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Katarina Hovden is a PhD Fellow at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, Denmark (link). Her PhD thesis has the preliminary title “Taking Rights of Nature and Human Rights Seriously: On Balancing Rights in an Earth-centred Legal Paradigm”. In particular, she is interested to learn how rights of nature laws are being integrated into legal systems that recognise numerous other rights and right-holders. Mindful that most legal and governance systems remain anthropocentric, individualistic and mechanistic in their very structure, she is interested to explore what happens at the interface between the old and the new paradigm, and assess the extent to which rights of nature laws are able (or given the space) to pierce or shift the existing legal and governance paradigm. Katarina’s project investigates this process by studying how rights of nature laws deal with the question of balancing the rights of nature and human rights. Are rights balanced according to an anthropocentric paradigm or according to an Earth-centred paradigm? Whose rights prevail and under what circumstances? Finally, does the legal system prioritise, in balancing the rights of nature and human rights, ecological sustainability and the continued viability of the human species as part of a healthy and thriving Earth Community?

Katarina holds a BA (Honours) in Law from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and an LL.M. in International and European Law (public international law specialisation) from the Universiteit van Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Katarina is a volunteer for the international non-profit organisation Nature’s Rights (link), which has as one of its fundamental priorities to advance a framework for the rights of nature in the European Union and the wider Europe. In that connection, she was conference co-ordinator for a conference at the European Parliament in 2017, which introduced the organisation’s Draft EU Directive on the rights of nature to Members of the European Parliament, EU officials, civil society, and other key stakeholders. Katarina is an Expert on Earth-centred Law at the UN Harmony with Nature Knowledge Network (link) and a member of the Ecological Law and Governance Association (ELGA) (link).

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