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New CEDLA - UvA Projects

We are happy to announce that the ERC Consolidator Grant proposal of
Prof. dr. Rutgerd Boelens (CEDLA - UvA) has been accepted by EU Horizon 2020


“RIVERHOOD. Living Rivers and the New Water Justice Movements:
From Dominating Waterscapes to the Rights of Nature”

It is a 5-years project that will study ‘riverhood’ and ‘translocal water justice movements’ in Europe and Latin America. This project will be coordinated from the Wageningen University (WUR) with an strong bridge to CEDLA-UvA. The proposal counted also with invaluable inputs from many of the CEDLA's research team. We are specially glad because the proposal’s evaluation was graded as ‘excellent’ and ‘exceptional’.

The project will start in Spring 2021. The project includes 4 fully financed PhDs and the means to develop, among other activities, ‘environmental justice labs’ in The Netherlands, Spain, Ecuador and Colombia, with a large number of grassroots, academic and policy-making partners. The total grant is 2 million euros.


ABSTRACT: “RIVERHOOD will study, conceptualize and support evolving water justice movements that struggle for enlivening rivers. Notwithstanding rivers’ fundamental importance for social and natural well-being, around the world, mega-damming, pollution, and multiple forms of domesticating are putting riverine systems under great stress. Expert ontologies and epistemologies have become cornerstones of powerful hydraulic-bureaucratic administrations (‘hydrocracies’).

Recently, worldwide, a large variety of ‘new water justice movements’ (NWJMs) have proliferated. These are transdisciplinary, multi-actor and multi-scalar coalitions. They deploy alternative river-society ontologies and practices, challenging hydrocracies’ paradigms to foster environmental justice. They translate global notions into local ones and vice versa. New, exciting strategies include, among others, New Water Culture and Rights of Nature notions. European NWJMs co-learn with peers in Ecuador and Colombia were rivers are legal and political subjects. NWJMs hold immense potential for contributing to a radically new, equitable and nature-rooted water governance, but are undertheorized, largely unnoticed by natural and social sciences, and excluded from policy-making. Science and policies lack approaches to engage with rivers as arenas of co-production among humans and nature.

RIVERHOOD will develop a new analytical framework to study NWJMs and ‘riverhoods’. Through 4 cross-cultural PhD studies, 8 cases in Ecuador, Colombia, Spain and the Netherlands are investigated. At each site ‘Environmental Justice Labs’ will be organized: a novel approach to comprehend pluriversal water worlds and foster knowledge co-creation and democratization.”


Rutgerd Boelens is Professor 'Political Ecology of Water in Latin America' holding a part-time special chair with CEDLA and the University of Amsterdam (Fac. Social and Behavioral Sciences FMG/GPIO and Fac. Humanities). He also works as Professor Water Governance and Social Justice at Wageningen University (Environmental Sciences Group, Water Resources Management), and is Visiting Professor at the Catholic University of Peru and the Central University of Ecuador. He directs the international Justicia Hídrica /Water Justice alliance, engaged with comparative research and training on water accumulation, conflict and civil society action.

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