Director : Prof. Eyal Benvenisti
Administrative Coordinator: Ms. Seffi Weintraub
The research project "Sovereigns as Trustees of Humanity: The Obligations of Nations in an Era of Global interdependence" ("GlobalTrust") , funded by a European Research Council Advanced Grant, is informed by the observation that when setting national policies, states routinely affect foreigners in faraway countries often without providing them with adequate opportunities to participate in shaping those policies. The result of this glaring misfit between the scope of the sovereign’s authority and the sphere of the affected stakeholders is negative externalities as well as the loss of potential positive externalities imposed on the un- or under-represented stakeholders, namely outcomes that are often inefficient and unjust, in addition to being undemocratic.
The project sets out to explore some key questions such as:Do states, when they exercise their domestic regulatory functions, have an obligation to take into account the interests of foreign individuals and communities who could be adversely affected? Should national legislators and government agencies integrate foreign stakeholders into their decision-making processes? Must states share with strangers their scarce national resources, or sacrifice the lives of their soldiers, to promote the wellbeing of foreigners and in general to contribute to global welfare?
The projectwill approach these questions from several angles and disciplines including the history of international legal theory, political philosophy and political science in addition to constitutional law and positive international law. The project will revisit the traditional concept of sovereignty: Crystallized at a time when distances between communities were large and self-sufficiency was the aspiration, the concept of sovereignty must now be adapted to contemporary realities of shrinking distances and intensifying global interdependencies. The intense and complex interactions require recasting sovereignty as embedded in a more encompassing global order, which is a source not only of powers and rights, but also of obligations that essentially require states to take the rights of all affected individuals into account.