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In his guest lecture entitled "New Responses to the Legitimacy-Crisis of International Institutions: The Rise of the ‘Most Affected’ Principle in International Law," Jochen von Bernstorff (University of Tübingen) will explore the emergence of local and transnational social movements in response to a perceived legitimacy crisis of and backlash against international institutions and international NGOs in representing the interests of local communities around the world.

Detail Summary
Date 16 May 2019
Time 13:00 -14:30


In the 1990s, NGO participation in ‘Global Governance’ was seen as a new paradigm to ‘democratise’ international institutions and to enhance the realisation of ‘community interests’ in international law. Jochen von Bernstorff's lecture is based on a paper starting from the assumption that the idea of NGO-representation of abstract common interests, such as environmental protection, fighting impunity, protecting human rights etc. has given way to the principle of participation of the ‘most affected’ in international institutions. Classic NGOs in various fields of law- and policy-making are increasingly being replaced by the participation of the so called ‘most affected’ organised in local and transnational social movements, hereby reacting to a perceived legitimacy crisis of and backlash against international institutions and international NGOs. Members of indigenous groups and peasant organisations have engaged in various UN bodies and successfully lobbied for new rights instruments and institutional reform to ensure protection, participation, and influence.

The Speaker

Jochen von Bernstorff (Prof. Dr. iur.) holds the chair for constitutional law, international law and human rights at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (since 2011) and taught international law as a visiting professor at the German Federal Foreign Office Academy Berlin, Université Aix-Marseille and National Taiwan University Taipei. He has acted as a consultant for the German Government and various UN institutions on human rights, development and international environmental law issues.

Jochen von Bernstorff studied law at Philipps-Universität Marburg and University of Poitiers, reveiced his Ph.D. from the University of Mannheim in 2000 and holds an LL.M. from the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence (2001). He was employed at the German Federal Foreign Office (diplomatic service 2002-2007) in the Multilateral Human Rights Policy Task Force of the UN Department, a member of the German delegation at the UN Commission on Human Rights in 2004 and 2005 and the UN Human Rights Council in 2006, and a member of the German delegation at the UN General Assembly in 2003–2005. Furthermore, he served as chief negotiator of the German delegation at negotiations over the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, New York (2003-2007). From 2007 to 2011 he was a senior research fellow and spokesperson at the Max-Planck-Institute for Comparative Public Law and Public International Law in Heidelberg. In 2009 he was visiting fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law of Cambridge University.


This is a closed event for ACES and ACELG members. In case you are neither member of ACES or ACELG, but would like to join, please send us an email with a brief motivation of why you would like to join.


This lecture is part of the ACES project 'Territorialities and Sovereignties.'