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Brita Bohman

About me

I am Senior Lecturer in Environmental law and teach Swedish, EU and international environmental law. My research is mostly related to ocean governance law, especially the Baltic Sea, and I cooperate regularly in transdisciplinary and international research environments.

I have been a full time lecturer at Stockholm University since December 2019. After finishing my LL.D. at the Department of Law, Stockholm University, in 2017 I have had a research position at the Law Faculty at Åbo Akademi University in Finland (2017) and a post doc position in Ocean Governance Law at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg from 2017-2019.

Research and funding

My research is mainly within international and EU environmental law and it deals with questions related to the role of law in governance of complex environmental problems and legal design. The main focus in my research is on the role of law for ‘social-ecological resilience’, adaptiveness, and the ecosystem approach. A significant part of my research also concerns ocean governance and Baltic Sea environmental law.

Recently my research involves and explores the of Earth system governance and Earth system law and I am a member of the Task Force on Earth System Law. https://www.earthsystemgovernance.org/

My doctoral project studied how law can reflect and respond to the kind of governance that is promoted in the research on ‘social-ecological resilience’, a theoretical framework on how to achieve sustainability despite the increasing complexity of environmental problems. My conclusions regarding the design of law and legal frameworks were applied to the legal governance of the Baltic Sea and the problem with eutrophication. My dissertation was included in a transdisciplinary research program at Stockholm University, called ’Baltic Ecosystem Adaptive Management’ (BEAM), and was financed by the government strategic research funding. https://www.su.se/ostersjocentrum/english/beam The doctoral study was pursued in collaboration with researchers at the Baltic Sea Centre and the Resilience Centre at Stockholm University.

My research at Åbo Akademi University was part of the transdisciplinary ‘BaltReg’ project on law and multi-level governance in the Baltic Sea Region. This was a project that combined law and political science. The project was funded by The Academy of Finland. Together with colleges from Åbo Akademi University, I furthermore did a study on sea-based measures against eutrophication financed by Centrum Balticum/Baltic Area Legal Studies – BALEX, Åbo, Finland.

Teaching

I teach Swedish, EU, and international environmental law at different levels.

Academic background

My doctoral thesis, Transboundary Law for Social-Ecological Resilience? A Study on Eutrophication in the Baltic Sea, was finalized in February 2017 at Stockholm University.

After my doctorate I had a position as project researcher at Åbo Akademi University, Finland, (2017). In 2017-2019 I was a post-doctoral researcher in Ocean Governance Law at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. During 2017 I was also Acting Senior Lecturer (part time) at Stockholm University.

Visiting scholar

Project researcher at Åbo Akademi University, Finland, (2017).

Conferences and seminars (the three most resent)

"Social Resilience in the Anthropocene: A New Role for Environmental Law?", virtual presentation at the session on Earth System Law: Transformation and law futures, at the 2021 Bratislava Conference - Earth System Governance in turbulent times: prospects for political and behavioral responses, 7-9th September, 2021.

“The problem of eutrophication and perspectives on compliance in the Baltic Sea area”, presentation at Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre Webinar on Law and governance in the Baltic Sea and the Chesapeake Bay with myself and Lara Fowler, Senior Lecturer, Penn State Law, 28th of May, 2020.

“Geo-engineering measures to boost ocean ecosystems in the Baltic Sea - a study in how environmental law operates in the absence of specific rules”, presentation together with Professor Henrik Ringbom at Rule of law for Oceans Conference, November 2019, University of Oslo, Norway.

Outreach

I regularly collaborate with authorities and organizations etc., both through different kinds of expert assignments and through participating in law creating procedures.

Media

Altinget, May 2021, "Forskare om PFAS-skandalen: Kemiindustrin har hamnat i skuggan" (Swedish) https://www.altinget.se/miljo/artikel/forskare-om-pfas-skandalen-kemiindustrin-har-hamnat-i-skuggan

BRE Review, Baltic Rim Economies 1/2021, special issue on the Baltic Sea protection, "Updating the Baltic Sea Action Plan" https://sites.utu.fi/bre/updating-the-baltic-sea-action-plan/ 

Altinget, November 2019, ”Slutreplik: Östersjöns problem kommer inte att fångas upp av ett handelssystem” (Swedish) https://www.altinget.se/miljo/artikel/slutreplik-ostersjons-problem-kommer-inte-att-faangas-upp-av-ett-handelssystem

