Indigenous peoples and local communities are often disproportionally affected by global challenges such as climate change, reduction of biocultural diversity, and food (in)security. The aim of this master project is to investigate how responses to these challenges can be guided by complementary frameworks of 'responsible innovation' and 'adaptive co-management'.
Responsible innovation has become widely embraced as a European governance framework for aligning technological and social change with wider societal goals and values. However, it often remains unclear what responsible innovation means in global and local contexts such as change processes in Indigenous communities.
Adaptive co-management has emerged as a governance framework for developing sustainable practices through the integration of traditional ecological knowledge of local communities and modern scientific knowledge from the environmental sciences.
The master project will engage with the case study of an adaptive co-management project to address its capacities for fostering responsible innovation. It will address questions such as: How can adaptive co-management contribute to more responsible practices that (a) better anticipate effects on local communities, (b) lead to more inclusive negotiations between stakeholders, and (c) increase reflexivity about the effects of novel technologies and their relation to local values? Furthermore, the project will critically engage with barriers and limitations of current practices in generating responsible innovation.
While the choice of a case study is up the master student (and can be adapted to geographic interest and linguistic abilities), the research could be integrated with existing work in the Kaxinawá de Nova Olinda Indigenous Land (Acre – Brazil), where the System of Incentives for Ecosystem Services (SISA) policy is articulated with the program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+). The Indigenous land integrates 27.000 ha, 492 people and 5 villages. Local people speak Portuguese and Hãtxa Kui. The SISA policy (State Law 2,308 / 2010) was developed in response to Indigenous peoples’ political mobilization about rubber tapping. SISA State Law 2.308/2010 is known as the world’s first jurisdictional REDD+ program. It was created after consultation of Indigenous peoples and aims to enhance ecosystem services’ resilience in coherence with the local knowledge and culture. Practitioners started implementing SISA in Kaxinawá Nova Olinda in 2015, using ethnoecological participatory methods. The policy implementation outputs are recognized as a reference of successes regarding the inclusion of community knowledge, practices and worldviews. The case study would integrate field research or analysis of existent data, depending on the arrangements to be done.