IWRA Webinar N°46

The Nexus of Law and Water: Recent developments in the rights of nature and ecocide.
7 September


Holistic legal definitions for environmental concerns have proven elusive – but recent developments have pushed forward the acceptance of the Rights of Nature and a shared and accepted definition of Ecocide. These changes are driven by many factors including an escalation of litigation related to climate change in jurisdictions around the world and grassroots activist movements. As a result, we are witnessing a growing recognition at the national and international scale. The Right to Healthy Environment have been enshrined in a growing number of countries and cited in court filings and rulings. In June 2021 an independent expert panel led to a consensus on a core text of a definition of ecocide as an international crime.   

This webinar, organized by the IWRA Water Security Task force, addressed both the developments and the influences that the Right to a Healthy Environment and the definition of Ecocide have on each other and what it entails for the future. Our panel considered the drivers for this movement and provided a clearer understanding as to what these developments mean for our rivers, mountains, forests and the health of our planet at large.


  • The Evolution of Environmental Rights
  • Reshaping the human relationship with water: what happens when a river becomes a person
  • Rights of Rivers and Beyond
  • Re-mainstreaming rivers through advocacy (activism, media, and legal fight). Case Study- Turagh river
  • Climate Litigation in Brazil: is it enough?


John H. Knox – Professor, Wake Forest University, USA


Dr. Erin O’Donnell – Fellow, University of Melbourne, Australia 

Shrishtee Bajpai – Founder, Rights of Rivers South Asia Alliance, India

Mohammad Azaz – Chairman, River and Delta Research Centre (RDRC), Bangladesh

Guilherme Pratti – PH.D. Student, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies Pisa, Italy 

Moderated by: Dr. Amrisha Pandey, Assistant Professor of Law, Gujarat Maritime University.

Recording and presentations to come soon!

IWRA Webinars constitute an additional resource designed to help our members, academics, dedicated practitioners, and policy professionals further explore these and other timely themes engaging in fruitful discussions, also aligned with the international water agenda and in close collaboration with key partners.