Abstract: “Life means life” is a mantra of elected state officials who would rather spend already-compromised state budgets on increasing the use of imprisonment as a punishing tool rather than being viewed by their constituents as “soft on crime”. As a result of tough-on-crime initiatives, approximately 160,000 out of 2.2 million inmates being held in jails and prisons in the United States are serving life sentences. While surviving imprisonment is a challenge for most individuals, prisoners who serve long sentences—including “life”—have different adaptation mechanisms, and for them, adaptation is a longer, more complex process. Further, while persons serving life sentences include those who present a serious threat to public safety, they also include those for whom the length of sentence is questionable. In particular, life without parole (LWOP) sentences often represent a misuse of limited correctional resources and discount the capacity for personal growth and rehabilitation that comes with the passage of time. The purpose of this article is to explore the “doing life” experiences of a man who has chosen to redirect the focus of his life by transforming himself and helping others.
Abstract: This article takes a closer look at the complex web of financial assistance mechanisms in the climate change sector. These mechanisms are important tools for assisting developing countries to address the challenges associated with climate change. Mapping the various types of institutions and funds in this sector, the author underlines the important role played by the private sector but also highlights the increasing presence of financial mechanisms under the aegis of international organizations, such as the World Bank. Moreover, a particular focus is placed on the Green Climate Fund and the way in which the establishment of this mechanism may affect the functioning of existing financial mechanisms. In calling for better communication, coordination, and coherence among these actors and mechanisms, the author suggests that these ends may be achieved by placing an emphasis on plurality, complementarity, and mutual support through, inter alia, more effective policy oversight and enhanced inter-institutional relations.
Abstract: The global bioeconomy is generating new paradigm-shifting practices of knowledge co-production, such as collective innovation; large-scale, data-driven global consortia science (Big Science); and consortia ethics (Big Ethics). These bioeconomic and sociotechnical practices can be forces for progressive social change, but they can also raise predicaments at the interface of law, human rights, and bioethics. In this article, we examine one such double-edged practice: the growing, multivariate exploitation of Big Data in the health sector, particularly by the private sector. Commercial exploitation of health data for knowledge-based products is a key aspect of the bioeconomy and is also a topic of concern among publics around the world. It is exacerbated in the current age of globally interconnected consortia science and consortia ethics, which is characterized by accumulating epistemic proximity, diminished academic independence, “extreme centrism”, and conflicted/competing interests among innovation actors. Extreme centrism is of particular importance as a new ideology emerging from consortia science and consortia ethics; this relates to invariably taking a middle-of-the-road populist stance, even in the event of human rights breaches, so as to sustain the populist support needed for consortia building and collective innovation. What role do law, human rights, and bioethics—separate and together—have to play in addressing these predicaments and opportunities in early 21st century science and society? One answer we propose is an intertwined ethico-legal normative construct, namely trustworthiness. By considering trustworthiness as a central pillar at the intersection of law, human rights, and bioethics, we enable others to trust us, which in turns allows different actors (both nonprofit and for-profit) to operate more justly in consortia science and ethics, as well as to access and responsibly use health data for public benefit.
Abstract: A major aim of the international community is to decarbonize the economy. With renewables, international trade in energy is likely to increase. In turn, the international trading system can be a major vehicle towards moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. To this end, it can provide fair competition, economies of scale and knowledge transfer. This article analyzes the impact of European Union (EU) preferential trade agreements (PTAs) in addressing climate change mitigation and energy security by promoting renewables. Currently, there is a proliferation of PTAs; this trend seems irreversible and is likely to persist, given the current crisis in the multilateral trading system. We argue that the EU can, through its network of PTAs, move towards greater energy independence as renewable energy becomes increasingly economically viable. This article provides a thorough review of the renewable energy-related provisions in the EU’s current PTAs and recommends three tangible ways through which the EU could capitalize its vast network of PTAs to boost the renewable energy market.
Abstract: Recent concerns about alleged insufficient water provision to the poor in Detroit, USA, has put the Human Right to Water (HRW) into the international discussion. The paper asks: “To what extent did international human rights treaties make HRW judiciable?” and “How did government policies implement it?” In a cross-country comparison of performance indicators, merely accepting HRW has not been helpful in promoting affordable access to potable water or sanitation facilities close to the home, amongst the reasons being deficiencies in water-governance. Case-law confirmed that with respect to affordable access HRW obliges governments to a “progressive realization” only, also in countries accepting HRW (India, South Africa). The paper focuses on the resulting positive state obligation to establish funding programs for better water and sanitation services and analyzes funding policies by a mathematical model of policy goals. It identifies two viable goals namely the successful support for the poor, as in developing countries, and the most economic use of public funds, as in industrialized countries. Other goals conceivable for the model have been tried in the past and failed.
Abstract: Revolutions in genetic technology have heralded the age of population-scale genomic metadata. This article analyzes the tensions and gaps between traditional conceptions of personhood and international legal responses to a person’s right over disembodied data obtained from his/her body. The opportunities for breakthroughs in healthcare by interrogating population-scale genomic databases are accompanied by questions about privacy, property, dignity, and the nature of information regulation in a global economy. This article highlights instances where law and policy makers have grappled with these challenges, and foreshadows some emerging future challenges. It also highlights differences between jurisdictions, and calls for greater global participation in the development of a coherent framework, rather than continued reliance on a small number of stakeholders, to develop that framework.