Zoek medewerkers/organisaties prof.dr.mr. JAW van Zeben
Naamprof.dr.mr. JAW van Zeben

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  • Transdisciplinary Advisory Board Member - JPI Climate
    jan 2023 - jan 2026

  • - KIN
    mrt 2022 - apr 2024

    Member of Dutch Climate Research Initiative (KIN)

  • Co-editor-in-chief - Cambridge University Press
    jan 2022 - Nu

    Co-editor-in-chief of Transnational Environmental Law


Josephine van Zeben is Professor and Chair of the LAW group at Wageningen University (WUR, the Netherlands). She has also been a visiting professor at Bocconi University since 2021, and part of the Transdisplinary Advisory Board of JPI Climate.  

She holds a PhD in Law and Economics (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam, and LLM degrees from Harvard University and the University of Amsterdam (European Private Law), an LLB in Scots Law from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in Social Sciences from University College Utrecht, Utrecht University.

Prof. van Zeben’s research focusses on the regulation of environmental issues by public and private actors across jurisdictions, with particular attention for polycentric governance theory and developments related to the European Union. She is research lead of the LAW Group's program "Law for the Living Environment". Her research also draws on her teaching of law to non-law students and lawyers from foreign jurisdictions by actively searching for optimal ways of analysing complex legal and societal problems so as to facilitate interdisciplinary solutions.

Prof. van Zeben welcomes inquiries on PhD supervision, particularly in the areas of international and EU environmental law, climate change, ecosystem management and biodiversity, pollution and plastics, comparative environmental law, and EU public law.

Prof. van Zeben is co-editor-in-chief of Transnational Environmental Law, and is part of the editorial board of several other academic journals, including the Croatian Yearbook of European Law and Policy, and Istituzioni del Federalismo, and board member of several associations, such as the Society for Environmental Law and Economics. She has held visiting professorships at Notre Dame Law School (United States), La Trobe Law School (Australia) and provides guest lectures across the world. Between 2012 and 2022, she taught Environmental Regulation: Law and Policy at the ETH Zürich. 

Her inaugural lecture "Law for the Living Environment" (7 October 2021) can be viewed here.

Publications can be accessed under the heading 'publications'

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"Beyond cherry-picking": aligning development actors and efforts for inclusive and effective governance of trade-offs and synergies between SDGs in East Africa 

Numerous governments, businesses, and civil society organisations aim to contribute to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the global South. However, cherry-picking SDGs coupled with lack of alignment between initiatives means trade-offs are not addressed and opportunities for synergy are missed. Progress towards achieving the SDGs is hampered by international development projects duplicating efforts on the ground; lack of coherence between donor policies; misalignment between national policies and multilateral development programmes; and diverging private sector investments. Aligning SDG efforts by these public and private actors operating across levels has itself become a challenge that will determine whether SDGs will be met in 2030. Together with our international, Dutch and East-African partners, this project will study the effectiveness of governance mechanisms that aim to align SDG efforts between (1) donors’ domestic and foreign policies, (2) donors and recipients, (3) different donors, and (4) public and private initiatives. By working across disciplines and with stakeholders, we will produce actionable research results. Policy briefs with tailored recommendations for co-designing inclusive and effective polycentric governance arrangements will be produced. We aim to support better alignment between development actors and efforts, so as to minimise trade-offs, maximise synergies, and achieve the SDGs in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

PhD researcher: Charles Tonui


FOODSAFETY4EU (H2020, 2020-2023) is a project focused to design, develop and release a multi-stakeholder platform for the future European Food Safety System (FSS), by structuring a participatory process, which sustains a responsive and adaptive community of FSS actors.

PI: Pieternel Luning (FQD)

Co-PIs: Hanna Schebesta (LAW) and Josephine van Zeben (LAW)

PhD researcher: Niels van der Linden (FQD and LAW)


I coordinate and teach in the following courses at WUR:

Period 3: LAW-22306 - International and EU Environmental Law 

Period 4: LAW39206 - Transnational Environmental Law & Regulation

I also supervise MSc and BSc thesis related to all areas of environmental and public law.

  • AEP-53802 - Advanced Course on Economic Regulation
  • LAW-12806 - Introduction to Law for the Life and Social Sciences
  • LAW-22306 - International and EU Environmental Law
  • LAW-31806 - International Food Law
  • LAW-39206 - Transnational Environmental Law and Regulation
  • LAW-39406 - Law of Marine Environments and Resources
  • LAW-50402 - Capita Selecta Law
  • LAW-50403 - Capita Selecta Law
  • LAW-50404 - Capita Selecta Law
  • LAW-50406 - Capita Selecta Law
  • LAW-79224 - MSc Research Practice Law
  • LAW-80424 - MSc Thesis Law
  • YSS-38206 - Grand Challenges for the Governance of Sustainability Transformations
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