Transition Governance and Law TGL (2019-2022) The Project

This project entitled "NGOs & Transition Governance in Law", or abbreviated "TransGov & Law" or TGL, aims to study the role of NGOs in the governance of the energy transition from a legal point of view.

In international law, the energy transition appears implicitly in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement on Climate, as one of the viable solutions likely to favor the realization of the long-term objective of limiting the rise of the average global temperature to 2° C compared to the pre-industrial level. This Agreement calls for, particularly about Articles 10 to 16, the establishment of a Global Partnership between the various actors involved in the fight against climate change. The TGL project is part of this perspective by focusing specifically on the issue of the participation of civil society (NGOs) in the implementation of the energy transition.

The energy transition is part of the European Union’s realization of an "Energy Union", which is one of the ten priorities of this organization for 2014-2019, based on three pillars. However, the success of this transition depends on the participation of all stakeholders, whether public (States, local authorities ...) or private (civil society, NGOs, companies, etc.).

The study of the phenomenon of climate change and its consequences for the future of the planet mobilizes the researchers of the exact sciences as much as those of the human and social sciences. Lawyers must take their full part, especially in international law (seeing that it is a global problem), but also in European law and in French and comparative law. It is important to reflect on the role of the various actors, particularly the NGOs, the rules adopted or to be adopted, the areas covered and the modalities for implementing the energy transition. I engaged in such research as part of my PhD thesis, in which I demonstrated that although the reconciliation of environmental and economic goals remains of great interest in the context of the exploitation of natural resources, it must nevertheless now be integrated into a larger framework of the energy transition. I wish to develop this reflection by orienting it on the role of the NGOs in the governance of the energy transition ; a theme that is only very little explored by the legal doctrine, but appearing fundamental for its success.

The TGL project aims to identify, question, and examine the role of NGOs in, at the same time, the manufacture and implementation of energy law resulting from the energy transition commitment. The new energy system, which must be set up at the international, European and national levels, derives from the legal rules. The energy transition is, in other words, mainly a legal transition. The question of the governance of this transition therefore arises. It first raises the question of the emergence of an energy democracy : should States be the only ones to participate in this transition ? It then raises the question of the reciprocal role of soft law and hard law, as well as their possible interactions in the governance of the energy transition. Based on the observation that the implementation of the latter depends to a large extent on the involvement of NGOs, the TGL project intends to show that this involvement can only be effective if certain mechanisms are put in place to this effect. Most of these mechanisms are directly related to State action, which should be verified. It is in light of these mechanisms that the analysis of the role of NGOs, as responsible partners of governments in the implementation of a sustainable transition, can be identified. But again, it is questionable whether, since the Paris Climate Agreement, States have put in place formal procedures and mechanisms for the involvement of NGOs at all levels, both in terms of rules only for the application of these rules. Finally, in the event that measures have been taken, is there a framework for dialogue or public debate conducive to the expression, training and contribution of NGOs in this process, and then favorable to the constitution of a network of exchange and institutional partnership on the energy transition ? My work will finally lead to reflect on the role of NGOs in the implementation stricto sensu of the energy transition. From this perspective, it will be necessary to find out whether the NGOs have put in place instruments for evaluating public policies on energy transition, likely to affect the whole process. In this context, it will also be asked whether the NGO-specific instruments of action promote the formation of advisory groups and take into consideration the jurisdictional procedures that guarantee the public interest, or private interests, in the area of energy transition. This analysis will also focus on the ambivalent role of NGOs in energy transition, especially when it comes to lobbies for sensitive issues.

Dr. Aubin NZAOU

Supervisors :

Professor Victor B. Flatt : Dwight Olds Chair in Law and Director of the Center for the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (EENR) at the University of Houston

Professor Bernadette Le Baut-Ferrarese : Member of the Center for European Studies (CEE) at University of Lyon, Director of the Master Degree "Climate Change Law" and co-director of the Master Degree "European Business Law", where she teaches in European energy law ; member of the "Pau Droit Energie Consortium", a partnership network of public and private actors in the energy transition, as well as the French Association of Energy Law (AFDEN)

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 845118

  • Dr. Aubin NZAOU’s CV  

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 845118

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