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Conference & Summit 2024 – Updates


Conference & Summit

Land governance and the politics of fair transitions:

Deepening the search for social justice

IoS Fair Transitions Platform & LANDac

Utrecht, the Netherlands | 3-5 July 2024

Early Bird tickets are available until May 15 

We are calling upon practitioners, policy makers and scholars from a wide variety of fields (humanities, geosciences, law, governance and those involved in issues of sustainability) to join us for our second joint Conference, which will this year have a somewhat different set-up from what you are used to and end with a Summit. We will hold panel sessions and round tables over the first two days. Building on your input, we will conclude on the last day with an experiment of democracy – a more-than human Summit. There will be limited hybrid options for participation in the Conference and the Summit. 

Explore the sections below for further details on registration, conference themes, programme highlights, practical information, and more. Don’t forget to secure your early bird ticket before May 15th!


  1. Registration
  2. Conference Program
  3. Conference Description
  4. Conference Themes
  5. Conference Format
  6. Practical Information


Registration for the conference is now open and closes end-June. We are happy to offer an early bird fee of €175 (open until 15 May). The regular fee for participation after 15 May is €225. Reduced fees are available for students: €100 for PhD students and €50 for Master students. Online presentation is free of charge. On Thursday evening we will host a 3-course Conference dinner at an iconic venue in the city centre of Utrecht.

You can now register for both the conference and the dinner here:

Registration Fees
Early Bird Fee €175
Regular Fee €225
PhD Students Fee €100
Master Students Fee €50
Online Presenters Fee €0
Dinner (Additional Fee) €57.50

Our conference assistant will be in touch with you within 3 working days. Requests for letters for visa applications are also handled upon registration. We are not able to provide sponsorships or financial support to attend the event.

Conference Programme

Please note that the following programme is provisional and thus is subject to change. For the latest version of the programme, please regularly check the Conference Page. Times are displayed in CEST (Central European Summer Time). 

Plenary Session #1: Keynote Dialogue


Liz Alden Wily

Liz Alden Wily (PhD) is an independent political economist specialising in land tenure, associated with the Van Vollenhoven Institute as an affiliated researcher. Liz works in Africa and less frequently in Central Asia and Asia. Since the 1980s Liz has provided land policy guidance (e.g. Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia, Ghana, Cameroon, Gabon, Nepal, Afghanistan), conducting research, and designing and technically guiding projects on a learning by doing basis to practically guide policy and law-land and forest law making. This work has been driven by urgent post-conflict requirements in Uganda, Sudan/South Sudan, Liberia, Nepal and Afghanistan. Liz is also closely engaged with the forest and climate change sector, playing an active role since the 1990s in the development of community owned protected forests, especially in Tanzania.

Liz’s research continues to arise directly from social change and governance requirements as affecting the majority rural land dependent sector. Her core focus is towards improved national law status of customary/indigenous land interests (‘community land rights’), as informally held by more than 2.5 million contemporary land and resource dependants around the world. Her principal interest in supporting legal recognition of the collective ownership of commons, the several billion hectares of forest/woodlands, arid/semi-arid rangelands and swamplands held in common by communities under customary, neo-customary, or increasingly, hybrid statutory-customary laws. Liz has worked directly towards policy and, forest and rangeland law reforms in 12 states, and contributed in as many others. Since 2021, her research and practitioner work has focuses upon on critiquing existing community conservation initiatives to remove legal and other impediments which limit the right and capacity of communities to establish and sustain Community Protected Areas. Liz is periodically requested to provide expert affidavits in litigation brought by communities seeking secure tenure over specific state/public resource lands.


Bram Büscher

Bram Büscher is Professor and Chair of the Sociology of Development and Change group at Wageningen University and Visiting Professor at the Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies of the University of Johannesburg. His research and writing revolve around the political economy of environment and development with specific interests in biodiversity, conservation, new media and digitalization, violence and extraction. His broader theoretical project seeks to bring biodiversity, human-nonhuman relations and conservation deeper into our understanding of the historical and contemporary trajectories of global capitalism.

Bram has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and chapters and is the author of Transforming the Frontier. Peace Parks and the Politics of Neoliberal Conservation in Southern Africa (Duke University Press, 2013). Together with Robert Fletcher, he authored The Conservation Radical Ideas for Saving Nature Beyond The Anthropocene. This 2020 book was published by Verso and has been translated into Spanish, German and French, with Italian forthcoming. His most recent book, The Truth About Nature. Environmentalism in the Era of Post-Truth Politics and Platform Capitalism was published by the University of California Press in 2021. Bram is one of the senior editors of the open-access journal Conservation & Society (

Morgan Ody

Morgan Ody is the General Coordinator of La Via Campesina and a small-scale vegetable farmer in Brittany, France. Via Campesina is a worldwide movement defending access to land, water, and territories, food sovereignty, agroecology, climate and environmental justice, as well as dignity for migrant and waged workers in agriculture. During the European farmers’ protests earlier this Spring, Megan Ody pressed the European Commission to create the conditions for an agroecological transition, in solidarity with the Global South.

