Juan Carlos Sanchez Ramirez

Current research/thesis title:

Trans boundary Waters, Climate Change and Ecosystems: Identifying Opportunities for Improved Cooperative Governance Through a Better Understanding of Cross-Sectoral and Multi-Level Linkages

"The main objective of Juan Carlos’ PhD project is to develop and test a trans boundary water governance framework that can provide guidance to implement existing or developing agreements (i.e. multilateral treaties and bilateral treaties)."

The framework will focus on 2 major components:

1) Multi-level governance (across scales from local to international) and;

2) Fragmentation and connectivity (between international water law, climate change adaptation and ecosystem management).

Therefore issues related to effectiveness of international law and its interaction with national jurisdictions are central to the PhD research. By identifying the factors that enable implementation of most-evolved trans boundary water governance regimes, the PhD project intends to propose strategies for overcoming potential barriers to implementation, which are both policy relevant and academically robust.

Juan Carlos is also a Hydro Nation Scholar, a programme that is part of the Scottish Government’s Hydro Nation Policy. The objective of the policy is to develop the economic, environmental and social values of Scotland’s water resources, and Juan Carlos’ PhD project supports this by:

  • focusing on enhancing Scottish capacity in areas of existing research excellence, by contributing to expand the world-renowned research capacity of the Dundee Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science (under the auspices of UNESCO) at the University of Dundee, and;
  • providing new research and insights where there are gaps related to water resources in Scotland, by analysing cutting-edge trans boundary water issues, incorporating elements of multilevel governance, climate change adaptation and ecosystem management.

Prior to joining the PhD programme, Juan Carlos worked as a Legal Officer of the IUCN-ELC (International Union for the Conservation of Nature - Environmental Law Centre) for over 5 years. He has experience within the Mesoamerican, South American and the Mekong regions; and has been involved as project manager for multidisciplinary projects related to trans boundary hydrological basins. He was involved in IUCN’s BRIDGE project, which looked mainly at trans boundary law and governance issues in the context of freshwater ecosystems, as well as on the “Good Governance to Climate Change” project, which aimed at understanding the enabling legal frameworks for ecosystem-based adaptation.   

Juan Carlos’s PhD builds upon his previous experiences by offering an innovative and implementation-oriented/ policy-relevant research


  • Creating New Spaces for Sustainable Water Management in the Senegal River Basin. Frans Padt and Juan Carlos Sanchez, Natural Resources Journal, Volume 53 (2013)
  • Martinez L., Sanchez J.C, Iza A., La Adaptacion al Cambio Climatico en la Convencion Marco de las Naciones Unidas para el Cambio Climatico (2013)
  • Pacheco P., Sanchez J.C., Tattle Q., Data and Information Management in Trans boundary Water Governance – The Mauri River Case, Journal of Water Law (2013)
  • Recursos Hídricos en Centroamérica: Hacia una Gestión Integrada. Asociación Mundial para el Agua, Capítulo Centroamérica (GWP Centroamérica), Honduras, 2011.
  • Gobernanza de Aguas Compartidas: Aspectos Jurídicos e Institucionales. IUCN Environmental Policy and Law Papers (IUCN-EPLP), Gland, Switzerland, 2009.
  • RULE: Reforming Water Governance. IUCN Water and Nature Initiative (IUCN-WANI), Gland, Switzerland, 2009.
  • Governance of Shared Waters: Adaptation to Climate. (In progress and still not published)