EditorialCritical Issues in Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law

Seline Trevisanut, Helena F.M.W. Van Rijswick
2014 Utrecht Law Review  
Water is fundamental to the survival of any living beings. Be it freshwater or oceans, it consists of a source of food and energy, of communication routes, and of special habitats. Its sustainable use is one of the main challenges of present times, in particular considering the expansion of human activities and of the consequences of climate change. Clearly bearing these challenges in mind, the Utrecht University Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law (UCWOSL) has been created in order
more » ... en created in order to investigate the role that law plays or can play in achieving the sustainable management of oceans, freshwater systems and deltas, on the basis of mutual responsibilities, and to pursue an equitable distribution of associated risks and natural resources. 1 The Centre takes a multidimensional approach in its research and about thirty lawyers with different backgrounds (international, European, national, private, criminal, constitutional, administrative law as well as legal theory) work together with other disciplines such as environmental sciences, hydrology, biology, marine sciences, planning, sociology, philosophy, public administration and economics. The main focus is however the legal approach. The research programme of UCWOSL strives to attain this general aim by concentrating on four points of focus, each with its specific research questions. The first point of focus deals with the 'Normative Perspective: Sustainable and Equitable' and strives to answer the following research question: What are the main values in water and oceans law and how can human rights, principles from customary international law and relevant treaties, EU law and constitutional principles contribute to the normative framework? Research within this point of focus deals with the development of a normative framework that delivers substance to the concepts of sustainability and equity. The second point of focus concentrates on the 'Institutional Perspective: Mutual Responsibilities' . This point of focus is aimed at institutional (governance) aspects of sustainable and equitable management, as seen from a multilevel perspective (i.e. international, regional -EU -and the national dimension, and the interactions amongst them) and a multi-actor perspective (i.e. states and decentralized state agencies, civilians, NGOs, businesses, and intergovernmental organizations). This point of focus aims to answer the following specific research question: What are the bottlenecks in the current institutional
doi:10.18352/ulr.265 fatcat:zgueljf7wzg4xm5vjg6gjdgjim