Frances Cleaver

Frances Cleaver is Professor and Chair in Political Ecology at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. Her research is concerned with how we can understand natural resource governance in order to inform progressive social change. Institutions really matter in social and political life – they are the rules (often implicit) and arrangements through which people organize their lives, access resources and give order and meaning to their world. Critically, they are also channels through which power is exercised, reproduced and challenged. Working from a political ecology perspective, Frances is particularly interested in how institutions shape the governance of water, land and forests, and impact on people’s livelihoods.

Plenary Session #2: Women’s Land Rights as A Pathway to Social, Economic and Climate Justice

This plenary session will place women’s land rights in the frameworks of just and sustainable energy transitions, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Rio Conventions.

This session will be hosted by the Stand for Her Land Campaign and co-organised by ILC Africa, Landesa, IDLO, REN21, GROOTS Kenya, UCOBAC, and UN Habitat/GLTN.


Stand for Her Land

The Stand for Her Land Campaign is closing the implementation gap for women’s land rights: the gulf between the strong standards in place to protect women’s rights to land, and the realization of those rights in practice, so that millions of women can realize the transformational power of rights to land.

Plenary Session #3: Imagining the Possible


Kumi Naidoo

For over 40 years, Kumi Naidoo has been a voice amongst many for social, economic and environmental justice. From his humble township upbringing in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, to his work as an anti-Apartheid activist, to his leadership of international NGOs, Kumi has remained rooted in Martin Luther King’s Creative Maladjustment principles – refusing to normalize inequality and devoting himself to exposing injustice.

Kumi serves as the Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University,  and Professor of Practice at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, and a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University and Honorary Fellow at Magdalen College. He also is a Senior Advisor for the Community Arts Network (CAN) and Special Advisor to the Green Economy Coalition.

​Kumi was International Executive Director of Greenpeace International, from 2009-2015, and Secretary General of Amnesty International, from 2018-2020. As of June 2020, he is Global Ambassador for Africans Rising for Justice, Peace & Dignity. He has served as the Secretary-General of Civicus, an international alliance for citizen participation, from 1998 to 2008. Kumi has also served the Global Call to Action Against Poverty and the Global Call for Climate Action (, which brings together environmental aid, religious and human rights groups, labour unions, scientists and others and has organised mass demonstrations around climate negotiations.

In this next chapter of his activism journey, Kumi is dedicating himself to getting back to his ‘roots’, with a focus on contributing more to the growth of activism movements and organisations, academia, as well as paving the way forward for a new generation of activists. 

Peter Akkerman

Peter Akkerman works passionately for our beautiful planet. He grew up in the forests of the eastern Netherlands and has a background in international relations. Already from a young age he was a volunteer for the state forest agency, actively participated in the drinkingwaterproject of his father in a wide variety of African countries and started his carrier at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For almost ten years he has worked on environment, climate, and biodiversity at a variety of different ministries. Currently he is project leader for the National Climate week at the Dutch Government. Next to his work he is the founder of the Youth Environment Council, NGO “Bos dat van Zichzelf is” (forest that owns itself) and organizer of a variety of green conferences. He travels throughout Europe to speak about rights for nature, youth participation and leadership in starting green initiatives. For Peter it is important to bring people into nature, to let them experience the importance of our ecosystem and to coach young people to take action on the positive change they want to make in the world.

Xandra van der Eijk

Xandra van der Eijk is a Dutch artist, researcher, and educator. Their practice is situated in the field of ecological art and ecocriticism, with a specific interest in the influence of the technosphere on evolutionary processes and methods of attunement, particularly to matter and their situated and networked lives.

The artistic practice is research-driven and finds its voice in developing and exhibiting artwork, writing, curating and developing education. For the past 4,5 years Xandra has pioneered ecological art in the field of education, by founding and developing a new master’s program “Ecology Futures” at the Master Institute of Visual Cultures of Avans University of Applied Sciences, that puts the exploration and invention of artistic-scientific methods at the forefront of practicing ecocritical theory in the field, aiming to find new ways of (co)generating practice-led knowledge in the process. Ecology Futures is the first MA program on ecological art in the Netherlands, as well as the first MA art program in the Netherlands to center, facilitate and teach biotechnological methodologies. The latter was developed from their position as a researcher in the affiliated Biobased Art&Design Research group (CARADT) and in the newly installed Material Incubator Lab & Project Space.

