Principal investigator: Dr. Jerneja Penca 

Vodja projekta: Dr. Jerneja Penca

Evaluating environmental and sustainability transformation

From 1.1.2023 the project has been transferred to Science and Research Centre Koper – Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies. See the website link. 

The link to SICRIS database:

Environmental issues are making their way to the top of the political agenda in the European Union, supported by public expectations and scientific recommendations. As a result, the EU body of environmental law and policy is poised to grow or be subject to an extensive overhaul. This wave of regulation is in need of careful scholarly attention in order to a) generate an accurate account of the process, b) offer a persuasive explanation as to why it occurred and enhance capacity to anticipate the future regulatory framework, and finally, c) offer an informed and critical evaluation of the proposed action, as well as contribute to its improvement.

We start from the premise that to conduct the descriptive and normative analysis of recent environmental regulation, it is necessary to revisit the notions of ‘sustainable development’ and ‘sustainability’. Sustainable development has driven environmental law and policy at all levels since the 1990s. A wide consensus on this was reaffirmed in 2015 with the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite its conceptual ambiguity and a legal nature that is difficult to classify, the relevance of sustainable development is well established. For the purpose of this project, sustainable development is understood as a principal societal norm and a legal principle that continues to be valid and exercised in international, EU and national environmental law, as well as in proliferating transnational regulation beyond the state.

However, despite its authority, sustainable development entails an insufficient explanatory and predictive power in the context of current EU regulation. Discourses about ‘green economy’, ‘bioeconomy’, ‘Green New Deal’ and ‘circular economy’ are being invoked in the context of sustainability, but with unclear relevance and implications. There is much scope to complement the depiction of the current EU (and member states’) environmental law with an enquiry into changing paradigms and their legal effects. There is a need to reflect on whether sustainable development has undergone an evolution and progression in time, as well as reflect on whether the gradual implementation of sustainable development has brought about not only a reform of policies, but also a new form of governance.

The project seeks to characterise recent environmental regulation from a temporal and spatial perspective, especially against the notion of sustainability and legal principle of sustainable development. The purpose is to contribute to an understanding of recent EU and transnational regulatory action related to the environment, including its drivers, assumptions and the scope of ambition in relation to sustainability, but also to include excluded voices. 

The project will draw on various methodologies required by contemporary environmental law, including doctrinal methodology, comparative law methodology, empirical law methodologies and methodologies of transnational law, as well as integrating international relations into environmental law (specifically the constructivist approaches to norm diffusion and discourse analysis).

Phases of the project

Phase 1: Preparation, conceptual and methodological framework

The objective of this WP is to create a solid theoretical and methodological basis for the subsequent empirical work. To a large extent, this phase will be dedicated to refining a methodology in the interdisciplinary setting. The work is motivated by the question of what methodological approaches are possible to approach the study of regulatory change and which ones are best suited to approach the study of paradigm change?

Phase 2: Norm migration in EU environmental law

The objective of this phase, which focuses on the horizontal dimension of norm migration, is to remap the evolution of environmental law and sustainability efforts in the EU since the consolidation of the notion of sustainable development. Rather than considering the launch of sustainable development as an end of evolution, we look at what new norms have been introduced or reformed since then. In this phase, we will seek to offer an explanation of the purposes, principles, actors, targets, techniques and governance of EU environmental law over the years. Research will draw on specific pieces of legislation and regulatory action in selected policy areas, as well as the policy context.

Phase 3: Synthesis

This phase will seek to articulate a descriptively convincing account of norm migration in EU environmental law in time (and possibly also in space), and evaluate horizontal (and possibly also vertical) norm migration with reference to sustainable development and sustainability exigencies. This WP will pay attention to demonstrating an effective marriage between empirical and normative approaches, and highlighting the contribution on both ends. It will also reflect on the methodology used and the wider lessons learnt from this interdisciplinary work.

