There is an emerging world order characterized by voluntary pledges within a legal or “legal-ish” architecture of commitments. The pledging world order incubated in the international response to climate change but has developed in diverse sites that cross the public-private divide and blur the lines between them. Pledging as a legal technology is distinctly underwhelming—facilitating incremental, non-disruptive action—but it may be the best available approach for climate change. As a world order, pledging is a both a symptom of and a contributor to the dismantling of the Westphalian and Post-war orders. It erodes distinctions between public and private; multilateralism and localism; the global North and South; law and not-law; and progress and stasis. It gives no pride of place to public actors, spaces, or values. Normative responses will embrace this technocratic, neoliberal logic of action, reclaim a logic of publicness, or somehow mediate between these logics.
We look forward to welcoming you on July 3-5, 2023 for our Annual Conference entitled "Islands and Ocean: Public Law in a Plural World." The conference will take place at the Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand. We will be announcing more details about the conference soon, including financial support to early career and global south scholars!