Exploring Contestation in Rights of River Approaches: Comparing Colombia, India and New Zealand

M. Immovilli*, Susanne Reitsma, Regine Roncucci, E.D. Rasch, D. Roth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Rights of Nature (RoN) approaches as a tool to protect ecosystems and nature is gaining growing attention in academic and societal debates. Despite this new momentum, theoretical work is increasingly pointing out major problems and uncertainties related to such approaches. Inspired by this critical work, the paper considers RoN as a type of intervention that competes with those of other actors for the control of, and decision-making power over, natural resources. To understand the implications of such interventions, it is necessary to investigate
how they shape, and are shaped by, local context. To that end, we look at Rights of Rivers (RoR) cases in New Zealand, Colombia and India. Investigating these well-researched cases, we aim to tease out the material and discursive contestations that emerge from the establishment and implementation of RoR interventions. We then propose an analytical approach that has emerged from our fieldwork and which can be useful in identifying the conflicts and contestations underpinning RoR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-591
JournalWater Alternatives
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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