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Recht, Economie, Bestuur en Organisatie

Water and Ocean Law in Times of Climate Change

31 October, 1 November 2013
Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands

With this conference we proudly present the
Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law

Thursday 31 October

Adaptation to climate change is one of the major challenges of our time and is inextricably linked with the management of oceans and fresh water systems. Rising air and sea temperatures and sea levels, changing rain patterns, melting ice and snow, stronger storms and increasing acidification of oceans all call for adaptive measures to ensure resilience to floods and droughts risks, and preserve the adaptive capacity of both oceans and fresh water systems. While oceans and fresh water systems each play their own role, they interact as well. Both are under increasing pressure by human activities and human-induced climate change. Fish stocks are overfished or have collapsed; sea level rise threatens low-lying islands and coastal areas; aquifers are emptied or can no longer be used due to pollution, and mistakes in land use contribute to erosion and floods. All these issues point at the necessity to find solutions which guarantee sustainable use of oceans and fresh water resources, mitigate climate change effects and enhance adaptation.

Friday 1 November

Discussions will then continue on 1 November 2013 with invited lawyers from different European countries who will enable a comparative overview on the topic of compensation in nature and water law.

Conference fees

100 Euro for 31 October and 1 November 2013 .
65 Euro conference dinner 31 October 2013.
50 Euro for 1 November 2013.

Conference Venue

Utrecht University, Achter Sint Pieter 200, 3512 HT Utrecht.
To find your way to Achter Sint Pieter 200, please download the plan.


Registration for the conference is possible by submitting the registration form.
The closing date of the registration is 25 October 2013.
It is possible to register for one day only.

Only a limited number of participants can be registered, so timely registration is essential.

For further information, please contact dr. Andrea Keessen:

Programme Thursday 31 October

9.00 Registration and coffee

9.30 Plenary session 

  • Welcome by prof. Marleen van Rijswick (Utrecht University)
  • Prof. Sierd Cloetingh (Utrecht University) on Geo-engineering
  • Prof. Catherine Redgwell (Oxford University) on The legal dimension of geo-engineering, including ocean iron fertilization
Coffee break

Second part of Plenary session 
  • Prof. Mark Bierkens (Utrecht University) on Water use and flows around the world
  • Prof. Joseph W. Dellapenna (Villanova University, USA) on Sustainability as a core value of water management
  • Aziza Akmouch (OECD) will compare the institutional framework of water management, focusing on multilevel governance gaps, of various OECD and Latin American countries
  • Presentation photo-project Women of the Water by Angéle Etoundi-Essamba
12.30 Lunch break

14.00 3 Parallel thematic sessions

(each presentation lasts 15 minutes, followed by 5 minutes for short questions and discussion at the end)

1. Values, Principles and Rights in Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law

  • Public Values at different Levels of Water Governance: The Case of Horizontal and Vertical Fragmentation? | M. Ambrus, J.J.H. van Kempen, H.K. Gilissen (Erasmus University and in October Groningen University / Utrecht University / Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, Rijkswaterstaat corporate dienst)
  • Sustainable uncertainty | B. de Vries (Utrecht University)
  • Subsidiarity in Principle: Decentralization of Water Resources Management Across the Economic Development Continuum | R. Stoa (Florida International University)
  • Discussion
15.30 - 16.00 Coffee break
  • Cost recovery or the Polluter Pays Principle | P.E. Lindhout (UU) & G.M. van den Broek (Utrecht University)
  • The Finnish approach to water rights | N. Soininen (University of Helsinki)
  • Watering Indigenous Rights… Delineating a Human Right to Water for Indigenous peoples | D. Misiedjan (Utrecht University)
  • Discussion & Conclusions by chair J. Gupta (VU)

