The EU, multi-level governance: a reflection on restoration activities

Eleonora Ciscato (University of Milan)


Ecological recovery has never been so important and yet so overlooked in environmental law and policy-makers agenda. Effectively, much attention seems to be devoted to avoiding pollution, mitigating and adapting to new ecological scenarios in the Anthropocene. However, it has been debated (Akhtar-Khavari and Richardson, 2019) that such an approach often risks disguising a crucial temporal bias: being too concentrated in addressing nature’s heritage, the true interrelated dimension of the socio-ecological systems connected to the present is overlooked. The restoration activity, on the contrary, is that “process of halting and reversing degradation, resulting in improved ecosystem services and recovered biodiversity” (Society of Ecological Restoration, 2016) which takes on the past, acts in the present so as to see results in the future.
The current paper aims to discuss the most relevant Law and Economics dimensions of restoration activities, in particular: (i) to address its opportunities and limits, (ii) to reconstruct the supranational and national legal framework of restoration law, (iii) to critically discuss the governance framework that could best fit the restoration of large-scale environments such as rivers, (iv) to suggest a reflection on justice, where present generations are called to restore ecosystems not due to an existing link between injury and restitution, but as an act of intergenerational equity.

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