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This webinar aims at gathering experts from diverse disciplines on key aspects of the protection of the Amazon forest. It will address diverse gaps/challenges from anthropological, political science, legal and regional governance perspectives.

Organized by: Curiae Virides Project (BSoG/VUB, Belgium), with the colaboration of Queen Mary University (UK), UNU-CRIS (Belgium) 

When: 4 of May 2021 at 16:00 CET


16:00 Introduction

16:10 Health Centered Environmental Governance. Doreen Montag (Queen Mary University).

16:30 Can judges nudge national governments to protect the forest? Liliana Lizarazo Rodriguez (Brussels School of Governance VUB)

16: 50 Regional governance instruments for the Amazon region. Maria Antonia Tigre (Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE))  

17:10 A critical perspective on the EU VPAs. Elke Verhaeghe (UNU-CRIS UGent)

17:30 Q&A

Registration info will be published soon.


Curiae Virides





Work packages

Curiae Virides

Output and outcomes

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 949690).

How the third wave of global judicial (and social) activism is filling ecological governance gaps and challenging the liability-remedy paradigm.

Project ID: 949690

This project conceptualises the worldwide progressive transformation of human rights litigation into ecocentric litigation that, by triggering activist courts, aims at filling ecological governance gaps with the expectation to provide effective remedy to victims of transnational ecological harm. 

The project investigates several aspects:

  • The share of ecological conflicts that become lawsuits.
  • The greening of social litigation.
  • The challenges of this greening for
    • The legal concept of attribution of liability in transnational lawsuits.
    • The access to effective remedy for victims of transnational ecological harms.
  • The effectiveness of this activism.

 The objectives of this project are to analyse and conceptualise: 

  1. The transformation of ecological conflicts into ecocentric lawsuits, who the main actors are (claimants, courts, defendants, interveners, victims, etc.), and whether alternative options such as operational-level grievances mechanisms (OLGM) are considered; 
  2. How ecocentric networks operate, how they are greening human rights litigation, and the scope of ecocentric case law; 
  3. The institutional capacity of ecocentric courts to rule on ecological lawsuits in a context of transnational operations of global value chains (GVCs) and the quality of their case law from a legal, economic and ecological perspective; 
  4. The type of remedy these lawsuits are seeking and obtaining, i.e. whether the goal of filling ecological governance gaps has a waterfall effect (or not) on access to remedy for victims of ecological harm, who are not always the claimants.

This project is motivated by increasing lawsuits lodged in the public interest of protecting ecosystems, to fill the legal and governance gaps that obstruct the sustainable conservation of these ecosystems. The character and scope of these lawsuits is varied, depending on their level (local, international, transnational), involved actors, their objectives, and the ecological conflicts at stake (climate change, biopiracy, pollution, deforestation, carbon leakage, forced displacement, intergenerational justice, etc.) 

For the purposes of this project, ecocentric courts are the ones that render progressive judgments that directly or indirectly protect ecosystems by enforcing individual or collective environmental human rights, or by recognising the autonomous rights of ecosystems.

This project is guided by the following research questions:

  • RQ1: How do ecological conflicts become ecocentric lawsuits and judgments, and who are the actors?
  • RQ2: How do ecocentric networks operate, how is human rights litigation greening, and what is the scope of ecocentric case law?
  • RQ3: How can the institutional capacity of ecocentric courts to rule on transnational ecological lawsuits be assessed in a context of transnational operations of GVCs?
  • RQ4: How can ecocentric litigation aimed at filling ecological governance gaps have a waterfall effect (or not) on access to remedy for victims of ecological harm, who are not always the claimants?

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 949690).

Curiae Virides Team

Meet the Curiae Virides team

The Curiae Virides team is part of the 3E (Environment, Economy and Energy) Research Centre of the Brussels School of Governance.

Liliana Lizarazo Rodriguez is research professor at the Brussels School of Governance, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and principal investigator of the ERC project Curiae Virides.

Liliana studied Law at the Universidad del Rosario (Colombia) and at the UNED (Spain). She also studied Financial Law at the Universidad del Rosario (Colombia) and Development Studies and Public Administration and Management at the University of Antwerp (Belgium). Liliana obtained her PhD at the Department of Interdisciplinary Study of Law, Private Law and Business Law of the University of Ghent (Belgium).

Liliana is an expert in the areas of Business & Human Rights, law and sustainable development, international economic law and constitutional and judicial adjudication. She is also assistant professor at the Law and Development Research Group, University of Antwerp (Belgium) and guest lecturer at Sciences Po (Campus Poitiers, France).

You find her publications on researchgate.

Contact: Liliana.Lizarazo.Rodriguez@vub.be


Afaf Rahim is a postdoctoral researcher at the ERC Curiae Virides project. She earned both her master’s and her Ph.D. degree in environmental economics and resource management from Wageningen University (The Netherlands).

She has previously worked as a research fellow at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (Germany), research coordinator at Tufts University (Boston, USA), assistant professor at Marburg University (Germany), and postdoctoral researcher at Pretoria University (South Africa). Most recently, she was a visiting research fellow at UNU-CRIS (Belgium).

Her research expertise and interests are at the intersection of environment and development. Her recent research focuses on migration decision-making and the social and economic integration of immigrants. 

You find her publications on ResearchGate

Contact: afaf.rahim@vub.be 


João is as a PhD researcher of the Curiae Virides project, studying how transnational ecological conflicts turn into lawsuits and the role played by courts in this context.

João has a bachelor's degree in Law from the Portuguese Catholic University and a master's degree in Transnational Law from Católica Global School of Law / King's College London, where he researched the legal regulation of transnational corporate accountability for human rights abuses.

Before joining the Brussels School of Governance, João worked independently as a public affairs and communications consultant for several Brussels based projects. In his free time, he dedicates himself to graphic design and music production.

His PhD research focuses on the theoretical (and empirical) foundations of value chain due diligence in transnational ecological conflicts.  

Contact: Joao.De.Freitas@vub.be

Research Methodology

The research team combines diverse research methodologies.

Below you find a summary of the methods employed in this research project. 

This project combines qualitative and quantitative methods to collect global data, seeking to shed light on the transformation of social claims, on the synergies among social and judicial activism and soft law production and implementation.

In this section, you will be able to consult the main data and sources that the team will collect.

In this section, you will be able to consult the legal analyses that the team will conduct.


An exploratory analysis to identify map and assess the transformation of transnational socioecological conflicts into ecocentric and related case law, to answer RQ1 and RQ2.

The in-depth analysis of transnational ecocentric lawsuits and ecocentric case law to address RQ2, RQ3 and RQ4.

The institutional capacity of activist courts to address ecocentric lawsuits and to provide effective remedy, RQ3 and RQ4.

The assessment of the ability of activist courts to guarantee effective access to remedy to victims in transnational ecological claims, to address RQ4.

Research questions

To consult the research questions, have a look at the About section.

Research output and outcomes

You can consult the publications of the Curiae Virides team here.

  • 11.03,2021  PI Liliana Lizarazo Rodriguez delivered her annual guest lecture on Regional Protection of Human Rights at the Master in Public Policy and Human Development (University of Maastricht). More info about the topic? Liliana.Lizarazo.Rodriguez@Vub.be


  • 18.03.2021 Greening human rights: the role of ecocentric courts: PI Liliana Lizarazo Rodriguez presented the main topics adressed by the research project Curiae Virides. The session was chaired by Doreen Montag. The event was organised by the Queen Mary University of London (The Blizard Institute) and The Queen Mary Latin America Network (QMLAN).


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