ICTA-UAB to organize the sixth edition of the Summer School on Degrowth and Environmental Justice

Proposing pathways outside the growth, closure and depressive narratives.

Future changes in human well-being more likely to depend on Social Factors than Economic Factors

The changes in the perception of personal well-being that could take place in the next three decades, on a global level, depend much more on social factors than on economic ones.

Record-wet and record-dry months increased in regions worldwide: climate change drives rainfall extremes

More and more rainfall extremes are observed in regions around the globe – triggering both wet and dry records, according a new study involving ICTA-UAB researcher Finn Mempel.

Success at ICTA-UAB: Six ERC Grants In Three Years

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded six European Research Council (ERC) grants in three years, from the end of 2015 to the end of 2018. Each project (of between 1.5 and 2 million euros) lasts for five years and allows the recruitment of a team of six or seven doctoral students and postdocs.

Learn to explain your research in 2 minutes and win the Elevator Pitch competition

The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, IBB, INc and ICTA-UAB institutes announce a competition for the doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers at their centres.

ICTA-UAB researcher Gara Villalba receives an ERC Consolidator Grant

The European Research Council (ERC) announced the recipients of its Consolidator Grant competition: 291 top scientists across Europe.

The ICTA-UAB awarded an Erasmus+ for running a project on higher education and research in Biosphere Reserves

For the first time since its founding, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded approximately 1 million euros by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ funding scheme.

ICTA-UAB contributes to bridging science and society in the 100xCiencia.3

ICTA-UAB took part in the 100xCiencia.3 “Bringing Science and Society”, the annual event of the SOMMa Alliance held on November 15th at the CNIO in Madrid.

Citizens prefer landscapes that combine nature with built infrastructure

A pioneering study analyses the photographs shared by citizens in social networks to evaluate the aesthetic consideration of natural landscapes.

Co-managed small-scale fisheries lead to social and ecological improvements

The co-management model of small groups of fishermen contributes to a greater abundance and habitats of species.

ICTA-UAB to design participative and concurred forest fire prevention strategies for the Montseny region

Scientists from the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) aim to design prevention strategies for forest fires occurring in the Montseny Biosphere Reserve through a citizen participation process.

Nace El Observatorio del Besòs: un proyecto de seguimiento de la calidad de los sistemas fluviales de la cuenca

La Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) a través del Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA-UAB), y el Consorci Besòs Tordera evaluarán el estado de calidad a largo plazo de la cuenca del Besòs gracias a la creación de la Observatorio del Besòs.

Shift in large-scale Atlantic circulation causes lower-oxygen water to invade Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence

The Gulf of St. Lawrence has warmed and lost oxygen faster than almost anywhere else in the global oceans.

Climate Change Modifies the Composition of Reefs

Corals devastated by climate change are being replaced naturally by other species such as gorgonians, which are less efficient in acting as a carbon sink.

ICTA-UAB launches the first master’s Degree in “Political Ecology. Degrowth and Environmental Justice”

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) launches the master’s Degree in “Political Ecology.

Pioneering study analyses the effects of forests on human health

A group of volunteers have participated in an experimental study conducted by the ICTA-UAB to analyse the potential health benefits of forests.

Marine Litter on Mediterranean Beaches Triples in Summer

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) analyses and quantifies the waste generated by tourists in eight islands of the Mediterranean as part of the European BLUEISLANDS project.

Mapping the Urban Vitality of Barcelona

Researchers at the UAB have mapped Barcelona and and 9 surrounding towns using a new methodology based on urbanism activist Jane Jacobs' ideas on how cities should be configured to become vital spaces: 25% of the area is classified as having high vitality.

Agricultural intensification not a “blueprint” for sustainable development

Social and ecological results of increased agricultural intensification are not as positive as expected.

Green urban planning must consider social equity criteria

Cities that do not include social equity criteria into their political strategies to make their urban environment greener and more ecological will not achieve long-term sustainability and risk creating green enclaves only for the social elite.

