Environment, Climate and Sustainability

This research platform focuses on analysing natural resources, climate and environmental and sustainability dimensions within Africa and in relation to its place in the world, using interdisciplinary approaches that combine insights from natural and social sciences. Particular attention is given to questions related to the discursive and material practices through which ‘nature’ is conceptualised and used, to the multiple effects of and responses to the climate crisis, to the terms of environmental governance, and to how the disciplining of environmental subjects/citizens is legitimated as well as contested. The platform is also concerned with the ways in which both global and local environment-related policies are driven by and affect diverse actors (such as states, private sector, differentiated citizens) within such arenas as resource utilization, ecotourism, climate change, land use, and biodiversity conservation. Knowledge production, power and ‘expertise’, as well as notions of ‘sustainability’ and practices of sustainable development, are consistent cross-cutting aspects informing the research within this platform.

In relation to both global and local challenges, Africa's environment and environmental policies are undergoing major changes, with a growing expansion of concerns as well as stakeholders. The interest in Africa's environment ranges from actors with different utilization perspectives, to actors focused on the protection of the environment such as the conservation of biodiversity. This increasing and multifaceted as well as transnational and translocal interest means an intensification of struggles over resource control, which in turn challenges the management of the environment. Sustainability and sustainable development is seen as a key way forward and this Platform look at how related ideas and visions are expressed and materialized in different ways in different contexts in Africa.

Central research questions concern:

  • Knowledge, knowledge production and ‘expertise’ related to environmental governance and sustainable development
  • Synergies between poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • The interplay between local, national and international environmental governance actors
  • The role and implications of private sector initiatives such as ecotourism for rural development and conservation

Platform Researchers: