Climate change, environmental degradation and resource pressures have created unprecedented situations for societies worldwide. Consequently, there is growing attention to the need for fundamental transformations in the way societies interact with each other and with the natural environment as the basis of sustainability. It is for this reason that NORFACE and the Belmont Forum have launched a joint transnational research programme on 'Transformations to Sustainability'. Wageningen University & Research is proud to have been granted funding for 2 of the only 12 final projects.
This programme will contribute to re-structuring the broad field of sustainability research by placing social science and humanities at the heart of interdisciplinary research in a step change in scale and scope for research programming on this topic. After a joint Call with a two-stage assessment procedure of 154 eligible Outline Proposals and 36 eligible Full Proposals, 12 projects were selected for funding. Among them CON-VIVA and SecTenSusPeace in which WUR is involved.
The CON-VIVA project; conivial conservation
CON-VIVA is grounded in the premise that conservation is critical to transformations to sustainability but that its practices need to change radically. Conservation can be effective in protecting biodiversity in places, but in toto has failed to halt global biodiversity loss. Continued habitat fragmentation and reduced funding during times of austerity compound this problem. Many conservationists now acknowledge this, leading to vigorous ‘Anthropocene’ discussions on how to reconfigure human-wildlife relations, protected areas and the role of economic development in conservation.
CON-VIVA’s key objective is to conceptually refine and empirically test the prospects for one proposal emerging from these debates: convivial conservation. This new model responds to the T2S themes by moving beyond protected areas and faith in markets to build landscape, governance and funding pathways that integrate conservation and poverty reduction, while enhancing prosperity.
SecTenSusPeace: challenges of local land registration
SecTenSusPeace addresses the challenges of localizing land-registration in conflict-affected Burundi and eastern DR Congo. In conflict-affected settings, land tenure security of smallholders is seen as essential to prevent local land disputes and sustain peace, enable recovery of rural livelihoods, and advance ecologically and socially sustainable agricultural production. To enhance tenure security – which is often severely compromised during conflict – interveners tend to turn to land registration and other forms of formally acknowledging claims to land.
However, conventional state-led approaches relying on centrally-organised, individual titling often fail to deal with very complex local land struggles. Yet, the alternative of recognizing customary land governance is also problematic. Contrary to expectations, customary arrangements may also fail to find locally embedded, acceptable solutions. This project aims to contribute to a better understanding of the challenges of local land registration and the recognition of claims in conflict-affected settings. Through knowledge-sharing with practitioners, it generates instruments that help interveners better map potential outcomes.