Over the years Xandra has been involved with numerous institutions and initiatives, often leading to longstanding collaborations and multiple roles, such as with MU Hybrid Art House and the Bio Art & Design Award, Embassy of the North Sea, FIBER and ZKM/Driving the Human and is co-leading the discussion group “Planetary Ecologies” as an associated researcher at Critical Media Lab (FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, CH). Their work is exhibited worldwide, most recently at the Biennale of Sydney, ZKM Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe and MUDAC Lausanne.


On the final day of our conference (July 5th) we invite you to participate in a Summit – a more-than-human exploration at the intersection of academia, activism, and the arts. We aim to extend and deepen our understandings of social justice by challenging conventional methodologies and foster creative avenues in our research. Together, we will tackle the question: How can art and the more-than-human deepen our understanding of social justice? Drawing on techniques such as counter-mapping, visual representations, storytelling, and even performance art, we will challenge traditional boundaries of academic inquiry.


Lisette Ma Neza

Lisette Ma Neza is known for her sharp pen, soft voice and poetic performances. In 2017, Ma Neza became the first Dutch speaker, first woman and first person of color to win the Belgian Championship in Poetry Slam. In 2024, she has been chosen as Brussels’ first ever city poet, a position which she will hold for two years beginning on 21 March.

She then traveled to different parts of the world as a troubadour. With poetry; written and slammed, she now navigates through Brussels and Breda. In her writing, music and filmmaking she searches for her own language, to translate all feelings into words, images and melodies. In this way she searches for the untold story of humanity.

Lucas van der Velden

Lucas van der Velden is the director of Sonic Acts, an Amsterdam-based organisation and festival operating at the intersections of art, science, music, and technology.

Van der Velden studied at the Interfaculty of Image and Sound at the Royal Conservatory and the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. He is also a co-founder of Telcosystems, an experimental art collective dedicated to audiovisual installations, films, videos, soundtracks, and live performances.

Dr. Rick Dolphijn

Dr. Rick Dolphijn is a writer, educator, and curator, serving as an associate professor at Media and Culture Studies, Humanities, Utrecht University. He published widely on continental philosophy (Gilles Deleuze and Michel Serres) and the contemporary arts. He studies posthumanism, new materialism, material culture (food studies), and ecology. He coordinates the Humanities Honours Program, is involved in interfaculty cooperation concerning Community Based Research, Open Cities, and COVID-19. 

Since 2015 he runs an undergraduate exchange with the University of Hong Kong (themed “The More-Than-Human City”), a graduate exchange (themed “The Lives of the Delta”) commenced in 2021. Rick Dolphijn is an Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong (2017-2026) and a Visiting Professor at the University of Barcelona (2019/2020). In 2024 he is Vice Chacellors Visiting Professor at the University of Gdansk. His books include Foodscapes  (Eburon/University of Chicago Press 2004), New Materialism: Interviews and Cartographies (Open Humanities Press 2012, with Iris van der Tuin). 

Conference Description

The starting point for the Conference and Summit is the recognition that ongoing transitions in the name of climate change and clean energy are deeply unfair in multiple ways. The challenges involved in making these transitions ‘fair’ are enormous and some would say we are ‘beyond justice’ and can only limit damage. The picture is clear enough: climate policies and so-called green investments place huge burdens on people and spaces in the Global South as well as on areas inhabited by marginalized populations in countries of the Global North. Their rights are put under pressure, safeguards are lacking or not enforced, and the room to defend their lands, forests, pastures, and territories is constrained. Existing inequities are deepened.

In view of these challenges, how to do and think justice? Laws, regulations, and institutions that claim to make policies and investments more ‘inclusive’ often fail to do so. Instead, they may be instrumentalized by elites, facilitate resource capture, and ‘green wash’ extractivism. The land grab debate has shown that technical and managerial approaches alone, without a commitment to justice, risk feeding into procedural dispossession rather than fair outcomes. And as ‘climate justice’ is becoming part of global transition parlance, it risks being stripped of its emancipatory potential.

A first challenge is to uphold rights in view of the new wave of land and resource grabbing. For this, we can build on the experiences of those who have exposed land grabbing in its many guises and have protected and defended rights through land tenure reforms, advocacy, and grassroots activism. But how to think of social justice in the face of the high levels of destruction we are currently witnessing and how to face the issue of ‘extinguished’ rights? Can we extend our approach to justice to include not only protection but also restoration/regeneration and the reclaiming of vital spaces?

A second challenge is therefore to extend and deepen our understandings of social justice. There are interesting developments exploring more-than-human perspectives in debates on fair transitions. It is of particular urgency to strengthen solidarities and re-think justice in relation to past and future generations or along the lines of multispecies justice, which brings the moral obligation to consider the interests of those who cannot represent themselves in political deliberation. We propose to explore new narratives of more-than-human democracy, involving human connections with lands, natures, and their aspirations, and discuss how these could strengthen and deepen social justice. The Conference and Summit will explore both theoretical and practical implications from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Conference Themes

For a complete overview of the sessions and their descriptions, click here.

