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Professor Spijkers Otto

Spijkers Otto

Otto Spijkers is Professor at the Research Institute of Environmental Law (RIEL), Professor of International Law at the China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies (CIBOS) of Wuhan University, and permanent staff member of the International Water Law Academy (IWLA). He is also a member of the Committee on the Role of International Law in Sustainable Natural Resource Management for Development of the International Law Association.


Prior to joining the IWLA of CIBOS, Professor Spijkers was a guest lecturer with CIBOS for several years, teaching a course on international water law annually. He also taught a course on international water law at Xiamen University’s China International Water Law Programme, and at Utrecht University Law School.


As member of the IWLA, Otto is involved in teaching and research in the field of international water law, law of the sea, and general issues of public international law. His publications include:


1.‘Sustainability and International Water Law’, Chapter X.16 in Joseph W. Dellapenna and Joyeeta Gupta (editors), Volume X of the Elgar Encyclopaedia of Environmental Law: Water Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2021.

2.‘Equity across Generations in Implementing International Law on Water’, in Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Marcel Szabó, and Alexandra R. Harrington (editors), Intergenerational Justice in Sustainable Development Treaty Implementation: Advancing Future Generations Rights through National Institutions, Cambridge University Press, 2021. 

3.With David Devlaeminck, ‘Layers of Regulation in Transboundary Water Governance: Exploring the Role of Non-parties in the Lancang-Mekong River Basin’, in Water International, Volume 46, Issue 5 (2021).

4.‘World Law’s Modern Master Builders’, in Niels M. Blokker, Daniëlla Dam-de Jong, and Vid Prislan (editors), Furthering the Frontiers of International Law: Sovereignty, Human Rights, Sustainable Development (Liber Amicorum Nico Schrijver), Brill, 2021.

5.With Wouter G. Werner, and Ramses A. Wessel, ‘The Phenomenon of Yearbooks in International Law: An Introduction’, in Netherlands Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 50 (2021).

6.With Dimitri van den Meerssche, ‘‘There Was an Idealism that This Information is Useful’—The Origins and Evolution of the Netherlands Yearbook of International Law’, in Netherlands Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 50 (2021).

7.With Sofie Oosterhuis, ‘The Dutch Response to Climate Change: Evaluating the Netherlands’ Climate Act and Associated Issues of Importance’, in Thomas L. Muinzer (editor), National Climate Change Acts: The Emergence, Form and Nature of National Framework Climate Legislation, Hart Publishing, 2020.

8.‘The Sustainable Human Right to Water as Reflected in The Sustainable Development Goals’, in Special Issue on ‘Localising the Sustainable Human Right to Water’ of the Utrecht Law Review, vol. 16(2) (2020).

9.‘The No Significant Harm Principle and The Human Right to Water’, in International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Vol. 20(4) (2020).

10.‘The Case Between Urgenda and the State of the Netherlands’, in Marcel Szabó (editor), Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, vol. 8(1) (2020).

11.With Catherine Blanchard and Wen Duan, ‘Three Structural Pillars of the Future International Legally Binding Instrument on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction’, in Marta Chantal Ribeiro, Fernando Loureiro Bastos & Tore Henriksen (eds.) Global Challenges and the Law of the Sea, Springer, 2020.

12.‘Sustainable management of freshwater resources: Linking international water law and the Sustainable Development Goals’, in GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, Volume 28 (2019), Nr. 2.

13.‘Equity across Generations in International and Domestic Water Law’, in Thomas Cottier, Shaheeza Lalani and Clarence Siziba (editors), Intergenerational Equity: Environmental and Cultural Concerns (World Trade Institute Advanced Studies, Volume: 4), Brill, 2019.

14.With Cathy Suykens, ‘Meaningful Public Participation in The Management of Transboundary River Basins’, in the Journal of Water Law, Volume 26 (2019), Issue 2.

15.With Xian Li and Liping Dai, ‘Public Participation in China’s Water Governance’, in the Chinese Journal of Environmental Law, Volume 2 (2018).

16.With Steven van Hoogstraten, Nico Schrijver, and Anneleen de Jong, editor of The Art of Making Peace: Lessons Learned from Peace Treaties, Brill, 2017.  

17.‘The Cross-fertilization between the Sustainable Development Goals and International Water Law,’ in Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law (RECIEL), Volume 25 (1) 2016.

18. With Xian Li and Liping Dai, ‘Sustainable Development in China’s International and Domestic Water Law,’ Journal of Water Law, volume 24 (5-6), 2015.

19. With Brendan Howe and Boris Kondoch, ‘Normative and Legal Challenges to UN Peacekeeping Operations,’ Journal of International Peacekeeping, Volume 19 (2015).

20.‘The Evolution of United Nations Peacekeeping in the Congo: From ONUC, to MONUC, to MONUSCO and its Force Intervention Brigade,’ Journal of International Peacekeeping, Volume 19 (2015).

21.With Arron Honniball, ‘Developing Global Public Participation’, International Community Law Review, Volume 17 (2015), Issue 3.

22.What's Wrong with the Relationship between the International Court of Justice and the Security Council?’, in Cedric Ryngaert, Erik J. Molenaar and Sarah Nouwen (editors), What's Wrong with International Law? Liber Amicorum A.H.A. Soons, Brill, 2015.

23.‘The Sustainable Development Goals as Catalyst for the Sustainable Management of Water Resources,’ in Journal of Water Law, special issue, 2015.

24.‘Bystander Obligations at the Domestic and International Level Compared,’ in the Göttingen Journal of International Law, Vol. 6, No. 1 (October 2014).

25. 'Global values in the United Nations Charter,' Netherlands International Law Review, vol. 59 (2012), issue 3.

26.The United Nations, the Evolution of Global Values, and International Law (monograph, doctoral dissertation), Intersentia, 2011.

27.'What’s running the world: global values, international law, and the United Nations,’ Interdisciplinary Journal of Human Rights Law, vol. 4, no. 1, 2009-2010.

28.‘The immunity of the United Nations in relation to the genocide in Srebrenica in the eyes of a Dutch District Court’, Journal of International Peacekeeping, vol. 13 (2009), no. 1-2.

29.‘Legal mechanisms to establish accountability for the genocide in Srebrenica’, Human Rights & International Legal Discourse, vol. 1 (2007), no. 2.




Prior to joining the IWLA of CIBOS, he was Lecturer of Public International Law at Utrecht University, and researcher at the Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law. He was a visiting lecturer at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University, Xiamen University’s China International Water Law Programme (China), the Law School of the East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL) in Shanghai (China), the Università degli Studi di Salerno (Italy), and the Association pour la promotion des droits de l'homme en Afrique centrale (APDHAC) of the Université Catholique d’Afrique Centrale (Yaoundé, Cameroon).


Previously, he was a PhD candidate and lecturer at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at the University of Leiden. His doctoral dissertation, entitled The United Nations, the Evolution of Global Values and International Law, was published with Intersentia in 2011. He worked as public services coordinator at the Peace Palace Library, and as international consultant and coordinator for the United Nations International Law Fellowship Programme. Otto Spijkers studied the basics of international relations at the University of Sussex. He then studied international law at the University of Amsterdam, New York University School of Law (exchange student), and the Hague Academy of International Law (2009 session). He studied philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Malta (exchange).  He obtained a Diplôme approfondi de langue française.