Governing Telecoupled Resource Systems for Environmental Justice

The research cluster "Governing Telecoupled Resource Systems for Environmental Justice" analyses how current dynamics in global resource regimes affect local and regional systems of land use and how governance strategies in different arenas can shape these dynamics. The focus is on three important global dynamics: large-scale investments in land and natural resources, climate change and adaptation, and initiatives for the conservation and protection of natural resources. Different work packages make conceptual, empirical and methodical contributions to scientific and policy debates about land use change and regional development. We assess these changes from the perspective of environmental justice and analyze options to transform current dynamics in polycentric systems. The study regions of the clusters' researchers are in countries of Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America and in Switzerland.

Research Objectives

  1. Concepts and analytical framework: Advance frameworks of telecoupling, social-ecological systems and institutional analysis. Integrate the telecoupling concept with the concept of networks of action situations (interlinked social spaces of action). Mapping networks of action sitations allows us to better analyze complex overlaps of social spaces of collective and individual action and interdependent scales of action. It provides an approach to complement the analysis of “flows” between multiple SES with an analysis of the interlinked social spaces in which land-use-relevant decisions are taken.
  2. System Knowledge: The cluster advances the theoretical and empirical foundations for identifying, describing and explaining varying degrees of environmental justice in resource regimes as large-scale resource investments, climate change and protection and conservation of natural resources create new forms of telecoupling.
  3. Target Knowledge: The cluster applies and refines the concept of environmental justice as a distinct and comprehensive set of evaluative criteria for assessing how sustainability trade-offs and competing claims on land and natural resources are governed in telecoupled SES.
  4. Transformation Knowledge: The cluster analyzes and develops contextually tailored governance options for more environmentally just policy and management options in multiple and interlinked spaces of action as large-scale resource investments, climate change and protection and conservation of natural resources create new forms of telecoupling.
  5. Research Approach: The cluster advances a diagnostic approach to the governance of social-ecological systems. Moreover, it incorporates an institutional diagnostic approach in transdisciplinary research and assesses opportunities and challenges of this.
  6. Methods: The cluster advances methods for pattern-recognition and up-scaling based on case studies (in particular meta-analyses of cases and case studies). It aims to advance large-N databases based on collaborations across case-based research projects.
  7. Tools and data: Based on the advanced system and transformation knowledge, the cluster provides an indicator set for assessing varying degrees of environmental injustices, risk factors and opportunities in resource governance (including measures for the consistency of the indicators). Collaborate with publically accessible databases to assess and refine the validity of indicators, coverage of cases, and coverage of telecoupling processes.

 

Work Packages

The work of the cluster is organized in six work packages:

Work Package 1 develops the conceptual foundations (objectives 1 and 3) and the diagnostic research approach (objective 5).

Work Package 2-4 analyse three central, current dynamics on in global resource regimes: large scale investment in land and natural resources; climate change adaptation; and initiatives for the conservation and protection of natural resources. Per work package, we advance theoretical and empirical knowledge, specify the concept of environmental justice and assess transformation potentials for more just land use systems (objectives 2-4).

Work Package 5 contributes to advance methods for analysis of archetypical patterns based on case studies (objective 6).

Work Package 6 contains all activities of coordination, communication and events.

Associate Projects

The following projects are thematically and personally associated with the cluster:

Study Regions

The study regions of the cluster's reseachers are located in different countries of Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America and in Switzerland.

 

You can find all publications of the cluster members on BORIS.

2017

Boillat S, Scarpa FM, Robson JP, Gasparri I, Aide TM, Dutra Aguiar AP, Anderson LO, Batistella M, Gesteira Fonseca M, Futemma C, Grau HR, Mathez-Stiefel SL, Metzger JP, Balbaud Ometto JPH, Pedlowski MA, Perz SG, Robiglio V, Soler L, Vieira I, Brondizio ES (2017). Land System Science in Latin America: challenges and perspectives. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 26–27, 37–46.

Oberlack C, Eisenack K. Archetypical barriers to adapting water governance in river basins to climate change. Journal of Institutional Economics (in press). doi: 10.1017/S1744137417000509.

 

2016

Oberlack C, Tejada L, Messerli P, Rist S, Giger (2016). Sustainable livelihoods in the global land rush? Archetypes of livelihood vulnerability and sustainability potentials. Global Environmental Change 41, 153-171.

