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dr. M.M.E. (Marlies) Hesselman

Assistant Professor International Law
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Dr. Marlies Hesselman is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Transboundary Legal Studies of the Faculty of Law, teaching mostly in the areas of public international law, international environmental law, climate law and human rights and environmental health.  She holds an LLB from Leiden University, LLM in International Law, spec. human rights (cum laude), LLM European Law, spec. human rights, and a PhD in International Law on human rights and modern energy services access from Groningen University. She is a Managing Board Member of the Groningen Center for Health Law and part of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health. She is also academic co-coordinator of the Joint Summer School on Global Governance of Health Vulnerabilities in Africa in Tanzania, and co-founder of the Group on Human Rights and the Climate Crisis at the Netherlands Network on Human Rights Research. She is also part of the Columbia Law School Global Peer Network on Climate Litigation.

Hesselman’s research concentrates on the intersections of socio-economic human rights law, climate, energy and environmental health law, with a strong focus on international human rights law practice. In the past, she has written extensively on the human rights dimensions of disaster settings. Presently, her research concentrates on the 'transnational' legal development of and legal mobilization around the ‘right to energy’ as a newly emerging right in the 21st century, including as related to just transitions. At the Groningen Center for Health Law she leads research on the health-related dimensions of climate change, with a specific interest in climate litigation, and the interaction between international climate law and human rights law, through a lens of 'global health law'.

From 2018-2022, Hesselman was a co-lead in EU COST Action ENGAGER: European Energy Poverty: Knowledge Innovation and Agenda Co-Creation , for Working Group 3 on "Co-producing Emancipatory Research and Practice". ENGAGER was an interdisciplinary network of over 200 European academics and practioners working on Energy Poverty in Europe, funded by the EU Cooperation on Science and Technology Scheme. As part of ENGAGER, Hesselman led and co-produced the novel COVID-19 Global Energy Map, a major visual database of 380+ emergency energy poverty policies adopted in 120+ countries around the world during the pandemic. The map's method and initial findings were published in Energy Research & Social Sciences. She also co-authored a Toolkit on the Right to Energy, and the influential TNO White Paper on Energy Poverty and the Energy Transition in the Netherlands (2021) which has been the basis for the development of novel national indicators for energy poverty measurement in the Netherlands. In 2022, she wrote a seminal entry on the 'Right to Energy' in the Elgar Encyclopedia on Human Rights.

Hesselman publishes widely in her areas of interest with leading publishers such as CUP, OUP, Routledge, Elgar, Brill, Palgrave, in both legal and non-legal publications, e.g. Energy Research and Social Sciences, Sustainable Development, and BMJ (IF. 96). She was a lead-editor of the volume 'Socio-Economic Human Rights in Essential Public Services Provision' (Routledge, 2017), and between 2017-2023, a founding co-editor of the new Yearbook of International Disaster Law (Brill Nijhoff). In 2023, she co-authored first evidence-based analysis of the new phenomenon of 'Just Transition Litigation', with fellow-members of Columbia Law School's Global Peer Network on Climate Litigation, and contributed to the new GCHL and UK Faculty of Public Health publication, From Analysis to Action. Climate Change Litigation: A Guide for Public Health Professionals.Hesselman enjoys engaging with practice and values the societal impact of her academic research. She held several positions within the government and NGO sector, incl. traineeships at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in China. and EU Delegation in China, Beijing, (Development Cooperation sections), and as project manager at the Beijing office of international NGO 'International Bridges to Justice'. In the Netherlands, she temporarily worked as legal advisor at the International Law Division (DJZ) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs', and advised refugees and asylumseekers at Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland (Dutch Refugee Council). She has also been active for the Dutch Section of the International Commission of Jurists, NJCM, coordinating the group on International Human Rights Protection from 2011-2013, and acting as national coordinator of coalition shadow reports for UN Human Rights procedures and as NGO-coalition representative at the UN Human Rights Council (2012) and UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (in 2009-2010 and 2016-2017). She also trained international human rights defenders on UN human rights monitoring.

