People at DROP

Oliver C. Ruppel is the Director of DROP. He is a full Professor at the Faculty of Law of Stellenbosch University and a Professor Extraordinaire at several universities around the world. He is also the Co-director of the Research Center for Climate Law (Clim:Law), Faculty of Law, University of Graz, Austria and a Non-resident Distinguished Fellow at the Fraunhofer Centre for International Management and Knowledge Economy (IMW), Leipzig, Germany. He served as the founding Director of the Climate Policy and Energy Security Programme for subsaharan Africa of the German Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS). Until 2010 he held one of the worldwide 14 academic chairs of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Geneva, Switzerland, which he established at the University of Namibia, Windhoek, where he had previously also served as the Director of the national Human Rights and Documentation Centre. He is a member of the distinguished Cameroon Academy of Sciences and served as Coordinating Lead Author for the Chapter on Africa in the last assessment of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group II. He is an international arbitrator with the Association of Arbitrators of Southern Africa, inter alia member of the World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) of the International Conservations Union (IUCN); the Wildlife Justice Commission, The Hague, Netherlands; the German African Law Association; the Commission for Legal Pluralism; the South African and Swiss Branches of the International Law Association. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Platform for Disaster Displacement (PDD), Geneva, Switzerland.

Eva Schulev-Steindl is a distinguished non-resident senior fellow at DROP since 2020. She is a Professor of Public Law and Economic Law at the University of Graz and currently serves as Rector of the Vienna based University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria. Her research focuses on environmental and climate law as well as on the theory of individual rights, general principles of administrative law and administrative procedural law. After Studies at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), the University of Vienna and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) she habilitated 2003 at the University of Vienna and held, after visiting professorships at WU and the University of Klagenfurt, from 2008-14 a professorship for Law at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU). She is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences´ Commission on Climate and Air Quality and coordinates the commissions´ joint scientific focus on Climate and Law. At the University of Graz she is Co-director of the Research Center for Climate Law (Clim:Law), which she founded in 2020. Furthermore she co-organizes the annual Environmen­tal Law Forum in Graz as well as Austria’s main annual conference on environmen­tal law in Linz, is member of the Field of Excellence Climate Change Graz at the University of Graz and advisory board member of the European Environmen­tal Law Forum (EELF). Her editorial work includes: editorship of the monograph series „Forschungen aus Staat und Recht“ (“Research on State and Law”), co-editorship of „Studien zu Politik und Verwaltung“ (“Studies on Politics and Administration”) as well as co-editorship of “Recht der Umwelt – RdU“ (“Journal on Environmental Law”).

Peter de Clercq is a distinguished non-resident senior fellow at DROP since 2020. He is also a Visiting Professor at the School of Governance in the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg South Africa. He is the former Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia (UNSOM) and Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in that country. He has worked with the UN and in the diplomatic field for 34 years at various duty stations in peacekeeping, political affairs, development and humanitarian operations. He retired from his UN career at the Assistant Secretary-General level. Mr de Clercq has been engaged with the UN in the fields of managing political processes, security sector development, operations and emergency management, protection of civilians and rule of law, as well as mobilisation and management of humanitarian and development assistance. He has spearheaded some of the largest humanitarian emergencies in the World as well as led development, reconstruction and Peace/State Building efforts in highly complex and fragile environments throughout his career. He was elected Chairperson of the Advisory Group to the International Displacement Monitoring Centre in Geneva in 2019 for a 2-year period.

Matteo Fermeglia  is a distinguished non-resident senior fellow at DROP since 2022. He is Assistant Professor in International and European Environmental Law and Post-Doctoral Assistant in Environmental and Administrative Law at Hasselt University, Faculty of Law. In 2017, he was Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School, collaborating with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment. He is member of the IUCN WCEL Specialist Group “Soil and Sustainable Agriculture Law”; Member of the Editorial Board, Journal for European Environmental and Planning Law; Scientific Committee, Global Pandemic Network (GPN); Member of the Sabin Center Peer Review Network of Global Climate Litigation.

Harald Ginzky is a distinguished non-resident senior fellow at DROP since 2019. He holds a PhD in International Public Law and was Senior Researcher at University of Bremen. Since 2003 he is working for the German Environment Agency as an expert of national, European and international environmental law. His Focus lies on water, soil, oceans, in particular deep seabed mining, as well as chemical law and geo-engineering. He was a member of German delegations to UNCCD COPs and Annual sessions of the International Seabed Authority and the German delegation for London Convention/London Protocol (Amendments concerning Carbon Sequestration in Sub seabed geological formations – 2006 and 2009, Amendment on Marine Geo-Engineering 2013). He is member of the editing board of the German “journal of environmental law” since 1992 and Chief Editor of “International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy”. In cooperation with DROP he leads several projects on sustainable management and governance of soils in Africa and India.

Eeshan Chaturvedi is a distinguished non-resident fellow at DROP since 2020.He is a renowned environmental and energy lawyer, and scholar. He is the Founder-Director of ‘EnviPol’ (, Co-Director of the Global Policy, Diplomacy, and Sustainability (GPODS) Fellowship (, Assistant Dean at the Jindal School of Environment and Sustainability, and also Member of prestigious global organisations such as the World Commission on Environmental Law; International Association for Water Law, Rome; Global Network for Human Rights and Environment, and Global Policy Insights. He also holds a LLM in Environmental Law and Policy from Stanford Law School, where he was selected as one of the top 20 Rising Environmental Leaders.

Xiaohu Zhang is is a distinguished non-resident fellow at DROP since 2020. He is Associate Professor of Law at Xiangtan University in China, deputy director of Centre for African Laws and Society, researcher of China-Africa Institute for Business and Law, currently visiting scholar at Stellenbosch University and executive editor of the Xiangtan University African Law Review. His research focuses on China-Africa legal cooperation, African environmental law with a particular focus on environmental rights. He has published more than 50 papers on African law in China, mainly on sustainable development and environmental protection issues related to Chinese enterprises’ investments in Africa.

Mercy Teko is a non-resident fellow at DROP since 2019. She holds an LLM from Birkbeck University of London in the field of International Economic Law. She had previously completed her LLB from Strathmore Law School, Nairobi, Kenya, where she currently works as a lecturer. Her areas of interest include; Economic Law, Justice and Development, Environmental Law and Gender Studies. At DROP she is involved in ongoing work on climate change law.

Absalom Shigwedha is non-resident fellow at DROP since 2019. He is a Namibian award-wining independent environmental journalist. At DROP he is engaged in climate advocacy projects.

Georgina Roskell is a DROP resident-fellow and a DROP project assistant since 2021. She holds a BSc, LLB and LLM (cum laude) and is currently a LLD candidate at the Department of Mercantile Law, Faculty of Law, Stellenbosch University.

Larissa-Jane Houston is a DROP non-resident fellow since 2020, when she completed her LLM at Stellenbosch University. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute of Public Law and Political Science, Faculty of Law, University of Graz, Austria.

Tania van der Merwe is the Finance Officer at DROP.