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Aims & objectives

EU Disaster Response Law in an International Context – Summer School
(with support from the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union – dec. n. 2013-2683/001-001)

Assistance in favour of the population of L’Aquila (2009), Haiti (2010) and Nepal (2015) hit by high magnitude earthquakes, the Philippines (in 2013 struck by destructive typhoons) or Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (for the 2014 floods) are just some examples of the action of the European Union on the occasion of disasters.
The 2007 Lisbon treaty has empowered the EU with a new competence in the field of civil protection. Within this context, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism has been established in December 2013, in order to promote solidarity and facilitate the coordination of Member States' actions, “with a view to improving the effectiveness of systems for preventing, preparing for and responding to natural and man-made disasters”.

The Summer School on European Union Disaster Response Law in an International Context organized by the Department of International, Legal, Historical and Political Studies (DILHPS) of the University of Milan aims at deepening the knowledge of this EU action.

Teaching activities include lectures by academics, case studies and presentations by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and by officials of international organizations.

In a vertical dimension, it will take into consideration the interaction of the EU regime and activities with instruments of cooperation for the prevention of and response to natural and man-made disasters established by other international institutions. The interplay between EU and national mechanisms will also be considered, in order to assess their degree of complementarity. The involvement of NGOs will also be taken into account for a thorough evaluation of their proper role in disaster relief and assistance activities.

The Summer School is supported by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union: no enrollment fee is required.


The summer school is organized in five days.

Day 1-2 will contextualize the EU action in the wider context of international disaster response law (IDRL). The participation of academics will introduce students to the main international legal instruments and mechanisms for disaster relief and assistance, focusing on some issues whose importance has emerged in the practice (protection of human rights, safeguard of vulnerable groups and their particular needs, responsibility to protect).

Day 3-5 will specifically focus on the EU disaster response activities, studying in detail both its internal dimension (principles, mechanisms, interaction with national civil protection agencies) and its external dimension (coordination with third States and other international agencies). Specific attention is devoted to the regimes governing the statute of the disaster relief personnel and facilitating international relief consignments.

Presentations from practitioners are scheduled at the end of each day, with the purpose to provide students with practical insights from field activities.

Case studies will give students the chance to exercise on legal issues in disaster response activities, to properly assess the difficulties met by humanitarian organizations in delivering their assistance

A final round table will gather academics and practitioners, to stimulate a debate over the main strengths and shortcomings of the EU and international disaster response action.

All participants are expected to be present for all 5 days, to contribute actively to the discussions, as well as to get acquainted with the materials distributed before their arrival.

2016 Final programme

How to apply

The Summer School is open to bachelor and master students who want to improve their knowldege of EU integration themes and of the legal framework and practice of disaster response. Participation of Ph.D. candidates is welcomed.

Applications should be submitted by 10 June 2016 , filling and emailing to the application form (see the annex), including a CV, a motivation letter and other required documentation.

The Summer School is supported by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union: no enrollment fee is required.

All students will receive a certificate of attendance .
For participants enrolled at some bachelor/master programmes of the University of Milan, the attendance of the Summer School will entitle to the recognition of credits under “further educational activities” (ulteriori attività formative).

For any information contact:
Tel: +39 02 50321065


Academic coordinator

Giovanna ADINOLFI, University of Milan

Giovanna Adinolfi is Associate Professor of International Law at the University of Milan. She holds a degree in Economics (University of Naples, 1992) and the Ph.D. in International Economic Law of the University of Bergamo (1998). Research and then Associate Professor (as from 2002) she teaches in bachelor and master programmes of the University of Milan (Faculty of Political, Economic and Social Sciences). She is also member of the faculty of the Ph.D. programme in Legal Studies at the Bocconi University (Milan). She participates in the 3-year research project on “EU and International Disaster Response Law” financed in 2013 by the Italian Ministry for Research as a result of a competitive call. She has published widely on international disaster response law (IDRL), international trade and WTO law, monetary and financial law and international institutional law. Her latest publication are focused on custom issues and financial assistance in disaster relief and recovery operations and the protection of human rights in interational trade and financial law.

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Faculty members

Vesna BAJŠANSKI-AGIĆ, Executive director Mozaik Foundation, (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Vesna Bajšanski-Agić joined Mozaik in 2008, as Mozaik begun its transformation into a social enterprise. Today, Mozaik Foundation is the leading social enterprises in the Western Balkans, engaged in programs relevant to youth social entrepreneurship and community development. She is a Governing Board member of two social businesses that support the disadvantaged and promote reconciliation in an economically sustainable way and a Board president of two national NGOs. Prior to joining Mozaik, Vesna worked for ten years in various management positions in other national NGOs focused on social justice and she is an internationally certified trainer for Education for Social Justice. She is a member of several national and international groups and networks, including SIGN Network, International Step by Step Association, Grantmakers East Forum. She has a degree in Economics from the University of Sarajevo and researched the influence of management on social justice issues for her Master’s thesis. Vesna is a 2012 recipient of the European Marshall Memorial Fellowship awarded by the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Mariangela BIZZARRI, Gender Consult, Milan

Mariangela Bizzarri is a senior consultant with over fifteen years of professional experience, especially in humanitarian settings, and a strong expertise in gender equality and women’s empowerment, protection and gender-based violence (GBV). She is also an accomplished trainer, with demonstrated experience in the design and implementation of innovative, high-level training activities on gender issues and protection. These skills have featured in all of her employments over the last decade, first as UN employee and later as a consultant.
Most, if not all, of her experience has involved working collaboratively with, making technical and strategic recommendations to and build the capacity of multiple stakeholders, including UN agencies, international organizations, government representatives, and local and international NGOs to effectively mainstream gender into their operational work and policies. Her experience covers all continents, including countries such as Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Haiti, and Colombia, amongst others.

Federico CASOLARI, University of Bologna

Federico Casolari is Associate Professor of International Law at the Law School of the University of Bologna, where he teaches European Union law. He is also member of the Flying Faculty of the China-EU School of Law (CESL). He was a visiting professor at the Institut d’Etudes Européennes of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Brussels) in 2012; a visiting fellow at the College of Law, Australian National University, in 2014. He is author of many publications on the relationship between International law and European Union law, EU constitutional principles and EU disaster response law. Speaker at a number of international conferences and symposia, academic institutions and universities, such as Istituto Affari Internazionali (Rome), Institut d’Etudes Européennes (Brussels), European University Institute (Florence), European Central Bank (Frankfurt), British Institute of International and Comparative Law (London), University of Nice, Kazakh Humanities and Law University (Astana), Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Budapest), Australian National University (Canberra), Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (Wellington).

Milena COSTAS TRASCASAS, United Nations, Geneva

Milena Costas is a consultant of the United Nations. Her two main research lines are the use of force by law enforcement personnel in the context of social protests and the use of drones and robots under international humanitarian law and human rights. Before joining the Academy she has been Research Fellow at the University Jaume I of Castellón and at the University of Milan. She has also worked as legal expert for the human rights division of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
Milena holds a PhD in Public International Law from the University Complutense of Madrid. Her doctoral thesis dealt with the situations of internal violence and analyzed the interplay between human rights and international humanitarian law in order to identify the existing gaps in the current normative framework (Violencia interna y protección de la persona: una laguna del Derecho internacional, Tirant lo Blanch, Valencia, 2008, 606 pp).
As a member of the Center for International Humanitarian Law Studies of the Spanish Red Cross, she has regularly participated in the training of the police, military, journalists, humanitarian and medical personnel in the field of both international humanitarian law and human rights.

Mauro GATTI, University of Bologna

Mauro Gatti is a postdoctoral researcher in EU Law at the University of Bologna and holds a PhD in EU Law from the University of Bologna and the University of Strasbourg. His research agenda includes EU foreign affairs law, European disaster response law and human rights law. He has recently published, on behalf of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a report on the application of international disaster response law in Italy. He is also analysing the influence of EU law on the provision of disaster management services at national level.

Alessandra LANG, University of Milan

Alessandra Lang is Associate Professor of European Union Law at University of Milan, Department of International, Legal, Historical and Political Studies. She holds courses on European Union Law and International Law within the bachelor’s program in International Studies and European Institutions of the University of Milan. Her main research fields are free movement of persons and EU citizenship, implementation of EU law on the free movement of workers in Italy, EU enlargement, EU external relations, Common Security and Defence Policy.

Jesper Holmer LUND, United Nations, Geneva

Mr Jesper Holmer Lund, Chief of the Field Coordination Support Section and Chief of the Surge Capacity Section, at the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(UN OCHA). Mr Lund has ten years’ progressive work experience as Emergency Management Officer at the Danish Emergency Management Agency. Since joining OCHA in 1999 he has worked primarily in the field of sudden on-set emergency response operations and has in this position lead a number of OCHA emergency response missions including the 2003 Bam earthquake in Iran, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami response in Aceh, Indonesia, the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, Pakistan, the 2008 Hurricane that caused severe flooding in Gonaive, Haiti, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, Philippines to mention a few.
Furthermore, Mr Lund has been deployed as acting OCHA head of Office for operations in Indonesia, Pakistan, Haiti, Somalia and Syria. Mr Lund is a trained officer from the Danish Emergency Management Agency and has a Master degree in Disaster Management from Lund and Copenhagen Universities.

