, publishing, presenting and supervising, he has executed academic and freelance research over 20 years in more than 50 countries worldwide.