The ICTA-UAB alerts of a new invasive Asian beetle pest in Catalonia that kills mulberry trees

A study by researcher of the ICTA-UAB and the Department of Agriculture Víctor Sarto i Monteys has identified in the province of Barcelona the presence of a species from Asia that could spread through Europe.

More than 120 ICTA-UAB researchers addressed environmental challenges at a symposium, especially those arising from global and...

The Institut of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) organized its 1st Spring Symposium with the aim of addressing some of the main environmental and sustainability challenges.

Low-carbon energy transition requires more renewables than previously thought

A new study by ICTA-UAB analyzes the impacts on lifestyles of substituting fossil fuels for cleaner energies.

Climate Change Threatens World's Largest Seagrass Carbon Stores

Shark Bay seagrass carbon storage hotspot suffers alarming losses after a devastating marine heat wave, according to a study led by ICTA-UAB researchers.

Amazon's indigenous people hunt animals feeding in areas contaminated by oil spills

A study by the ICTA-UAB and the UAB Department of Animal Health and Anatomy demonstrates that the main species hunted by the indigenous popoulations of the Peruvian Amazon ingest water and soil contaminated with hidrocarbons and heavy metals.

The new Planttes app warns of allergy risks in different urban areas

The Planttes application is a citizen science project which aims to encourage people to identify and locate on a map the existence of allergy-causing plants and indicate their phenological state.

ICTA-UAB’s success: five ERC grants in two years

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded five European Research Council (ERC) grants in two years, which is about ten per cent of all ERC grants arriving in Catalonia over the period from the end of 2015 to the end of 2017.

New ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide'

The new ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide' it is at your disposal now. With this document, we aim to help you discover the basics of the PhD programme, ICTA-UAB’s structure, etc.
Broadcasted Seminar on “Water Justice and the Commons”

Date: 2018-05-24

Broadcasted Seminar on “Water Justice and the Commons”


Date: Thursday, May 24th 2018
Time: From 15 to 18h
Venue: Room Z/022 ICTA-UAB

The conventional theory of the commons has been criticized for its relative inattention to how historically-shaped patterns of power, conflict, the ‘state’ and the broader political-economic context shape the access to and uses of common resources, and distributional consequences of different institutional arrangements for community-based natural resource management. The tragedy of the commons that Hardin had so popularized is not just the result of commoners’ individualistic behavior but may well also stem from the acts of more powerful, profit-seeking actors. Benefits and costs of resource management are commonly unequally distributed and shaped by power relations and political-economic structures; these conditions often lead to social movements and conflicts. Indeed, it has been argued that the history of commons has always been a history of struggle between the dynamic of enclosures driven by the systemic need for capital accumulation, and that of commoning to defend and reconstitute commons.

The scholarship of water justice can help move the theory of the commons forward. Water is life, but also power. Its governance is colored by profound contestation among competing uses and users. Growing demand, and worsening availability and quality, intensify water access and control disputes with every passing day. Megacities, mining, forestry, industry, and agribusiness claim an increasingly large share of available surface and groundwater reserves. Water grabbing and pollution generate poverty and endanger ecosystems’ sustainability. Therefore, struggles involve both economic/political control over water and the divergent meanings and values assigned to it; they include material control over water use systems and the right to culturally define and politically organize water governance systems. Water also mobilizes people and often drives formation of grassroots institutions grounded in shared rules and collective rights that seek to defend against internal and external injustices, not seldom extending their influence, strength and defense by building multi-scalar and multi-actors alliances. Beyond romanticism,  

Embedded in the debates around the commons and social mobilization, this Seminar will first discuss the multi-author “Water Justice” book just published by Cambridge University Press and the Justicia Hídrica / Water Justice Alliance (www.cambridge.org/9781107179080). The book scrutinizes how, beyond the large, visible injustices, there are also many “hidden” water world injustices, subtly masked as “rational,” “equitable,” and “democratic.” The book features critical conceptual approaches, including analysis of environmental, social, cultural, and legal issues surrounding the distribution and management of water, and lays new ground for challenging current water governance forms and unequal power structures. It also provides inspiration for building alternative water realities, often linked to rooted and innovative commons and mobilizations ‘from below’. The webinar will also present three new (Spanish language) books, published with Abyayala, part of the Water Justice Alliance book series.

