Operationalizing nexus governance at a planetary scale: An earth system law perspective

Louis Kotzé, Rakhyun E. Kim

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


Nexus governance recognises that sustainability concerns such as water, energy, and food security are all interlinked, and provides an alternative to the fragmented regulatory approach that treats these concerns as distinct and unrelated issues. The need for nexus governance is also becoming increasingly apparent at a planetary scale. However, international environmental law remains sectorally fragmented in the absence of an overarching norm that would bring together myriad international environmental institutions. Recognizing such a shortcoming, a group of scholars have recently proposed earth system law as a framework to rethink law in an earth system context. Here we build on the emerging literature and argue that international environmental law’s full potential would be realised if it were itself to embrace a perspective that is commensurate with the nexus governance demands of an interconnected earth system. More specifically, we point to international institutional law, a body of law governing the relationship between international institutions, as holding the key to operationalizing nexus governance at a planetary scale. By so doing, this article contributes to the emerging earth system law discourse by reflecting on how an earth system law approach to some of the international legal norms governing water, energy, and food could better facilitate nexus governance at a planetary scale.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
Event2022 Toronto Conference on Earth System Governance: Governing accelerated transitions: justice, creativity, and power in a transforming world - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 20 Oct 202224 Oct 2022


Conference2022 Toronto Conference on Earth System Governance


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