Altinget, Oktober 2019, “Forskare: Förslaget om utsläppsrätter i Östersjön bygger på okunskap” (Swedish), https://www.altinget.se/miljo/artikel/forskare-forslaget-om-utslappsratter-i-ostersjon-bygger-paa-okunskap

Ocean Governance Podcast, 2019: Episode 7 - Well Informed, Adaptive And Legitimate Governance – A Pie In The Sky? https://poddtoppen.se/podcast/1397753413/ocean-governance-podcast/episode-7-well-informed-adaptive-and-legitimate-governance-a-pie-in-the-sky

Tidskriften Havsutsikt 1/2017, ”Ett rättssytem som hjälper Östersjön” (Swedish) https://www.havet.nu/havsutsikt/artikel/ett-rattsystem-som-hjalper-ostersjon

Links and files

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Publications

Bohman, B., "Legitimacy and the role of law for social and ecological resilience", in Cadman, T., Hurlbert, M. and Simonelli A. C., Earth System Law: Standing on the Precipice of the Anthropocene, Routledge, 2021.

Bohman, B., Legal Design for Social-Ecological Resilience, Cambridge University Press, 2021.

Bohman, B., “Regulatory control of adaptive fisheries: Reflections on the implementation of the landing obligation in the EU common fisheries policy”, Marine Policy, Vol 110, 2019.

Ringbom, H., Bohman, B. and Ilvessalo, S., “Combatting Eutrophication in the Baltic Sea: Legal Aspects of Sea-Based Engineering Measures”, Brill Research Perspectives in the Law of the Sea, Vol 4(2), 2019, pp. 1-96.

Bohman, B., ”Om EUs gemensamma fiskepolitik: Kan utkastförbudet landa ett hållbart fiske?” i Darpö J, Forsberg M, Pettersson M och Zetterberg C (red), Miljörätten och den förhandlingsovilliga naturen - Vänbok till Gabriel Michanek, Iustus Förlag, Uppsala, 2019.

Bohman, B., “The Ecosystem Approach as a Basis for Managerial Compliance: An Example from the Regulatory Development in the Baltic Sea Region”, pp. 80-116 in Langlet, D. and Rayfuse, R. (eds), The Ecosystem Approach in Ocean Planning and Governance: Perspectives from Europe and Beyond, Series: Publications on Ocean Development, Volume: 87., Brill/Nijhoff, 2018.

Bohman, B., Ringbom, H. and Illvessalo, S., ”Chapter 5, Policy, legal and institutional framework and procedures regarding sea-based measures” in Report: Speeding up the ecological recovery of the Baltic Sea (EUTROPH 6), for the Ministry of Environment, Finland, 2018.

Bohman, B., "Lessons from the regulatory approaches to combat eutrophication in the Baltic Sea region”, Marine Policy, Vol 98, 2018, pp. 227-236.

Bohman, B., “Regulating eutrophication – Flexible legal approaches and environmental governance in the Baltic Sea area”, in: Ringbom, H. (ed.), Regulatory Gaps in Baltic Sea Governance – Selected Issues, MARE Publications Series, Springer, Cham, 2018.

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Legal Design for Social-Ecological Resilience

    2021. Brita Bohman.

    Book

    Theories of social-ecological resilience have developed over the past decades and rapidly become an important framework for governance of complex non-linear environmental problems. This book explores the resilience theories and their compatibility with law, it identifies corresponding legal features. The legal features identified, including legal measures, mechanisms, principles and approaches, form a legal design for social-ecological resilience. A legal design that can be applied to different governance situations. It can be a tool both for designing new laws, as well as for assessing the effectiveness of current laws and legal systems. In many ways environmental law has adjusted and developed new approaches to meet complex environmental problems, but law is still challenged by the complexity that characterize environmental problems and the environmental change connected with the Anthropocene. This book provides a comprehensive review of the most fundamental components of the governance framework for social-ecological resilience and the role of law.

    Read more about Legal Design for Social-Ecological Resilience
  • Legal prerequisites for ecosystem-based management in the Baltic Sea area

    2015. Annika K. Nilsson, Brita Bohman. Ambio 44 (3 suppl.), 370-380

    Article

    The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of law in the management of the Baltic Sea, with focus on eutrophication. It aims to identify legal instruments or structures realizing an ecosystem approach. This also includes a discussion of the prerequisites of law as contributor to ecosystem-based management (EBM), as well as evaluation of current legal instruments. While ecosystem approach to environmental management is central to contemporary environmental management policy, it is still unclear what such an approach entails in concrete legal terms. The scope of the analysis stretches from international and EU legal regimes, to implementation and regulation within the national legal systems. A conclusion is that the management structures need further development to properly realize EBM, for example, through concretization of management measures, and clarification of duties and responsibilities for their realization.

