Responding to climate change in delta regions: Fair sharing of the benefits and burdens


Over 500 million people live in deltas worldwide. Deltas provide essential services to humans, such as fertile land for food production, biodiversity, drinking and irrigation water and a river network for transportation. However, deltas are by nature low-lying, fragile and sensitive geomorphic features, making them extremely vulnerable to the challenges of degradation and transformation resulting from intensive human development, population growth, urbanization, and climate change.

graphic image of a delta
Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash

This interdisciplinary workshop seeks to consider different benefit- and burden-sharing questions underlying climate change responses in delta regions. Relevant questions are for example: How should responsibilities of various actors be defined? How should differences in local, delta scale (regional) and transboundary interests be incorporated into responses? Do the decision-making processes facilitate a fair sharing of burdens and benefits?

We are excited to welcome a number of expert speakers from diverse fields of expertise, including:

  • Prof. Neelke Doorn (Department Ethics and Philosophy of Technology, TUDelft), ethics of water governance and engineering;
  • Dr. Bregje van Wesenbeeck (Senior researcher/advisor, Deltares), coastal and wetland ecosystem assessment;
  • Prof. Annelies Zoomers (International Development Studies, Geosciences, UU), international migration and land governance and climate adaptation strategies;
  • Prof. Edward Brans (Institute of Constitutional, Administrative Law and Legal Theory, UU), civil and administrative environmental liability law
  • Dr. Julie Fraser (Department of International and European Law, UU), human rights and the environment.
  • Dr. Esther Engelhard (Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, Utrecht University), liability law and climate change.
  • Dr. Bishawjit  Mallick (International Development Studies, Utrecht University), social responsibilities, non-migration and delta adaptation.

We invite Utrecht University scholars and other people to join our workshop.

The Water, Climate and Future Delta’s (WCFD) community is a continuation of the WCFD-hub (2018-2022), strengthening existing and extending new collaborations for scientists and external stakeholders to jointly work on ensuring resilient, sustainable deltas all over the world. The WCFD Community is led by Professor Esther Stouthamer (Geosciences), Dr. Mariet Hefting (BETA) and Dr. Natalie Dobson (LEG).

Further information on the WCFD Community can be found here.

Organising Team

  • Professor Marleen van Rijswick
    Head, Utrecht Centre for Water Oceans and Sustainability Law, Community Board Member Water Climate and Future Deltas Community
  • Dr. Haomiao Du
    Postdoctoral researcher, Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, Legal Expert Water Climate and Future Deltas Hub & Community
  • Dr. Natalie Dobson
    Assistant Professor, International and European Law, Utrecht Centre for Water Oceans and Sustainability Law, Community Leader, Water Climate and Future Deltas Community
Start date and time
End date and time
Academiegebouw, Domplein 29, Utrecht

Registration for this event is closed. If you are interested, please contact us at