Outputs of the project

The project aims to contribute to cutting-edge discussions in Europe, both at scholarly and policy level while publishing high-quality papers in peer-reviewed journals. It will also engage in the dissemination of results to the general public, fellow scholars and policy-makers.

The project results will be accessed through this website, and by following the Twitter and LinkedIn account of the PI.


Research team

The Principal Investigator (PI) is Jerneja Penca. Jerneja is assistant professor acting as the Head of Academic Affairs at the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI). She holds a PhD in law from the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, LLM degrees from the EUI and the University of Nottingham, and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Ljubljana. Her research in the area of environmental governance and sustainable development has spanned various themes, including biodiversity, climate change, fisheries and plastics pollution. She is involved in policy dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean region, particularly in the areas of science and higher education, research and innovation cooperation, blue economy and sustainability. She is the Managing Editor of the (Scopus-listed) International Journal of Euro-Mediterranean Studies.


Marko Lovec (PhD) is a research fellow and assistant professor at the Centre of International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana. Currently, he is the PI in the research project on data support systems for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020, co-funded by the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) and the Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture (MKGP). He is also a project researcher on Bioeconomy (2018-2021) and Strategic Research and Innovation Partnerships (responsible for the area of agriculture and food) (2016-2019, 2019-2021), co-funded by ARRS and individual ministries. He has contributed to several international and national research projects on CAP and food security (e.g. for the European Parliament and European Institute of the Mediterranean, and on the Strategic Evaluation of CAP in Slovenia). He held affiliations with the European Council of Foreign Relations (2016-), the Central European University (2016-2018), and the Institute of International Relations in Prague (2016). He has published widely on agriculture and sustainability issues in international journals, as well as edited volumes. He has been awarded by the University of Ljubljana for outstanding junior research and teaching .

Danijel Crnčec (PhD) is a teaching assistant at the Chair of International Relations, University of Ljubljana. He has an interdisciplinary educational background in International Relations and International Economy. Currently, he is also working for the Ministry of Infrastructure, where he is engaged in the development of the Slovenian Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP). His academic research and work has focused on international /EU climate and energy policies, climate diplomacy, and EU-Russia energy relations in the context of the development of international law of climate change. He has also been dealing with eco-innovation and circular change in Slovenia.


Project details

Project start: 1.9.2020

Project end: 31.8.2023

The project effort is 1363 hours annually.

Project code: J5-2562

Official project title: Norm transfer in the EU and Slovenia – evaluating environmental and sustainability transformation

The project is financially supported by

Ocena napredka k okoljski in trajnostni preobrazbi

S 1.1.2023 je projekt prenešen na Znanstveno-raziskovalno središče Koper – Mediteranski inštitut za okoljske študije. Spletna stran tukaj.

Povezava do baze podatkov SICRIS:

Okoljska vprašanja se uvrščajo na vrh agende v EU, kar je podprto s pričakovanju javnosti in znanstvenimi priporočili. Pričakovati je, da bo okoljska zakonodaja EU v porastu in hkrati predmet obsežne prenove. Ta val regulacije potrebuje pozornost, z namenom, da ustrezno opiše procese, ponudi prepričljivo razlago glede njegovih vzrokov, ter tako okrepi zmogljivosti za predvidevanje regulativnega okvira v prihodnosti, ter nazadnje, ponudi poglobljeno in kritično oceno predlaganih ukrepov, s tem pa tudi prispeva k njihovem izboljšanju.


Projekt izhaja iz predpostavke, da se je za izvedbo opisne in normativne analize okoljske regulacije potrebno vrniti k vsebini pojma ‘trajnostni razvoj’ ter ‘trajnost’. Od 90ih let prejšnjega stoletja je okoljsko zakonodajo in politiko na vseh ravneh politike pričel usmerjati trajnostni razvoj. Široko soglasje o vodilni vlogi trajnostnega razvoja je bilo ponovno potrjeno leta 2015 s sprejetjem Ciljev trajnostnega razvoja (SDG). Kljub svoji vsebinski dvoumnosti in nejasni pravni naravi, ki jo je težko klasificirati, je relevatnost trajnostnega razvoja široko sprejeta. Za potrebe tega projekta trajnostni razvoj razumemo kot temeljno družbeno normo ter pravno načelo, ki ima veljavo in uporabno vrednost tako v mednarodnem, EU in nacionalnem okoljskem pravu, ter pri širjenju trans-nacionalnih predpisov onkaj države.

