IWRA Webinar – N°21

Bridging Science and Policy: Legal Perspectives

16 May 2019

This 90-minute webinar focused on “Bridging Science and Policy: Legal Perspectives”, and it was based on themes discussed in the Special Issue of Water International (Vol. 44, Issue 3) and in the forthcoming policy brief on this same topic.

Co-hosted with International Association for Water Law (AIDA), the event covered key issues brought up at IWRA’s XVI World Water Congress (Cancun 2017), and previews themes around legal frameworks, science, and policy for water that will be covered in the upcoming XVII World Water Congress in Daegu, South Korea (11-15 May 2020).

The panel discussed several issues including the ways that different water law regimes can be used to address questions of adapting to drought like conditions, and how some regimes – ones that are overly restrictive –  may limit changes, which are in the public interest. It was also highlighted, adaptation measures can be reflected on a water license, for example, occasionally under watershed plans. Other panellists pointed out to the value of limiting water abstraction permits by time and how reforms to water codes can change the opportunities for public participation through engagement with the legal system. In this vein, lawsuits and the judicial process it was stated can shape the applications for water abstraction permits. Lastly, other panellists engaged on discussions around the permanence of long-lasting infrastructure and the impacts on the broader ecosystem and biological diversity.

In our poll during this webinar, the respondents felt that a resistance from the policy making community to the role of science was the biggest obstacle to the better use of legal frameworks to adapt water policy to scientific evidence.

With over 80 attendees registered, this webinar was a great example of synergy between IWRA and AIDA, with the participation of the distinguished panellists including: Raya Stephan, Water Law Expert, France, International Water Resources Association & International Association for Water Law (AIDA); Niko Soininen, Assistant Professor in Sustainable Law, Regulation and Governance, University of Helsinki; Deborah Curran, Associate Professor of Law and Environmental Studies, University of Victoria (Canada); and, Stefano Burchi, Water Law Expert and Executive Chairman of the International Association for Water Law (AIDA). The event was moderated by Scott McKenzie, PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia.

Please follow and contribute to subsequent discussions on our LinkedIn channel here: www.linkedin.com/company/international-water-resources-association

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