Hesselman's publications have informed and been cited by several UN human rights monitoring bodies: e.g. drafts of CEDAW's General Comment 37 on Disaster Risk Reduction in a Changing Climate (2018); annual report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food on "Right to Food and Natural Disasters" (2018); studies of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights related to 'Human Rights and the Environment' (2011) 'Human Rights in Post-Disaster Settings' (2014) and 'The Right to Health and Climate Change' (2015-2016). Nationally, Marlies wrote about the human rights implications of prolonged gas extraction in Groningen province and related earthquakes. Her earlier work on 'human rights and disasters' was quoted in this respect by the Dutch National Human Rights Institute.


Edited volumes

1. Hesselman, Hallo de Wolf, Toebes (eds), 'Socio-Economic Human Rights in Essential Public Services Provision' (Routledge, 2017) (Google Books)      

2. Bartolini, Cubie, Hesselman and Peel (eds) 'Yearbook of International Disaster Law' (Vol. I (2018), Brill Publishers, 2019) (see here)     

3. Bartolini, Cubie, Hesselman and Peel (eds) 'Yearbook of International Disaster Law' (Vol. II (2019), Brill Publishers, 2020) see here)    

4. Bartolini, Cubie, Hesselman and Telesetsky (eds) 'Yearbook of International Disaster Law' (Vol. III (2020), Brill Publishers (2021), open access)   

Edited Journal Special Issues      

5. Hesselman and Rachovitsa, 'Special Issue: International Law for the Sustainable Development Goals', BRILL Open Law: An International Journal  (2020) see here.        

6.  Toebes, Hesselman, Van Dijk, Mierau, 'Special Collection: Curbing the Lifestyle Disease Pandemic: Engaging in a Transdisciplinary Research Agenda for Effective Interventions', BMC International Health and Human Rights (2020) see here.    

including editorials:   

-  Toebes, Hesselman, Mierau, Van Dijk (2020) 'A Renewed Call for Transdisciplinary Action on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)' , BMC International Health and Human Rights, 1-6 (open access)    

- Rachovitsa and Hesselman (2020) 'Introduction to the Special Issue: International Law for the Sustainable Development Goals', Brill Open Law 2, 1-6 (open access)   

Journal articles

7. Hesselman, 'Governing Energy Poverty in the European Union: An International and Regional Human Rights Law Perspective’ (2023) 10 European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance 438–517.

8. Jiglau, Hesselman et al (2023) "Energy and the Social Contract: From “Energy Consumers” to “People with a Right to Energy” Sustainable Development (open access)

9. Buse, Hesselman and Meier (2022) "The Human Right to a Healthy Environment— Time for the Public Health Community to Take Urgent Action. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) (open access)

10. Feenstra, Middlemiss, Hesselman, Straver, Tirado Herrero (2021) 'Humanising the Energy Transition: Towards a National Policy on Energy Poverty in the Netherlands', Front. Sustain. Cities 3:645624. doi: 10.3389/frsc.2021.645624 (open access)

11. Hesselman, Varo, Guyet, Thomson (2021) 'Energy Poverty in the COVID-Era: Mapping Global Responses to the Pandemic in Light of Momentum on the Universal Right to Energy', 18 Energy Research and Social Sciences. (open access)    

12. Diestelmeier and Hesselman (2018) 'De Positie van Huishoudelijke Consumenten in het EU Winterpakket: Tussen participeren en beschermen'  [The position of household consumers in the EU Winter Package: Between Participation and Protection] Nederlands Tijdschrift for Energierecht 1/2, 31-40.    

