Jacqueline Vel is senior researcher at the Van Vollenhoven Institute of Leiden Law School on the theme of law, governance and development in Indonesia. Her current research interest is in access to justice in water conflicts. Access to safe and sufficient water is an urgent issue for millions of Indonesian citizens and the problems involved are likely to get worse in the near future. Sustainable solutions require careful management of water as essential resource. What are the current barriers for people involved in water conflicts and how does the legal system in Indonesia protect the quality, availability and people’s access to water?
This new research interest builds on research about the impact of the 2014 Village Law. It also links with her research concerning the strength and weaknesses of customary law in protecting access to land and water. Sumba Island has been Jacqueline’s continuous field work site, from 1984 until present. In that long period Jacqueline has been participating in interdisciplinary research programs at VVI and KITLV, doing research on democratization and local politics, changes in land tenure security, access to justice for the poor, and social and legal aspects of introducing new crops for developing biofuel production in Indonesia. From 2015 – 2017 she also worked at KITLV as coordinator of the collaborative project ‘Governance, Markets and Citizens‘ of three social sciences and economics research programs concerned with contemporary developments in Indonesia, as part of the Scientific Program Indonesia-Netherlands of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences.
Jacqueline obtained her MSc degree in agricultural economics (1983); she worked as a development worker and researcher on Sumba (Indonesia) from 1984-1990. Her PhD dissertation (1994, Wageningen University, agricultural law department) was entitled "The Uma-economy: indigenous economics and development work in Lawonda, Sumba (eastern Indonesia)", with an Indonesian translation in 2010. Furthermore, she worked as a Policy advisor at ICCO’s South Asia desk (1995-96); as an assistant professor in Development Sociology and Modern Asian History at the University of Amsterdam, and as coordinator of Asian studies in Amsterdam (1997-2006).