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GlobalTrust Report Summary

Project ID: 323323
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Israel

Final Report Summary - GLOBALTRUST (Sovereigns as Trustees of Humanity: The Obligations of Nations in an Era of Global Interdependence)

The GlobalTrust project assessed the potential justifications for conceiving sovereigns as trustees of humanity at large and the preconditions for imposing on them other-regarding obligations, while seeking to define the legitimate scope and depth of such obligations. This was achieved by several publications that included stand alone articles such as Benvenisti, Sovereigns as Trustees of Humanity, published in American Journal of International Law (2013), and books such as “Community Interests Across International Law (Benvenisti & Nolte, Eds., OUP, 2018). The project has also explored the extent to which these obligations are already reflected in state practice and in law and demonstrated that the law already imposes other regarding obligations on states even if without acknowledging or articulating such a vision of sovereignty. The project examined the extent to which the diverse international and national mechanisms that currently exist or that can be anticipated can legitimately demand sovereigns to weigh other-regarding considerations and thereby promote global welfare. Work on this track explained the logic that led legal institutions such as international tribunals, national courts and other local and global agencies to exercise effective review of sovereigns’ policy-making, through an examination of the motivations and constraints that these reviewing bodies have with respect to reviewing national decision-making. The project also assessed the extent to which such bodies can legitimately impose limits on sovereigns’ discretion. Finally, the project focused on the ramification of the trusteeship vision for specific state obligations, mainly related to the destabilizing consequences of emerging and intensifying global risks and the need for law to adapt to meet these challenges. In particular, we examined the legal branches that deal with environmental risks and natural disasters, with their consequences in the fields of human rights law and migration and refugee law, the management of inter-ethnic conflicts and the challenge of peace-making. We also addressed more recent risks to democratic societies emerging from new cyber threats, and reliance on artificial intelligence in governance and in warfare.

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