13. Hesselman and Lane (2017), 'Disasters and Non-State Actors: A Human Rights-Based Approach', Disaster Prevention and Management 26(5), 526-539 (open access)

14. Lane and Hesselman (2017), 'Governing Disasters: Embracing Human Rights Law in a Multi-Level, Multi-Actor Governance Sphere', Governance and Politics 5(2), 93-104 (open access)

15. Hesselman and Toebes (2017), 'Adopting New International Health Instruments – What Can We Learn From the FCTC?; Comment on “The Legal Strength of International Health Instruments - What It Brings to Global Health Governance?' International Journal of Health Policy and Management 6, 1-4 (open access)

16. Toebes, Hesselman, van Dijk, Herman (2017) 'Curbing the Lifestyle Disease Pandemic: Making Progress on an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda for Law and Policy Interventions' BMC International Health and Human Rights 17(25) 1-5 (open access)

17. Brouwer en Hesselman (2015), 'Gaswinning en het Recht op Veiligheid', Nederlands Juristenblad (NJB), afl. 26, 1716-1723 (open access)

18. Cubie and Hesselman (2015) 'Accountability for the Human Rights Implications of Natural Disasters: A Proposal for Systemic International Oversight', Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 33(1), 9-41. (SSRN access)

19. Hesselman (2013) 'Establishing a Full 'Cycle of Protection for Disaster Victims: Preparedness, Response and Recovery according to Regional and International Human Rights Supervisory Bodies', Tilburg Law Review 18(2), 106-132 (open access)

20. Hesselman (2013) 'Sharing International Responsiblity for the Protection of Poor Migrants? An Analysis of Extra-territorial Socio-Economic Human Rights Law, European Journal of Social Security 15(2), 187-208 (open access)        

Book chapters:
21. Hesselman and Meier (2023) 'Environmental Health: Regulating Clean Air & Water as Underlying Determinants of Health', in O'Gostin and Meier (eds) Global Health Law and Policy: Ensuring Justice for a Healthier World (OUP)

22. Urzola, Tigre, Zenteno, Hesselman, Luporini and Gaete-Cisterne (2023) 'Just Transition Litigation in Latin America: Striking a Balance between Economic Development and Environmental and Social Energy Justice' in Esteve et al (eds) Challenges at the End of the Fossil Fuel Era: Shaping a Just and Clean Energy Transition (Palgrave McMillan)

23. Hesselman (2022) 'Right to Energy', in Hofbauer, Binder, Philipp, and Nowak (eds) Elgar Encyclopedia on Human Rights (Edward Elgar)    

24. Hesselman and Cubie (2022) 'Natural Disasters' in HHofbauer, Binder, Philipp, and Nowak (eds) Elgar Encyclopedia on Human Rights (Edward Elgar)    

25. Hesselman (2021) 'Climate Change as a Global Health Threat in International Climate Law and Human Rights Law, in Toebes et al, Global Health Law Disrupted: COVID-19 and the Climate Crisis (TMC Asser, Preadviezen No. 148) 87-130 (open access).     

26. Hesselman (2021) 'Energy Poverty and Household Electricity Access in International, Regional and National Law' in Roggekamp et al ,'Encyclopedia on Energy Law, Climate Change and the Environment' (Edward Elgar) 695-706 (SSRN access)   

27. Hesselman (2021) 'EU Climate Law and Human Rights' in Woerdman et al, Essential EU Climate Law (Edward Elgar, 2nd ed.) 259-292 (Google books).    

28. Hesselman (2021) 'Domestic Climate Litigation’s Turn to Human Rights and International Climate Law' in: Merkouris, Fitzmaurice and Brus (eds), Research Handbook on International Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, 2nd ed) 369-393.     

28. Hesselman (2020). 'International Disaster Law in Practice 2019: International Human Rights Law' Yearbook of International Disaster Law Vol. 1 (Brill Nijhoff) 463-473 (open access)    25. Hesselman and Brouwer (2019), 'De gaswinning en het recht op veiligheid' in Oldenhuis et al (eds) Monografieen Privaatrecht: Juridische aspecten van gaswinning Een 'Groningse' Verkenning', Wolters Kluwer, 23-50.  