Tommaso NATOLI, Roma Tre University

Tommaso Natoli is currently Research Fellow of International Law at Roma Tre University, where he focuses his research activities on Human Rights and Disasters. He collaborates also in the organization of the Post-graduate course on International Protection of Human Rights and of the Multidisciplinary Course on Refugees at the Sapienza University of Rome, where he gives lectures on International Law and International Organization. His interests mainly concerns Disaster Law, Human Rights Law, International Organization Law, International Humanitarian Law, and Internet governance.

Federica NOGAROTTO, MSF Italy

Director of Field Human Resouces and Medical Support of MSF Italy. After a University degree in Science of Communication, 4 years as Marketing manager in a multinatiuonal company and a master in Conflict Management, Federica Nogarotto started working with MSF in 2005 in Darfur. During 11 years of field mission she developed a deep experience in emergency response having been part of MSF's Emergency Pool as Head of Mission for several years. A not exhaustive list of the missions where in Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, CAR (Central Africa Republic), Niger, Nigeria, Sry Lanka, Philippines, Nepal, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey among others. Lately Ms. Nogarotto turned her career on the development of the humanitarian workers from the Italian office of MSF covering the position of Director of the department.

Emanuele SOMMARIO, Scuola superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa

Emanuele Sommario is presently Assistant Professor of International Law at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa (Italy). He holds a PhD in International Law from the Scuola Sant’Anna (2005), an LLM in Public International Law from the University of Nottingham (2002) and a Degree in Political Science from the University of Pisa (1999). He has been Excellence Fellow at the International Law Department of the University of Geneva (2010) and Visiting Fellow at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (2013, 2014). His main research interests lay in Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, and International Disaster Response Law, subjects he teaches at under- and post-graduate level. Emanuele is one of the coordinators of the International Disaster Law Project ( and a lecturer and consultant within the EU Civil Protection Mechanism Training Initiative. He speaks Italian, German and English.

You can contact him at

Marco TOSCANO-RIVALTA, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Geneva

Marco Toscano-Rivalta is Chief of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations, Geneva (since 2009). He has over 15 years of experience in international cooperation in human rights, refugee issues, justice reform, relief and disaster management, and disaster risk management, in the field and at the UN headquarters. He helds a Degree in law and specialization in international human rights law. His past positions includes: Adviser and head of the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, New York, 2005-2009); Head of the Rule of Law section and Rule of Law Adviser to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, Afghanistan, 2002-2004); Protection Officer, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Afghanistan (2002); Head of Field Office, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Turkey (1999-2002); Human Rights and Election Officer, Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina (1997-1999).

, University of Milan

Emeritus Professor. Author of several scientific publications covering different topics, as international humanitarian law, international disaster response law, international trade law and EU law. President of the Italian Branch of the International Law Association.

Sanjula WEERASINGHE, International Organization for Migration, Geneva

Sanjula Weerasinghe is an Australian-qualified lawyer. She works at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), within the Migrants in Countries in Crisis Initiative secretariat. She is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Georgetown University Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM). Sanjula’s interests and experience relate to forced migration, human rights, international law, and migration governance. She has worked in private practice, with non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations, and with think tanks and academic institutions in Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Switzerland, and the United States.

Flavia ZORZI GIUSTINIANI, Uninettuno, Roma

Flavia Zorzi Giustiniani is Assistant Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law, International Telematic University Uninettuno and also a lecturer in European Union Law in the same University.
She holds a PhD in International Law (2006), a Diploma in International Humanitarian Law awarded by the ICRC (2003) and two J.D.s in Political Science (2002) and Law (2011). Since 2010 she has been an appointed member of the Scientific Committee of the Italian Red Cross Commission for International Humanitarian Law.
She has published a book and numerous articles in journals and edited volumes. Her research interests focus on human rights law, migration law, disaster law and international criminal law.

Venue & accomodation


The School will be held in Room 4 at the Faculty of Political, Economic and Social Sciences of the University of Milan, Via Conservatorio, 7 (Milan) .

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Telephone: +39 02 503021065