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11 May 2021


Hot off the Press: The Prospects of Common Concern of Humankind in International Law

The World Trade Institute (WTI) research project "Towards a Principle of Common Concern in Global Law" has successfully put its key findings out on print. After some pandemic-induced delay, the book entitled "The Prospects of Common Concern of Humankind in International Law" is published by Cambridge University Press in May 2021.

The book advances the legal doctrine of Common Concern of Humankind as an effective framework to deal with cooperation problems involving transboundary public goods necessary for global peace, security, and welfare (Common Concerns) and tests it out in different fields of law. Preparatory work for the book was facilitated by a conference that took place at the WTI in June 2018, where contributors presented their initial findings and received feedback from a range of experts, including Prof. Duncan French, Prof. Michael Hahn, Prof. Rosa Lastra, Prof. Gabrielle Marceau, Dr Roland Portmann, Prof. Cedric Ryngaert, Prof. Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer, Prof. Frances Stewart, Prof. Peter-Tobias Stoll, Dr Oisin Suttle, and Dr Klaus Zimmermann. The volume is edited by Prof. Thomas Cottier, who was also the research team lead in association with Zaker Ahmad, a member of the team.

The book is organized as a dialogue-in-progress. Part 1 lays down theoretical foundations. Chapter 1, authored by Thomas Cottier, sets out the history, the current state of play of common concern and the contours of a future principle of Common Concern of Humankind and its legal implications. It informs subsequent case studies in different areas of public international law which in return offer context for the foundational chapter. Part 2 contains case studies, which serve as varied test environments, each covering a specific regulated or unregulated area suffering inadequate or altogether absent cooperation. Chapter 2 by Dr Zaker Ahmad deals with low-carbon technology diffusion. Chapter 3 by Dr Judith Schäli deals with marine plastic pollution. Chapter 4 by Dr Alexander Beyleveld looks at the inequality of income and wealth distribution within states. Chapter 5 by Dr Iryna Bogdanova deals with the use of economic sanctions for the enforcement of human rights. Chapter 6 by Prof. Thomas Cottier and Dr Rosa Maria Losada deals with migration. Chapter 7 by Dr Lucia Satragno deals with monetary stability. Chapter 8 by Dr Federico Lupo-Pasini deals with financial stability. In part 3, titled ‘Epilogue’, the comments of the expert scholars on the doctrine itself and the suggested normative consequences are presented, which supply another layer of engaging critique of the notion, all the while bringing various perspective to the analysis. Chapter 9 focuses on the proposed framework of the doctrine. It contains comments from Prof. Peter-Tobias Stoll, Prof. Duncan French, and Dr Oisin Suttle. Chapter 10, the last of the volume, focuses on the most debated aspect of the doctrine – extraterritoriality. It contains comments from Prof. Cedric Ryngaert, Dr Klaus Zimmermann, and Prof. Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer.

The book is available both in electronic and in print form. Please click here. Readers are cordially invited to engage with its arguments. It is our sincere hope that the book will be able to instigate new thinking and approaches towards solving existing and emerging global Common Concerns.