RIVER COMMONS: Building research for development and education on sustainable co-governance of river commons

Together with an inspiring alliance of scientific, policy, activists and grassroots organizations in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, the RIVER COMMONS project works on equitable and participatory co-governance of river systems.

The 5-years research programme is about understanding and supporting innovative river co-governance initiatives around the world, and thereby contributing to equitable policies and sustainable socio-ecological river systems.

Aim of the project

In the programme nine PhD researchers will investigate cases of river commons in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, where local multi-scale organisations co-govern their riverine environment. The project’s aim is to learn from their experiences in situ and translocally (successes, problems and creative solutions), and build new conceptual and methodological tools for research, education and stakeholder interaction. In particular, River Co-governance Labs will be organized in the case study sites to investigate river governance by actively involving stakeholders and mobilising their ideas for change.

The project’s framework encompasses four dimensions of river systems:

  • River- as-Ecosociety, focusing on biophysical, ecological and use aspects
  • River-as-Territory, focusing on river governance rules and institutions
  • River-as-Subject, focusing on environmental justice issues and rights of the river
  • River-as-Movement, looking at how riverine communities and allies organize and advocate for river co-management.

RIVER COMMONS starts in September 2021 and will be led by WRM’s Prof. Rutgerd Boelens and Dr. Jeroen Vos. It will be implemented in close collaboration with the ERC Consolidator Grant research project Riverhood, which studies New Water Justice Movements (NWJM) in Ecuador, Colombia, Spain and the Netherlands.

- Unfortunately, your cookie settings do not allow videos to be displayed. - check your settings

The project is funded by the Wageningen Interdisciplinary Research and Education Fund (INREF) with a budget of € 1.2 million, complemented by € 0.5 million co-funding from partners.