CEDLA Researchers


Prof. dr. Rutgerd Boelens




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.


His research focuses on water rights, legal pluralism, cultural politics, and political ecology, in Latin America and Spain. He worked as action-researcher on rural development in the Andean countries (1992-1997), and before founding Justicia Hídrica in 2009 (www.justiciahidrica.or) he directed the international Water Law and Indigenous Rights alliance WALIR (2001-2007), and several large NUFFIC programs on water governance in Latin America. Currently he also coordinates the programs ‘Struggling for Water Security in the Andes’ and ‘Transnationalization of Local Water Battles’ with NWO/WOTRO. The research networks include scholars, professionals, activists, and grassroots leaders working on ‘governmentality’ in hydrosocial territories and the politics of NRM reforms, intervention, water grabbing and social mobilization. These entwine social and natural sciences. Results are published, among others, in the book series Water & Society (Agua y Sociedad) for which he is the scientific editor, and which integrates several Latin American publishers (as IEP, Abyayala, CBC, Fondo Editorial PUCP).


Rutgerd Boelens graduated in environmental sciences (M.Sc) and social sciences (Ph.D., 2008) at Wageningen University, both cum laude. His PhD thesis The Rules of the Game and the Game of the Rules. Normalization and Resistance in Andean Water Control was awarded ‘Best PhD dissertation’ among Dutch university faculties working in the fields of International Development, over the years 2007-2008.

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.