Kljub svojemu pravnem položaju v okviru sedanje ureditve EU, trajnostni razvoj ne uspe v zadostni meri pojasnjevati in napovedovati. Diskurzi o ‘zelenem gospodarstvu’, ‘bio-ekonomiji’, ‘zelenem dogovoru’ in ‘krožnem gospodarstvu’ vznikajo v okviru trajnosti, vendar imajo nejasno relevantnost in posledice. Trenuten prikaz okoljskega prava EU (in držav članic)  lahko pomembno dopolnimo s študijo paradigem in njihovih pravnih učinkov. Treba je razmisliti, ali je trajnostni razvoj doživel razvoj in napredek, ter razmisliti, ali je postopno izvajanje trajnostnega razvoja prineslo ne le reformo politik, temveč tudi novo obliko upravljanja.


Namen projekta je konceptualizirati nedavno okoljsko ureditev iz časovnega in prostorskega vidika, zlasti v odnosu do pojma trajnosti in pravnim načelom trajnostnega razvoja. Cilj je prispevati k razumevanju nedavnih regulatornih ukrepov EU in trans-nacionalnih institucij, povezanih z okoljem, vključno z njihovimi vzroki, predpostavkami in obsegom ambicij glede trajnosti, pa tudi stališči, ki so izključena.


Projektno delo bo uporabljalo različne metode, ki jih narekuje sodobno okoljsko pravo, vključno z doktrinarno, primerjalno-pravno in empirično pravno metode, metodologijami trans-nacionalnega prava, ter skrbelo za vključevanje mednarodnih odnosov v okoljsko pravo (zlasti konstruktivističnih pristopov k razširjanju norm in analizi diskurza).

 Faze projekta

1. faza: Priprava, konceptualni in metodološki okvir

Cilj te faze je ustvariti trdno teoretsko in metodološko podlago za empirično delo, ki bo sledilo. V veliki meri bo ta faza namenjena izpopolnjevanju celovite metodologije v inter-disciplinarnemu kontekstu.Kakšni metodološki pristopi lahko pojasnjujejo spremembo politik in kateri so najustreznejšu za pojasnjevanje sprememb paradigme?


2. faza: Prenos norm v EU okoljskem pravu

Cilj te faze, ki se osredotoča na horizontalno razsežnost migracije norme, je ponuditi videnje razvoja oz. napredka okoljskega prava in prizadevanja za trajnost v EU od utrditve pojma trajnostnega razvoja do danes. Namesto da bi nastop trajnostnega razvoja obravnavali kot konec evolucije, bomo preverili, katere nove norme so bile od takrat uvedene ali preoblkovane. V tej fazi bomo skušali pojasniti namen, načela, akterje, cilje, tehnike in načine upravljanja okoljskega prava EU skozi čas. Raziskave bodo temeljile na analizi zakonodaji in regulatornih ukrepov na izbranih področjih, ob upoštevanju policy konteksta.

3. faza: Sinteza

Ta faza bo oblikovala opisno prepričljiv prikaz migracije norme znotraj okoljske zakonodaje EU v času ter ovrednotila horizontalen prenos migracije norme v odnosu to trajnostnega razvoja in trajnosti. Razmislek bo namenjen tudi o uporabljeni metodologiji in širših spoznanjih, pridobljenih pri interdisciplinarnem delu.



