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Redefining Sovereignty

The present project identifies specific areas where sovereignty and the borders that define it are challenged and seeks to establish whether the traditional rules would suffice to address present and future realities. Such challenges coalesce into two major categories: i. Beyond territory, where the State seeks to move further from its borders sovereign functions, such as immigration control, and powers, such as jurisdiction in the high seas, traditionally exercised within its territorial limits; and ii. Beyond sovereignty, where the challenges presented go beyond the very essence of the concept of sovereignty, effectively by-passing the State and functioning on both a sub-statal and an intra-statal level, as in the case of addressing climate change or cyberspace governance. Each one of these topics remains at the forefront of international law today, while the subject-matter of the proposed research is extremely relevant to our daily concerns. These strands are run through by two horizontal considerations: they involve flows of people, living resources, natural elements and data that need to be regulated  so as to address global concerns. The fluidity of the subject runs counter to the rigidity of the borders, whereas the pre-eminence of common considerations contradicts the fundamental importance accorded to the State and its interests. Therein lies the challenge of the current project.

The project is being conducted under the auspices of the Athens Public International Law Center and the academic supervision of Professor Maria Gavouneli. The work is structured taking into account both the expertise required and the team complimentarity skills in order to optimize the final objective. In addition to traditional types of research, the team members will engage in dissemination exercises, presenting their findings in international conferences. The final product will be presented in an international conference organized in Athens, to which a number of experts in the field will be invited to participate, and published in a volume by a reputable international law publisher.

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The research work was supported by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (H.F.R.I.) under the “First Call for H.F.R.I. Research Projects to support Faculty members and Researchers and the procurement of high-cost research equipment grant” (Project Number: HFRI-FM17-1415).