Sebastian Oberthür worked as Senior Associate at Ecologic from 1996 to 2005. After becoming Academic Director of the IES (Institute for European Studies) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in October 2005, he has been Senior Policy Advisor for Ecologic. His main areas of work are international environmental agreements and international environmental institutions, as well as climate policies. He works in German and English and has a working knowledge of Spanish and French.
Sebastian Oberthür's current research interests include issues surrounding the horizontal and vertical integration of international institutions relevant to the environment as well as the development and implementation of various environmental agreements. Most recently, he has conducted studies on the interaction between international institutions, the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the structure and design of the system of international environmental institutions, the reporting of data under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, and the foreign environmental policy making of the European Union in international environmental agreements.
Sebastian Oberthür has dealt with issues of international environmental policy as well as climate policy since the early 1990s. He has published widely on these subjects and is invited regularly as an expert to participate in and speak at relevant conferences and workshops. Dr. Oberthür has followed the negotiating processes on the international co-operation for the protection of the ozone layer as well as of the climate for several years as a scientific observer, as an appointed member and representative of the International Council of Environmental Law (ICEL), or as a member of the German delegation. Since 2005, Sebastian Oberthür serves as a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (IDGEC).
Before joining Ecologic, he conducted studies in the framework of several projects, inter alia, on behalf of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, and Energy, the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research, and the Scientific Advisory Council of the German Government on Global Environmental Change (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen, WBGU) and others. In 1996 and 1997, he also taught International Relations at the Technical University Berlin. From 2001 to 2005, Sebastian Oberthür served as a part-time assistant professor at the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg.
From 1987 to 1992, Sebastian Oberthür studied political science in Marburg and Berlin. In 1995, he received a PhD from the Free University Berlin for his work on ”The Contribution of International Regimes to Solving Environmental Problems” (summa cum laude).