Ilaria Espa is Associate Professor of International Economic Law at USI and Senior Research Fellow at the World Trade Institute (WTI) in Bern. She is furthermore Adjunct Professor at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Faculty Board Member of the PhD Programme in Legal Studies of Bocconi University and Lead Counsel of the 'Natural Resources' Programme of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL). Formerly awarded a Marie Curie fellowship from the European Commission for her post-doctoral studies (2013-2015), Ilaria was a member of the WTI-based NCCR Trade Regulation Programme until its expiration in 2017 in addition to acting as Scientific Coordinator of the WTI Doctoral Programme (2015-2017). She was also an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Environmental Science and Policy of the University of Milan (2015-2020). Ilaria holds a PhD in International Law and Economics from the Department of Legal Studies of Bocconi University (2013) and was a visiting scholar at Columbia Law School (2012). She also holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in International Relations from Luiss University.
Ilaria’s areas of expertise include international economic law, with a focus on trade regulation, international environmental law, and EU law. She has published extensively on issues at the intersection of trade and sustainability, mainly in the areas of climate change, energy and commodities, as well as on the law governing the sustainable management of natural resources, always from a multi-layered governance perspective. In particular, she is the author of a monograph on Export Restrictions on Critical Minerals and Metals: Testing the Adequacy of WTO Disciplines (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and the co-editor of the volume on International Trade in Sustainable Electricity: Regulatory Challenges in International Economic Law (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Her work has also been published in leading international peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of International Economic Law, World Trade Review, Journal of World Trade, Journal of World Investment and Trade and Trade, Law & Development. In 2013, she received the SIDI (Italian Society of International Law) prize, awarded to a younger author for meritorious scholarship published in Revue Internationale de Droit Économique. In 2020, she was conferred the International Legal Specialist in Natural Resources Award by the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL). Since 2022, she is listed in the roster of individuals that the European Commission considered suitable for appointment as Arbitrator and Trade and Sustainable Development Expert in bilateral disputes under the EU's trade agreements with third countries.
Ilaria is an elected member of the Executive Council of the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL) and the coordinator of its Postgraduate and Early Professionals/Academics Network (PEPA). She is furthermore a member of the Board of the Italian Society of International Law (SIDI) International Economic Law Interest Group, a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL),the elected Secretary-General of the Swiss Energy Law Association (SELA) and a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Association of Energy Law Associations (EFELA), and a Fellow of the Cambridge University Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG) Platform on Global Energy Governance. She has served as an elected member of the Committees of the International Law Association (ILA) on the ‘Role of International Law in Sustainable Natural Resources Management for Development’ (2014-2020) and 'Sustainable Development and the Green Economy in International Trade Law' (2019-2022), as well as a contributor to the Expert Group on ‘Trade and Investment in Extractive Industries’ and the Task Force on ‘Rethinking International Subsidies Disciplines’ of the E15 Initiative, which was jointly implemented by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2014-2017. She has acted as consultant to a number of governmental agencies, NGOs, international organizations and business associations including the World Trade Organisation, the European Commission, the Organisation for Ecoonomic Co-operation and Development, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. She is a frequent presenter at academic conferences and guest lecturer, and has also given numerous talks for non-academic audiences.