Additionally, the Seminar will include a series of individual presentations on cutting edge topics associated to water justice and the commons. The presentations will be followed by a discussion about ways to move forward in the interface between these two research strands.



  Book/s presentation (Water Justice book series)


 Interventions by:

  • Tom Perreault (Maxwell School, Syracuse University)
  • Bibiana Duarte and Rutgerd Boelens (Wageningen U and CEDLA/U. of Amsterdam)




 Individual presentations


 Introduction to Water Justice concept, practice and scholarship (Rutgerd Boelens,  Wageningen U and CEDLA/U. of Amsterdam)


 Small-scale Artisanal mining and water justice: a pending agenda (Gisselle Vila, School of Geography, The University of Melbourne)


 Water remunicipalization in Catalunya (Miriam Planas, Ingeniería Sin Fronteras, Agua es Vida)


 Dam building conflicts and environmental justice (Daniela del Bene, ICTA-UAB)


 Environmental justice movements & commons management (Sergio Villamayor-Tomas, ICTA-UAB)




 Synthesis from individual presentations (Fabio de Castro, CEDLA/U. of Amsterdam)


 Open discussion (Fabio de Castro, moderator)


 Closing note (Jeroen Vos, Wageningen University)




Technical details for remote connection
To join our broadcasted seminar, please follow this link. The full recording will be available on the "International WaTERS Network youtube channel" the conclusion of the event (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDTiyB_aYpvc9itpyMmW-qw?view_as=subscriber)

No registration is needed, but for participants who would like to receive 2 or 3 digital chapters of the new Cambridge University Press book «Water Justice», or any further readings related to the presentations, please send your e-mail address to any of the organizers or temporarily downloadable from the Justicia Hidrica alliance website:  www.justiciahidrica.org).   

Contact information
Rutgerd Boelens: rutgerd.boelens@wur.nl
Sergio Villamayor-Tomas: villamayortomas@gmail.com

Note on the organizers

Justicia Hídrica/Water Justice is a broad international alliance, working on research, capacity building and action. Its objective is to contribute to more water justice, meaning more democratic water policies and more sustainable development practices that promote a more equitable water distribution. Central questions that guide the Justicia Hídrica Alliance are, for instance:  What are the historical and current mechanisms that lead to unequal water and water rights accumulation/ distribution? What characterizes the water conflicts that result thereof, with regard to contents, mechanisms, structural contradictions, and possible results or solutions? How do grassroots organizations and civil society actors develop multi-scale strategies to combat water injustices and suggest alternative water societies? The alliance wants to combine innovative theoretical work on accumulation, conflict and mobilization, with capacity building, diffusion, and policy advocacy.

The webinar is co-organized in collaboration with the International WaTERS Network and ICTA, Autonomous University of Barcelona. The International WaTERS Network is a partnership focused on: promoting collaborative and comparative research on urban water resilience, with specific focus on rural-urban linkages and institutional, social and equity dimensions; fostering knowledge mobilization through academic and policy dialogue in our Network and beyond.

ICTA-UAB (http://ictaweb.uab.cat/) is a multidisciplinary centre that promotes academic research and postgraduate education in the environmental sciences. ICTA is being increasingly recognized as the birthplace of the “Barcelona school” of political ecology. Contributions on environmental justice (e.g., “environmentalism of the poor” and Environmental Justice Atlas), and degrowth (e.g., “Degrowth: A vocabulary for a new era, Routledge) are examples of seminal contributions of the school to the field. Most recently, a number of scholars have turned their attention to the theory and practice of the commons, from both the political ecology and institutional perspectives.

ICTA's Activities