BSc minor Natural Resource conflict and Governance (WUNCG)

This Minor allows students from different backgrounds to build a distinctive profile in the domain of resource conflict and environmental justice. The program helps students develop a solid analytical approach to resource competition and learn how to engage with pathways of change in resource governance and rights' protection.

Continue to an overview of the minor


One of the big questions of our time is how to deal with competing claims to scarce natural resources. Global problems around land grabbing, water grabbing and green grabbing remain pressing and gain increasing urgency with the current upsurge in measures for carbon emission reduction, alternative sources of energy and climate adaptation. Together, these pressures lead to intensified spatial and resource competition. Ideas about how to best address situations of resource competition are in full development. Though there has been notable progress in issues of corporate social responsibility and due diligence as well as inclusive spatial planning and low cost land registration, it remains difficult to reconcile large scale land acquisition and infrastructure development with notions of equity and sustainability. The rights of local populations are often not adequately protected and resources that are key to ecosystems and local livelihoods are under threat. On the ground, this may lead not only to impoverishment and environmental degradation but also to (violent) conflict. There is an evident need to find equitable and sustainable solutions, but how to achieve this remains an issue of debate - in academic as well as policy circles.

This Minor offers students from within and outside of Wageningen the opportunity to specialize in the field of natural resource conflict and environmental justice. Students learn to analyze dynamics of resource competition and engage in debates about just and sustainable solutions. Students will study real life cases developed in interaction with NGOs and other stakeholders. The Minor is set up around a common core but allows for a certain diversity of learning pathways. This allows students from different backgrounds to tailor the Minor to their interests. The common core consists of two compulsory courses, one introductory, which scopes the problem and provides basic conceptual building blocks, and the other organized solution pathways in real life cases. The remaining courses are offered as two sets of Restricted Optionals, to allow students to develop in a direction of their choice.

The program is designed to help students build up a profile attractive to careers in research, policy or NGO work. This Minor will help students who are concerned with issues of resource competition and environmental justice, to translate their concerns into effective engagement and extend their horizon for professional action. This minor is a Thematic minor.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this minor students are expected to be able to:

- Identify sources and manifestations of resource competition
- Analyze dynamics of power and contention in resource competition with the use of suitable theories
- Identify approaches to governance of natural resources and critically reflect on the potential of these approaches to contribute to equity and sustainability
- Identify change agents and leverage points for constructive engagement with competing claims
- Critically reflect on stakeholder engagement with and solution pathways for competing claims with the use of relevant theories
- Design- or contribute to designing- pathways for constructive engagement with competing claims
- Reflect on their own position and options for professional engagement with environmental justice

Target group

The Minor targets students from the BIN and BIL programmes, as well as other WUR BSc programmes (such as BBN, BES, BLP). We also expect the Minor to be of interest to students from the fields of Development Studies, Anthropology, and Social Geography from other Universities.




First semester (Period 1,2 and 3)

Programme or thematic

Thematic minor