    Read more about Legal prerequisites for ecosystem-based management in the Baltic Sea area
  • Transboundary Law for Social-Ecological Resilience?

    2017. Brita Bohman, Jonas Ebbesson, Lena Gipperth.

    Thesis (Doc)

    This dissertation evaluates the role and effectiveness of law in the transboundary environmental governance of the Baltic Sea with regard to eutrophication. To this end, it reviews the applicable international agreements with their related instruments, as well as the EU legal frameworks, for the protection of the Baltic Sea environment on the basis of theories on resilience in social-ecological systems. The scientific discourse on resilience in social-ecological systems provides theories on effective governance of complex environmental problems with nonlinear causal connections. The governance features identified in resilience governance also show significant similarities with characteristic features of the concept of ecosystem approach. The resilience features can thus provide guidance to the operationalization of this concept, which lacks a distinct meaning in the legal context.

    Eutrophication is one of the main environmental problems in the Baltic Sea. Despite the fact that this problem has been acknowledged since the 1970s, only little progress has been visible in the attempts to limit the problem. Environmental governance in the form of cooperation and common action has, however, been established by the coastal states of the Baltic Sea to reduce the discharges to their common resource. This was originally coordinated through the Helsinki Convention and its administrative organization HELCOM in the 1970s. Since the year 2000 a new set of legal instruments and approaches have developed, emphasizing also the ecosystem approach. These instruments have a basis both in HELCOM and in EU environmental law, most significantly represented by the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. They establish a unique regulatory structure, with new approaches to regulation, which also give rise to questions regarding interpretation and effectiveness that have not previously been analyzed.

    It is concluded that applicable law in the Baltic Sea area reflects resilience features such as adaptability, flexibility and redundancy within the legal structure. The legal structure for the Baltic Sea is dynamic and stretches over many levels of governance. The applicable legal instruments are constructed so as to be adaptable and flexible. The legal instruments moreover include significant elements that provide for participation at different levels and in different forms, which contribute to enabling the mentioned resilience features. However, the Baltic Sea legal structure – as law in general – has different core functions than just providing for effective environmental governance. Law is based in a number of general principles connected to the rule of law and the function of law as a foundation for stability in the society and in human interactions. These principles are also important since they are directly linked to enforcement, monitoring and control. While the legal structure in the Baltic Sea may provide for effective governance and social-ecological resilience, the resilience features reflected in law do not always appear as far-reaching as suggested by resilience theories, much due to the legal principles. It is however because of these principles and the base for binding requirements they enable, that law can push for governance measures and features that might not have been accomplished otherwise. This, in the larger perspective, includes creating requirements that steer human activities away from critical thresholds.

    Read more about Transboundary Law for Social-Ecological Resilience?
  • Lessons from the regulatory approaches to combat eutrophication in the Baltic Sea region

    2018. Brita Bohman. Marine Policy 98, 227-236

    Article

    Ever since the problem of eutrophication emerged, many approaches have been tested within the Helsinki Convention regime to reduce the discharges of nutrients to the sea. Despite important reductions in the levels of discharge since the 1970s, the nutrient loads to the sea are still significant and need to be further reduced. At the same time, it has become increasingly difficult to reduce the pollution that causes eutrophication. This difficulty is due to the complex nature of most pollution sources currently and the diffuse releases mainly related to agricultural activities and animal production. The regulatory structure for eutrophication in the Baltic Sea region has, however, adjusted rather well to these circumstances. The development over the past decade, since the introduction of the MSFD and the BSAP, progressed in adjusting the whole HELCOM regime to an ecosystem approach. Structures were created that embrace the new demands on the regulation through this approach. These structures put additional challenges on the perception of law, the general functions of the legal system, and how to assess and enforce compliance. The new structures not only create a kind of flexibility and openness to new regulatory approaches and soft law measures, but also combine law with governance and bridge the area of strict legal regulation with voluntary measures and projects. This combination of law with governance completes the overall picture of measures and approaches, but makes the line between law, extra-legal measures and non-governmental actors or organizations difficult to detect.

    Read more about Lessons from the regulatory approaches to combat eutrophication in the Baltic Sea region

Show all publications by Brita Bohman at Stockholm University