2. Institutional Frameworks in Water & Oceans Law

  • The role of stakeholders in Adaptation to Climate Change | O. Spijkers, A. Keessen (Utrecht University)
  • The Arctic Sunrise incident: Misunderstanding the role of public international law? | Alex Oude Elferink (Utrecht University)
  • Corporate social responsibility | T. Lambooy (Utrecht University)
  • Asymmetrical power relations between communities, institutions and private actors in Tapajos Valley (Brazil) and Cauca Valley (Colombia) (LAR project) | T. Boekhout van Solinge (Utrecht University)
  • Discussion
15.30 - 16.00 Coffee break 
  • Legal Issues and Institutional Reactions concerning Ocean Fertilisation Experiments on the High Seas | B. Boschen (Utrecht University)
  • The Importance of a Coherent Legal Framework for the National Implementation of IWRM Principles | B. Teeuwen (Independent advisor & Dutch Water Governance Centre)
  • Understanding Transboundary Governance of Climate Adaptation: Enabling and Constraining Characteristics in the Netherlands and North Rhine Westphalia | M. van Eerd, C. Dieperink, M. Wiering (Radboud University Nijmegen and Utrecht University)
  • Discussion & Conclusions by chair R. Nehmelmann (Utrecht University)

3. Embedding Adaptiveness into Water & Oceans Law in order to Prevent, Reduce and Manage Environmental and Climate Risks

  • Modes of Governance in German and Dutch Water Law – The Framing of a Common Management of Water and Land | T. Hartmann, T. Spit (Utrecht University)
  • Towards a new policy and innovative toolbox for adaptive water management in Flanders: the art of linking water policy to spatial planning | P. de Smedt (Gent University, LDR Lawyers Gent, Utrecht University)
  • The Challenges for Law and Governance in Adapting to Climate Change and Enhancing Livelihoods and the Provision of Ecosystems Services in the Ocean-Freshwater Interface of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) Delta | A. Allan, M. Lim (University of Dundee)
  • Discussion
15.30 - 16.00 Coffee break
  • Towards more resilient flood risk governance (The EU STAR-FLOOD Project) | W.J. van Doorn-Hoekveld and M. Kaufmann (Utrecht University and Radboud University)
  • The New Regulation of the Coast Protection and Sustainable use of Coasts in Spain (Ley 2/2013) | M. Lora-Tamayo Vallvé, C. Fernández Rodríguez (UNED Madrid)
  • Monitoring | B. Beijen (Utrecht University)
  • Discussion and Conclusions by chair M. Wiering (RU)
17.30 Plenary session to wrap up the conference

18.00 Drinks

19.30 Conference dinner

Programme Friday 1 November

09.30 Registration and coffee

10.00 Plenary session (Raadzaal) 

  • Welcome by Marleen van Rijswick (Utrecht University)
  • Compensatory Measures in European Nature Conservation Law | G. van Hoorick (Gent University)
  • Mitigation and Compensation in Flemish Nature Conservation Law: Towards Cutting the Gordian Knot? | H. Schoukens, A. Cliquet (Gent University)
  • Compensation in French law | J. Makowiak (Limoges University)
  • Discussion
Coffee break

Second part of Plenary session (Raadzaal) 
  • Compensation in Dutch nature law | J. Zijlmans
  • Compensation in Dutch water law | B. van den Broek/ W. Hoekveld (Utrecht University)
  • Compensation in German law | M. Reese (Helmholz Centre for Environmental Research)
  • Discussion
12.00 Lunch break

14.00 Plenary session 
  • Compensation in Finnish law | E. Höllo (University of Helsinki)
  • Compensation in Portuguese law | M. Albuquerque Nobre
  • Compensation in Spanish law | C. de Guerrero (University of Zaragoza)
  • Discussion
15.00 - 15.30 Coffee break

15.30 Plenary session, sequel 
  • Compensation in Bulgarian law | K. Ilchev
  • Compensation in Czech Republican law | P. Humlickova
  • Eco-Compensation Mechanism within Watersheds in China – A Case Study in Tai Lake Watershed | L. Dai (Utrecht University)
  • Discussion
16.30 Plenary session to offer some preliminary comparative conclusions

17.00 Drinks

18.00 Meeting of the Reseau d’eau and Natura 2000 Members

19.30 Conference Dinner (Only for Network members and speakers)

Download programme

You can download the programme of the conference on the 31st of October 2013 as well as the programme of the conference on the 1st of November 2013.


Registration for the conference is possible by submitting the registration form.
The closing date of the registration is 25 October 2013.
It is possible to register for one day only.

Only a limited number of participants can be registered, so timely registration is essential.

For further information, please contact dr. Andrea Keessen: