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Accepted Paper:

Transnational litigation for environmental justice? How communities are leveraging Northern courts and institutions to challenge resource extraction in the global South  
Clare Cummings (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

Communities in the global South adversely affected by extractive industries are increasingly turning to transnational litigation to challenge environmental degradation and related rights violations. This paper explore how transnational litigation may challenge the terms of mineral extraction.

Paper long abstract:

The extraction of minerals critical to renewable energy technologies threatens the sustainability of local environments and livelihoods in resource abundant countries. As the demand for minerals increases, communities and states in the global South are bearing the brunt of localised environmental damage (Cullet & Koonan 2019). Coalitions of communities and campaigners are increasingly turning to courts of law to seek justice over such environmental degradation and related rights violations (Adelman 2021).

Where environmental litigation has largely concerned actors within the global North, new strategies are emerging that leverage Northern institutions to hold transnational corporations to account for harm caused in the global South (Yu 2022). New laws passed in several European countries allow corporations to be held accountable in the jurisdiction of the parent company for actions committed elsewhere by a subsidiary (Weller & Pato 2018). Examining how institutions, campaign coalitions and corporations transcend political boundaries, this paper explores the power relations shaping how such litigation strategies may foster environmental justice. This paper draws on recent cases from Nigeria and Zambia and asks what factors enable communities to challenge the terms of extraction in the face of a growing demand for minerals.

Panel P27
The extractive politics of Africa’s energy transition: A new dawn or more of the same?
  Session 2 Friday 28 June, 2024, -