Conference Format

The event will be held on site, with a limited number of hybrid possibilities. On the first two days, a limited number of sessions will be allowing speakers to join online; session organisers will be hosting the session in-person, in Utrecht. Please consult the Overview of Sessions 2024 to find which sessions allow online presentation. 

Keynote sessions will be streamed and accessible online free of cost. A link to distribute in your networks will be shared ahead of the conference. The Summit, on the third day of the event, will be on site only. The conference dinner will be held on the second day of the conference. Please note, that the cost of dinner is to be borne by conference participants, in addition to the participation fee.

Practical Information

We want to make your attendance to the conference and your stay at Utrecht as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Please find below a link to a welcome package with practical information regarding directions, venues, hotels and tips on where to eat out or enjoy a drink while in Utrecht.


Below you can find the hotels and hostels that have agreed to partner with us and have provided us with booking codes and discounts:

Park Plaza Utrecht

Description: You will find Park Plaza Utrecht in the heart of the center of Utrecht. A city with many restaurants, cafes and picturesque canals. You are within walking distance of the Dom, Utrecht Central Station, the Jaarbeurs and last but not least: one of the largest shopping centers in the Netherlands (Hoog Catharijne).

Booking instructions and further info: Park Plaza is offering conference attendees a 10% discount on accommodation. You can find this offer here: Discount Link


Grand Hotel Karel V

Description: What was once a 14th-century monastery and served as accommodation for knights & priests is now a luxury five-star hotel in the centre of Utrecht.

Booking instructions and further info: Karel V is offering a 15% discount on their Flexible Rates. Rooms can be booked mentioning Utrecht University and the Conference via


The NInntel Hotels Utrecht Center

Description:  Inntel Hotels Utrecht Center, standing at 11-storeys is connected to Utrecht Central Station.

Thanks to its medieval setting with unique vaults and winding canals, the creative, dynamic city of Utrecht still exudes peace and security. 

The hotel’s location at an inspiring junction in the center of Utrecht makes it a unique location to meet, spend the night, hold meetings and relax. The bright meeting rooms located on the top floor offer a beautiful view of the monumental city.

Booking instructions and further info: Inntel Hotels is offering a 10-20% discount on rooms during these dates. You can access this discount via the following link: Discount


The Nox

Description: Warm and nightly. Romantic and distinctive… The Nox Hotel Utrecht. Enter the unique building that was built in the 17th century and be enchanted by the deep blue color of the night. This boutique hotel allows you to escape the hectic pace of everyday life, and you will find yourself in a world full of design, luxury, excellent service, and international allure. The Nox Hotel Utrecht is located a stone’s throw away from the Dom Tower, like a hidden treasure. In the middle of the city center, yet outside the bustle. 

Booking instructions and further info: The Nox hotel is offering a 10% discount on rooms during these dates on their Non-Refundable rates. The code is: Utrecht-university and can be used up until the 7th of July.


Bunk Hostel

Description: Bunk Hostel is a trendy and affordable hostel located in a historic building (old church) in the heart of Utrecht. With a range of dormitory and private rooms, Bunk Hostel offers comfortable and stylish accommodation for budget-conscious travellers. The hostel also features a restaurant and bar, as well as a shared kitchen and lounge areas.

Booking instructions and further info: Bunk Hostel is offering a 10% discount on rooms during these dates. Discount Code will be provided in the coming days, in the interim bookings can be coordinated with Nick Polson via


Stayokay Hostel

Description: Stayokay Hostel is a budget-friendly option for travellers looking for affordable accommodation in Utrecht. The hostel offers dormitory rooms as well as private rooms, all equipped with modern amenities such as free WiFi. Guests can also enjoy the hostel’s communal kitchen and lounge areas.

Booking instructions and further info: Stayokay Hostel is offering a 10% discount on all rooms during these dates. The code is: UU and can be used up until the 7th of July.



Please find our conference map below to view our main conference locations and the hotels mentioned above. This map will continue to be updated as we approach the conference with more specific details.

For All Enquiries

Supported By

Organizing Committee

Nick Polson (coordinator IOS FT), Janwillem Liebrand (IOS FT), Gemma van der Haar (LANDac & WUR), Julia Tschersich (IOS FT), Wytske Chamberlain (LANDac-LAND-at-scale), Harrison Awuh (IDS-UU), Joanny Belair (LANDac), Barbara Codispoti (Oxfam).

Summer School: Land Governance for Development

The conference takes place back-to-back with the LANDac/Utrecht University Summer School Land Governance and the Politics of Fair Transitions, which will take place 8-19 July 2024 in Utrecht. For m ore information and to register, please visit the Utrecht Summer School website.

Summer School participants pay a reduced conference fee of €50. Kindly send an email to to apply for this reduction.