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Abstracts of the upcoming Issues

Sustainable Development through Regulatory Competition without Effective UN and WTO Legal Restraints?

The current human disasters – like illegal wars of aggression, violent suppression of human and democratic rights, health pandemics, climate change, ocean pollution, overfishing and other biodiversity losses, non-compliance with United Nations (UN) and World Trade Organization (WTO) law – reflect governance failures and insufficient cooperation (section I.) to protect the ‘sustainable development goals’ (SDGs). Since 1950, Europe’s multilevel constitutionalism succeeded in progressively limiting transnational governance failures; yet, it is not followed outside Europe (section II.). Geopolitical rivalries (e.g. among authoritarian and democratic states) and competing national and regional regulations (e.g. on decarbonisation, digitalisation, and securitisation of economies) increasingly undermine UN and WTO legal restraints and judicial remedies (cf. section III.). The more globalisation is perceived as creating vulnerabilities justifying national security restrictions (e.g. against spread of viruses, weaponisation of interdependence), the more democracies resort to plurilateral second-best responses like trade, investment and environmental agreements conditioning market access on respect for human rights and greenhouse gas reductions (section IV.). This contribution explains why regulatory competition, ‘authoritarian alliances’, and their influence on plurilateral agreements (e.g. in Asia) render ‘constitutional UN/WTO reforms’ and realisation of the SDGs unlikely.