New Marie Curie Fellow at SCELG: Exploring Rights for Ecosystem Services for local communities in Scotland and Italy

In January 2020, Dr. Giulia Sajeva has commenced a Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship at SCELG on Rights for Ecosystem Services: a framework to protect the environment and sustainable local communities in the EU communities. Dr Sajeva was awarded the prestigious European Research Council grant in 2019 to conduct research in 2020-2021.

Under the supervision of Prof. Elisa Morgera, Dr. Sajeva will concentrate on adequate legal protection to local communities and their traditional, environmentally sustainable practices. Peasant farmers, small landholders, fisher-folk, herders, and worshippers of sacred natural sites often contribute to environmental protection through sustainable practices that advance several Sustainable Development Goals at once. However, they suffer from eviction from their traditional lands and pressures arising from large-scale natural resource development.

Throughout her project Dr. Sajeva will aim at developing an innovative theoretical and legal framework – labelled Rights for Ecosystems Services (RES) (echoing the highly debated Payment for Ecosystem Services framework) – to guide policy and legal developments towards reducing the risk of local communities abandoning their sustainable practices due to the lack of effective protection. The project will focus on local communities in the EU and will investigate the intersection between international, EU and Member States’ law, looking, specifically, at Scotland and Italy. Dr. Sajeva will seek to clarify the rights and obligations of local communities and the role of law to protect and support their practices and their contribution to environmental protection.

Dr. Sajeva has a PhD in human rights from the Law Department of the Università di Palermo, Italy, for which she researched the biocultural rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. On this topic, she recently published the book When Rights Embrace Responsibilities. Biocultural Rights and the Conservation of Environment with Oxford University Press. She is an honorary member of the ICCA Consortium, for which she recently co-compiled Meanings and more… ICCA Consortium Policy Brief no.7.

Policy-relevant research

This project will contribute to SCELG’s ongoing collaboration with the Strathclyde Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law on topics on the crossection of human rights and biodiversity law, including in the context of the the BENELEX project and the One Ocean Hub. This project will also contribute to SCELG’s contributions to Scotland’s National Task Force on Human Rights Leadership.