Jessica J. Troell

Jessica J. Troell
Senior Attorney; Director, International Water Program; Director, Africa Program

Jessica Troell is a Senior Attorney and has led ELI’s International Water Program since its founding in 2006. Under her leadership, the Program has developed and implemented projects to define and track the legal recognition and protections for Indigenous and community-based water tenure; create realistic mechanisms for involving diverse stakeholders in water-related decision-making; identify and implement innovative water governance mechanisms to strengthen resilience of communities and countries in the face of climate change; build the legal and institutional capacity to manage transboundary water challenges; strengthen livelihoods and food security through more effective water management; and ensure that water management is effectively leveraged in fragile and post-conflict states to promote peacebuilding. Ms. Troell works with NGOs, governments, the private sector, and universities to create, implement, and enforce sustainable water laws, policies, and management mechanisms.

Ms. Troell is based in Zimbabwe, and in also leads the Institute’s efforts on various projects in Southern Africa, including projects on community based natural resource management, legal and customary water tenure, multiple uses of water services, forest management and climate change adaptation. Prior to joining ELI, Ms. Troell was a law fellow with the Mandela Institute of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, conducting applied research on the implementation of catchment management in the Limpopo River Basin, and a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. She has also been Adjunct Faculty at the American University School of International Service, where she has taught International Environmental Politics, and worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Phone: +263 (0)774 923 472

Media Guide
  • International: public participation, stakeholder engagement; accountability; transparency; transboundary impact assessment; natural resource co-management institutions
  • Water: water tenure; community-based land and resource tenure; international and comparative freshwater law and policy; transboundary water management; water and livelihoods; community based water resource management; water quality management; water management institutions; climate adaptation in the water sector; freshwater fisheries management
  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 2003
  • B.A., Environmental Studies and English Literature, Oberlin College, 1994
Selected Publications


J. Troell and S. Keene. Forthcoming 2022. Legal Recognition of Customary Water Tenure in Sub-Saharan Africa: Unpacking the Land-Water Nexus. International Water Management Institute Research Report. IWMI: Colombo, Sri Lanka.

J. Troell. 2020. Unpacking Water Tenure for Improved Food Security and Sustainable Development. FAO Land and Water Discussion Paper No. 15. FAO: Rome.

J. Troell. 2020. Strengthening Water Tenure. The Environmental Forum, Vol. 37:5. ELI: Washington, DC.

C. Bruch, E. Weinthal and J. Troell. 2020. Water Law and Governance in Post-Conflict Settings. Review of European, Comparative and International Law, January 2020.

Rights and Resources Initiative and Environmental Law Institute. 2020. Whose Water? A Comparative Analysis of National Laws and Regulations Recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ Freshwater Tenure. RRI: Washington DC, USA.

J. Troell and E. Yaari. 2019. Tapping Our Potential: Women’s Water Leadership in the Nile Basin. Stockholm International Water Institute: Stockholm, Sweden.

J. Troell and E. Yaari. 2019. “Listening and Learning with Women Water Experts in the Nile Basin.” SIWI Waterfront Magazine, August 2019.

J. Troell and G. Banda, “Policy, Legal and Institutional Frameworks for REDD+ in Malawi,” Malawi Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Department of Forestry (2017).

J. Troell and G. Banda, “Tenure and REDD+ in Malawi,” Malawi Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Department of Forestry (2017).

E. Weinthal, J. Troell and M. Nakayama (eds), Water and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding (Earthscan, 2014).

J. Troell and G. Swanson, “Adaptive Water Governance and the Principles of International Water Law,” in Sanchez and Roberts (eds.), Transboundary Water Governance: Adaptation to Climate Change, IUCN Environmental Law and Policy Papers No. 75, 2014.

C. Bruch and J. Troell, “Legalizing Adaptation: Water Law in a Changing Climate,” Water International Vol. 36, Issue 7, November 2011.

 J. Troell and E. Weinthal, “Water Resource Management and Post-conflict Peacebuilding,” Water International Vol. 36, No. 2, March 2011.

Jessica Troell, A Handbook on Public Participation in International Waters Management (ELI and GEF/IW:LEARN) (2008).

Carl Bruch, Mikiyasu Nakayama, Jessica Troell, Lisa Goldman, & Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Assessing the Assessments: Improving Methodologies for Impact Assessment in Transboundary Watercourses, 23 Int. J. Water Resour. Dev. 391-410 (Sept. 2007).

Jessica Troell, et al., Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment as a Tool for Promoting Public Participation in International Watercourse Management, in Enhancing Participation and Governance in Water Management: Traditional Approaches and Information Technology (UNU Press 2005).