Rezultati projekta

Cilj projekta je prispevati k aktualnim razpravam v Evropi, tako na znanstveni kot na politični ravni. Cilj je ustvariti članke visoke kakovosti v recenziranih strokovnih revijah, prav tako pa sodelovati pri razširjanju rezultatov med akademiki, laičnim občinstvom,  in snovalci politik.

Do rezultatov projekta bo mogoče dostopati prek te spletne strani, ter preko Researchgate, Twitter, LinkedIn računa vodje projekta.


Raziskovalna skupina

Vodja projekta je Jerneja Penca. Jerneja je docentka na Evro-sredozemski univerzi (EMUNI), kjer nastopa kot vodja akademskih zadev. Doktorirala je na oddelku za pravo na Evropskem univerzitetnem inštitutu (EUI) v Firencah, magistrirala na Univerzi v Nottinghamu in EUI, ter diplomirala na Fakulteti za družbene vede Univerze v Ljubljani. Njeno raziskovanje na področju okoljskega upravljanja in trajnostnega razvoja so obsegale različne režime, vključno z biotsko raznovrstnostjo, podnebnimi spremembami, ribištvom in onesnaževanjem s plastiko. Sodeluje v regijskem dialogu v Evro-sredozemlju, zlasti na področjih znanosti in visokega šolstva, sodelovanja na področjih raziskav in inovacij, modre ekonomije ter trajnosti. Je urednica Mednarodne revije za Evro-sredozemske študije (IJEMS).


Marko Lovec
(Dr) je znanstveni sodelavec in docent na Centru za mednarodne odnose Fakultete za družbene vede Univerze v Ljubljani. Trenutno je vodja raziskovalnega projekta za sisteme podpore podatkov za skupno kmetijsko politiko (SKP) po letu 2020, ki ga sofinancirata Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost (ARRS) in Ministrstvo za kmetijstvo, gozdarstvo in prehrano (MKGP). Je tudi raziskovalec v projektih na področju bioekonomije (2018–2021) in strateških raziskovalnih in inovacijskih partnerstev (odgovoren za področje kmetijstva in prehrane) (2016–2019, 2019–2021), ki jih sofinancirajo ARRS in posamezna ministrstva. Prispeval je k več mednarodnim in nacionalnim raziskovalnim projektom na področju SKP in zanesljive preskrbe s hrano (npr. za Evropski parlament in Evropski inštitut za Sredozemlje ter strateško oceno SKP v Sloveniji). Ima oz. je imel afiliacije z Evropskim svetom za zunanje odnose (2016-), Srednje-evropsko univerzo (2016-2018) in Inštitutom za mednarodne odnose v Pragi (2016). Obsežno objavlja o vprašanjih kmetijstva in trajnosti v mednarodnih revijah ter bil urednik zbirk. Prejel je nagrado Univerze v Ljubljani za izjemno raziskovanje in poučevanje.

Danijel Crnčec (Dr) je asistent na Katedri za mednarodne odnose Fakultete za družbene vede Univerze v Ljubljani. Ima interdisciplinarno ozadje iz mednarodnih odnosov in mednarodne ekonomije. Trenutno je vzporedno zaposlen tudi na Ministrstvu za infrastrukturo, kjer sodeluje pri razvoju Slovenskega integriranega nacionalnega energetskega in podnebnega načrta (NECP). Njegovo raziskovalno delo se je osredotočilo na mednarodne podnebne in energetske politike EU, podnebno diplomacijo in energetske odnose med EU in Rusijo v okviru razvoja mednarodnega prava o podnebnih spremembah. Raziskovalno pa se je ukvarjal tudi z ekološkimi inovacijami in krožnimi spremembami v Sloveniji.

Podrobnosti projekta

Začetek projekta: 1.9.2020

Konec projekta: 31.8.2023

Obseg projekta je 1363 letnih ur.

Številka projekta: J5-2562

Naslov projekta: Prenos norm v EU in Sloveniji – ocena napredka k okoljski in trajnostni preobrazbi

Projekt sofinancira