The seminar’s intention is to dive deeper into the well-known but at the same time ambiguous concept of sustainable development. We are going to look at the notion of sustainable development through a Public International Law lens in order to discuss possible legal and political implications on the basis of a variety of legal fields and settings.
Students have the possibility to give a short presentation in English on the topic of their choice.

Teaching language will be English. The seminar addresses all students of all faculties with an interest in Public International Law. Students from the first semester onwards, Erasmus students and those students feeling uncomfortable with speaking English are explicitly invited since neither previous knowledge of the subject nor excellent English skills are required.
The seminar is a continuation of last semester’s seminar “Classics of Public International Law Revisited” that was created to establish a continuous seminar within the scope of Public International Law. All impulses and/or suggestions – especially concerning the proposed topics – are welcome.

It is possible (but not mandatory) to write a term paper (“Seminararbeit”) either in German or in English. It is also possible to write a major thesis (“Examenshausarbeit” – SPB X). Language of the major thesis can only be German.

The seminar will take place on Thursdays during the semester from 6-8 p.m. A detailed schedule will be forwarded to all participants after registration and topic assignments will be completed. If you would like to give a presentation, please indicate two possible topics for presentation.

For registration and topic assignment or in case you have further questions or proposals please contact Verena Kahl (

Suggested presentation topics:

1. From Rio to Agenda 2030 – evolution of the concept of sustainable development
2. The three pillars of sustainable development – conflicts and interconnections
3. Sustainability or development – the conflict between developing and developed countries
4. Sustainable development – evolving legal norm or mere political aspiration?
5. The Follow-up and review mechanism of the Agenda 2030 (A/RES/70/1)
6. The Agenda 2030 and the Paris agreement – a comparison
7. Sustainable development in the context of international economic law (World Bank, IMF, WTO)
8. Challenges of sustainable development under the law of the sea
9. Is there a human right to sustainable development?
10. Sustainable development in the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice
11. Feminist perspectives on sustainable development
12. The influence of migration on the notion of sustainable development
13. The status of future generations in the sustainable development discourse
14. Democracy as a prerequisite for sustainable development
15. Multinational enterprises – favoring or impeding sustainable development?