29. Hesselman (2019), 'Human Rights Law: International Disaster Law in Practice 2018:  ', Yearbook of International Disaster Law Vol. 1 (Brill Nijhoff) 398-408 (open access)   

30. Hesselman (2018) ' International Environmental Law: International Disaster Law in Practice 2018', Yearbook of International Disaster Law Vol. 1 (Brill Nijhoff) 436-444 (open access)    

31. Hesselman (2019) 'Access to Disaster Risk Information, Early Warning and Education and Awareness: Implementing the Sendai Framework through International Human Rights Law' in Katja Samuel and Marie Aronsson-Storrier, International Law and Disaster Risk Reduction (Cambridge University Press, 2019) 188-215.       

32. Hesselman (2018) 'A Right to International (Humanitarian) Assistance in Times of Disaster: Fresh Perspectives from International Human Rights Law' in Flavia Giustianini et al, Routledge Handbook on Human Rights and Disasters (Routledge, 2018) 65-86.     

33. Gispen, Hesselman en Toebes (2018)  'De rol en potentie van het internationaal recht in het reguleren van ongezond gedrag: mogelijke aanvullende internationale standaarden omtrent (on)gezond voedsel en alcohol in het licht van tabaksontmoediging' [The role and potential of international law to regulate unhealthy behaviour] in Keirse et al., Ongezond en (on)geoorloofd? Publiek- en privaatrecht & legale maar gezondheidsbedreigende producten en diensten (Boom Juridische Uitgevers 2018)       

34. Hesselman, Hallo de Wolf, Toebes (2017), 'Common Challenges for Socio-Economic Human Rights and Essential Public Services Provision' in Hesselman et al, Socio-Economic Human Rights in Essential Public Services Provision (Routledge 2017)     

35. Hesselman, Hallo de Wolf, Toebes (2017)  'International Guideposts for Socio-Economic Human Rights in Essential Public Services Provision' in Hesselman et al, Socio-Economic Human Rights in Essential Public Services Provision (Routledge 2017)

36. Hesselman (2014) 'Regional Human Rights Regimes and Humanitarian Obligations of States in the Event of Disaster' in Zwitter et al, Humanitarian Action: Global, Regional and Domestic Legal Responses to Local Challenges (Cambridge University Press 2014) 202-227.          

37. Hesselman (2014) 'Realizing Universal Access to Modern Energy Services: Avenues for Private-Stakeholder Accountability in International Human Rights Law and Governance' in McCann et al, When Private Actors Contribute to Public Interests (Eleven International Publishing 2014) 107-130.

Policy reports and briefs

38. Straver, Mulder, Middlemiss, Hesselman, Feenstra and Tirado (2020) 'Energy Poverty and the Energy Transition in the Netherlands' (TNO White Paper, October 2020) (in Dutch and English)    

39. Hesselman and Tirado Herrero (eds) (2020) 'New Narratives and Actors for Citizen-led Energy Poverty Dialogues' (ENGAGER Policy Brief No. 4, September 2020) via:    

40. Middlemiss et al (2020) 'Making the Most of Qualitative Evidence for Energy Poverty Mitigation: A Research Agenda and Call for Action' (ENGAGER Policy Brief No. 3, February 2020) via:   

41. Hesselman, Varo and Laakso (2019), 'The Right to Energy in the European Union' (ENGAGER Policy Brief No. 2, June 2019) via:                   

42. Hesselman, Hoekstra, Kruseman and Ooms (2016), 'Joint Parallel Report to the Sixth Periodic Report of the Netherlands on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/NLD/6)' via:  

43. Hesselman and Toebes (2015), 'The Human Right to Health and Climate Change: A Legal Perspective', Input to UN OHCHR Study / GHLG Working Paper, via:        

44. Hesselman (2013), 'Geluidshinder en het Recht op Eerbiediging van Privé-en Gezinsleven', Journaal Geluid, online.   

45. Hesselman & van de Venis (2011), 'Human Rights and the Environment', Input to UN OHCHR Study / NJCM report, via:           

46. Hesselman and Bots (2009-2010), 'Civil Society Shadow Report to the Netherlands Periodic State Report on the Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights', NJCM report, via:              

Last modified:15 April 2024 12.01 a.m.