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Welcome to IELRC.ORG

The International Environmental Law Research Centre is an independent research organisation focusing on international and comparative environmental law issues, with a particular emphasis on India and East Africa.

The aim of the IELRC is to contribute to the establishment of legal and institutional frameworks which foster sustainable environmental management in developing countries in an equitable international context...    [ read more ]

Latest news on IELRC.ORG


PhD funding at SOAS University of London for a project on Mining, Land and Water Law: Ensuring Sustainable and Equitable Outcomes. A new funding opportunity for PhD applicants seeking to work at the intersection of mining, and and water law is offered for a project co-supervised at SOAS and Birkbeck. For further information, visit the following page towards the end of 2016.


OpEd in The Statesman by P. Cullet, 'Why Delhi Must Think Beyond Water ATMs’. Read the full article here.


The Government of India, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation has put out for comments the Draft National Water Framework Law and the Draft Model Bill for Conservation Protection and Regulation of Groundwater drafted by the Committee of which Prof. Cullet is a member. The call for comments can be found on this link.


Prof. Philippe Cullet has been invited to be a Member of the Government of India, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation’s ‘Committee to Draft National Water Framework Law’, a Member of the Committee ‘Re-draft the Draft Model Bill for Conservation Protection and Regulation of Ground Water, 2011’ and a Member of the Committee to ‘Draft River Basin Management Bill’. 


Publication of Sanitation Law and Policy in India – An Introduction to Basic Instruments edited by Philippe Cullet and Lovleen Bhullar. This is the first book bringing together the various dimensions of sanitation law in India in a single volume, a crucial contribution in the context of the fast increasing interest for all matters related to sanitation. [read more]


Latest academic publications

Please note that a complete list of our articles and book chapters an be accessed here, of our books here, of our working papers here and a comprehensive listing of all the documents published on this website including all the above as well as briefing papers, topical articles, special dossiers and miscellaneous documents can be accessed here.



Gender Issues in Electoral Politics in Kenya: The Unrealized Constitutional Promise

The road to gender equality has been long and arduous for Kenyan women’s movement. While progress has been made over time, a lot remains to be done in the area of representation in elective and appointive positions. Up to 2010, the Constitution and law were cited as the biggest obstacles in the way of gender equality. The promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 contains very robust equality, non-discrimination and participation provisions. However, it did not provide clear implementation mechanisms for the affirmative action provisions for women’s representation. It was hoped that the promulgation of this constitution would ensure gender equality. However, the promulgation and enactment laws is not sufficient. In the area of electoral politics, while the number of women in Parliament has increased, compliance with the constitutional rule of ‘not more than two thirds of the same gender’ remains a challenge because of the absence of mechanisms to ensure adherence. Not surprisingly, the earliest court matters and advisory opinions sought on the Constitution related to gender equality. It is against this background that this Chapter analyzes the promise of gender equality and non-discrimination in electoral politics. Contextualizing the issue within history, women’s struggles and the road to the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the authors identify critical milestones highlighting the role of the women’s movement. This provides the backdrop against which the 2013 elections are discussed. The authors also navigate the political and social manoeuvres that have surrounded attempts to meet the two thirds gender rule. The Chapter looks at how women fared in the 2013 elections -nominations, campaigns; the voting process; and the results of the first elections under the Constitution. The authors use gender analysis to illustrate how that politics remain a citadel of male political dominance noting that given the nature of Kenyan society, affirmative action measures and quotas remain the most effective pathways towards gender equality in electoral politics. The authors discuss disputes that have arisen noting the lack of canvassing of the gender question as a substantive issue to buttress the point that discussions on gender in Kenya are still at the periphery. They decry the dearth of bold, transformative and path-breaking jurisprudence on the substantive gender question in electoral politics in Kenya, which in their view is what is needed to alter the political playing field and the rules of the game. In conclusion, the authors argue that in no country has gender representation in politics been achieved through the promulgation of laws alone, highlighting the need for effective implementation mechanisms; incentives for actors to follow through; and sanctions meted against those who do not comply.

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Revamping the Groundwater Legal Regime in India: Towards Ensuring Equity and Sustainability

The evolution of a separate groundwater law in India is a relatively new development. This development marks a shift from the dated common law rule that recognises the uncontrolled right of landowners over groundwater, which perpetuated gross inequity in accessing groundwater by restricting access only to landowners. In this context, framing of new groundwater laws is seen as a key step towards addressing the aggravating problems of depletion and contamination of groundwater along with eliminating inequity in accessing groundwater. Access to groundwater is also directly related to the realisation of the right to water because groundwater is the most important source for drinking and other domestic purposes. Therefore, a legal framework ensuring sustainable use of, and equitable access to, groundwater will have tremendous impact and influence on the effective realisation of the right to water in the Indian context. In this background, this article examines the capacity of the existing and evolving groundwater law in India to ensure equity, sustainability and realisation of the right to water. This article also highlights the gaps in the existing legal framework in this regard and suggests basic principles, norms and approaches that should form the underlying elements of the groundwater legal regime to make it capable of ensuring sustainability, equity and human rights.

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Inter-Sectoral Water Allocation and Conflicts – Perspectives from Rajasthan

Inter-sectoral allocation of water has become an increasingly important and contentious issue in India. Yet, the law and policy frameworks for allocation or re-allocation of water to different uses, or within a category of use, remain underdeveloped. This article provides the starting point for a conversation on the law and policy dimensions of inter-sectoral water allocation. It first provides a general introduction to inter-sectoral water allocation and inter-sectoral water conflicts in India and examines the contribution of statutes, policies and the judiciary towards resolving these complex issues. It then focuses on the state of Rajasthan and a specific inter-sectoral water allocation conflict in Rajsamand district to illustrate the gaps in the existing law and policy frameworks and to highlight the multiplicity of issues that need to be addressed. The last section argues that existing legal principles can provide the basis of a framework for inter-sectoral water allocation, the law must go beyond providing a simple prioritising of water uses and water allocation must be understood in a multi-scalar and comprehensive manner.

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Water Regulation and Public Participation in the Indian Context

Water regulation in India has traditionally been largely weak on public participation. Major changes have taken place in the past couple of decades from different perspectives. On the one hand, the international participatory agenda has been reflected in the adoption of a series of policies and laws emphasising the need for fostering the participation of water users. On the other hand, constitutionally-triggered decentralisation has led to democratically elected bodies of local governance being given broader water-related competencies. There have thus been significant changes in the discourse concerning public participation in the water sector. Yet, a lot more remains to be done to ensure that the change in discourse leads to an effective democratisation of the regulation of water. The two different forms of participation developing in parallel are different in their conceptual origin, the framework put in place for implementation and their results. While everybody agrees that participation in the water sector is necessary, its long-term success will be dependent on being framed in binding legal frameworks that reflect democratic principles.

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Principle 7 – Common but Differentiated Responsibilities

The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) has been since the late 1980s one of the most crucial principles of international environmental law. Its central role is linked to the fact that the adoption of international environmental legal instruments has been largely conditional on the inclusion of some form of differentiation. This is confirmed by the fact that today, one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the context of the revision of the climate change treaties is the place and understanding of CBDR....

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