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Climate change, water related matters and human rights​

PROF. OLIVER C. RUPPEL CURRENTLY SERVES AS COORDINATING LEAD AUTHOR (CLA) FOR THE CHAPTER ON AFRICA IN THE FORTHCOMING ASSESSMENT REPORT (AR5) OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IPCC), WORKING GROUP II.​

In this capacity he assesses the scientific, technical, environmental, economic and social aspects of the vulnerability (sensitivity and adaptability) to climate change of, and the negative and positive consequences for, ecological systems, socio-economic sectors and human health, with an emphasis on regional sectoral and cross-sectoral issues. The IPPC was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its work. With the funds received from the Nobel Peace Prize the IPCC established a Scholarship Programme for students from Least Developed Countries where Prof Ruppel also serves as a reviewer. The Programme currently also receives financial support from the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

Prof. Ruppel has worked widely on Biodiversity in African Traditional Communities and on wetlands in Southern Africa and is currently involved with the interdisciplinary research project “The Future Okavango” (TFO) which is dedicated to support a sustainable landuse and resource management in the Okavango Basin of the countries Angola, Botswana and Namibia with scientific knowledge. The region under investigation, a system of woodland savannas, floodplains and extended wetlands is of crucial global importance for biological diversity. Simultaneously it is threatened by rapid transformation through climate change, population growth and anthropogenic over-utilization of natural resources. Such threats can amplify land- and water conflicts. There is a high need for high-quality scientific contributions to optimize landuse and resource management. The Okavango basin can be perceived as a model region to achieve these goals. An improved understanding of the interlinkages of human action, ecosystem function and -services, and influences of climate is highly necessary. This understanding will help to evaluate and valorize existing ecosystem services and landuses within a socio-economic context and to discover potentials for improved land management. With an innovative and trans-disciplinary approach TFO aims at supporting the already well established communication between science and decision makers leading to the participatory implementation of research results.

Prof. Ruppel is a Trustee of the Windhoek based Legal Research and Development Trust (LRDT) of Namibia, where he served as the Director of the National Human Rights and Documentation Centre (HRDC) until 2010. Prof. Oliver C. Ruppel is one of the worldwide 14 founding Chair holders in the academic programme of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Geneva (Switzerland) and still serves as WTO Regional Resource Person for Trade and Climate Change for Sub-Saharan Africa to the WTO.  In this capacity he has been training high government officials from basically all over Africa during the past years.

Prof. Ruppel is an International Arbitrator and Fellow Arbitrator (FA Arb) with the Association of Arbitrators of Southern Africa, a legal advisor to the South African Water Research Commission (WRC) and an accredited Commercial Mediator (SCCM) with the Swiss Chamber for Commercial Mediation. He is a member of the Paris (France) based UNESCO Global Ethics Observatory Network, founding member of the United Nations Environmental Programme’s (UNEP) Association of Environmental Law Lecturers in Nairobi (Kenya), a member of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law , Ottawa (Canada) and a member of the Editorial Board of the NIELS Journal of Environmental Law at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Lagos (Nigeria).


Prof Oliver C. Ruppel

Department of Mercantile Law,
Faculty of Law,
Stellenbosch University

Contact: ruppel@sun.ac.za
​www.sun.ac.za/law