Delaney A, Evans T, McGreevy J, Blekking J, Schlachter T, Korhonen-Kurki K, Tamás PA, Crane TA, Eakin H, Förch W, Jones L, Nelson DR, Oberlack C, Purdon M (2016). Strengthening the food systems governance evidence base: Supporting commensurability of research through a systematic review of methods (CCAFS Working Paper 167). Frederiksberg, Denmark: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

Cluster Coordination and PostDocs

Units and Researchers

Master and Bachelor Theses

The research field of the Cluster offers manifold opportunities for Master and Bachelor theses.

Currently advertised topics for Master theses:

 

For Master theses, you are very welcome to also make your own suggestions. Please contact Dr. Christoph Oberlack (christoph.oberlack AT giub.unibe.ch) or Dr. Sébastien Boillat (sebastien.boillat AT giub.unibe.ch), or discuss informally with us in office 106 (GIUB, Hallerstr. 12).

Courses

The cluster offers an annual course (e.g. lecture or seminar). Please have a look at the Kernsystem Lehre (KSL). Furthermore, the members of the cluster integrate themes of the cluster (governance, telecoupling, environmental justice) into their ongoing courses (e.g. lectures, seminars, excursions).

Prof. Dr. Jean-David Gerber: jean-david.gerber AT giub.unibe.ch
Dr. Christoph Oberlack: christoph.oberlack AT giub.unibe.ch
Dr. Sébastien Boillat: sebastien.boillat AT giub.unibe.ch

Universität Bern | Geographisches Institut | Cluster Telecoupled Resource Systems | Hallerstr. 12 | CH-3012 Bern
Tel. +41 31 631 52 67

News

Workshop on "Environmental justice in governing natural resources under globalization"

We invite expressions of interest to participate at the Workshop on "Environmental justice in governing natural resources under globalization". The workshop will take place on 20 December 2017 from 9.00-12.00 at the Institute of Geography, University of Bern. It will bring together about 10-15 young and established researchers to advance common understanding of environmental justice at a conceptual, empirical and practical level. Expressions of interest to sebastien.boillat@giub.unibe.ch

Event

Governance of Myanmar’s Forests Post-Transition: Brownbag with SiuSue Mark

The brownbag seminar with SiuSue Mark (ISS Den Hague, NL, and Yangon, Myanmar) on 10 August 2017 discussed the governance of forests in Myanmar with a focus on ways that allow managing competing goals for economic growth, poverty alleviation, peace-building and conservatoin

Event

Multi-stakeholder platforms, transparency and civil society empowerment: The EITI in Myanmar

At the brownbag seminar on 04 July 2017 with Dr. Marjanneke Vijge (Myanmar Centre for Economic and Social Development (CESD) and UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative), more than 30 participants discussed to what extent the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has contributed to more transparency and civil society empowerment in governance of the mining sector in Myanmar.

Event

Telecoupled Resource Systems Cluster at the XVI Biennial IASC conference, Utrecht

More than 20 participants of the XVI. Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC, 10-14 July 2017 in Utrecht, NL) discussed the paradgimatic relevance of the telecoupling approach for the institutional analysis of common-pool resources.

Event

Research workshop “Analysing Archetypes in Sustainability Research”, University of Bern.

This workshop is the initial part of an exciting workshop series to advance the archetype approach in sustainability research. The first workshop was held at the University of Bern from 2-4 May 2017. It has brought together 28 established and early-career researchers of land systems, commons and global change research from Europe, Asia and America. Participants took stock of the state-of-the-art of archetype analysis in sustainability research, discussed key opportunities and current methodological frontiers of the archetype approach in sustainability research. They formed more than eight thematic groups to continue collaboration. A second workshop is scheduled for February 2018 at the Humboldt University Berlin. The results of this collaboration will be compiled in a Special Feature in the international journal Ecology & Society. For more information and requests for collaboration, please contact the co-chairs Dr. Christoph Oberlack (U Bern CH, christoph.oberlack AT giub.unibe.ch), Dr. Diana Sietz (Wageningen University NL) or Prof. Dr. Klaus Eisenack (Humboldt University Berlin D).

Event

Strengthening the food systems governance evidence base

Delaney A, Evans T, McGreevy J, Blekking J, Schlachter T, Korhonen-Kurki K, Tamás PA, Crane TA, Eakin H, Förch W, Jones L, Nelson DR, Oberlack C, Purdon M (2016). Strengthening the food systems governance evidence base: Supporting commensurability of research through a systematic review of methods (CCAFS Working Paper 167). Frederiksberg, Denmark: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

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