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Human Rights and Natural Resources Workshop

Call for Papers

Deadline for Abstract Submissions: June 4, 2023

The Erasmus School of Law invites submissions for a workshop to be held on October 12, 2023. The purpose of this one-day workshop is to stimulate discussion with a view to having a more holistic approach on the complex and multi-faceted relationships between human rights and natural resources. The relevance of this subject is ever increasing due to the ongoing erosion of planetary boundaries and calls for sustainable development. Relatedly, this workshop aims to encourage a constructive dialogue among junior and more senior researchers. The theme of the workshop is:

“Balancing Scarcity, Accessibility, and Protection for a Sustainable Development”

This workshop is focused on exploring the relationships between human rights and natural resources. It will facilitate and promote research on topics related to the complexities of balancing the scarcity of natural resources, the accessibility to natural resources necessary for the realisation of human rights, and the societal imperative to ensure the protection of both. This is an especially timely discussion, and such balancing can be demonstrated by reference to the water status of the Earth: in 2022 the sixth planetary boundary, the freshwater use, was crossed, while concurrently approximately 2 billion people still lack access to safe water, jeopardising not only their human right to water but also other associated rights like health, an adequate standard of living and education. This framework calls for a reflection and discussion on the issues and complexities of balancing scarcity, accessibility and protection. The workshop will thus enable participants to: (i) contribute with theoretical and/or empirical references; (ii) connect relevant case studies to discussions on human rights and natural resources; and (iii) integrate scholarship on human rights and natural resources into the broader theme of sustainability.

The organisers welcome papers reflecting upon different societal actors (e.g., state, companies, individuals and community) that actively participates in balancing natural resource scarcity and protection with human rights accessibility. While country studies are not precluded, the workshop’s common reference will be international (and regional) human rights instruments, with domestic law and case law serving as illustrations. The envisaged Workshop output is an edited book or a special issue.

The workshop is supported by the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research and the small grants scheme of the research initiatives Rebalancing Public & Private Interests and Erasmus Center of Empirical Legal Studies of Erasmus School of Law.


Prospective contributors are invited to submit their abstract (500 words maximum) with a provisional title to by June 4, 2023. Abstracts may be accompanied by a brief running bio of no more than 150 words.

Selected papers will be announced by the end of June 2023. A full draft of the paper (between 6,000 and 8,000 words, incl. references) is due on October 1, 2023 with the objective of publishing an edited book or a special issue. Draft papers will be circulated among the participants in advance.

Participation in the conference is free of charge but registration is required. Registration for nonspeakers should be addressed to by October 1, 2023.

Contributors to the workshop are expected to partake in the book project or special issue. The organisers make the final selection of papers and reserve the right not to select a presented paper.

Financial aid

There will be limited funds available to cover accommodation costs for one night. Subject to later confirmation, there may be limited funds for covering part of the travel costs for the selected participants.

Questions may be directed to conference organisers at


Organising Committee

Candice Foot

Dr Alberto Quintavalla

Prof Leonie Reins

Organisation: Erasmus School of Law Rotterdam
Deadline: 04/06/2023
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