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HP09 - Local responses to global environment challenges: case studies from Sub-Saharan Africa (West and Central)

Convened by Nazaré Ceita (Universidade de São Tomé e Príncipe), Catarina Casanova ( ISCSP, Universidade de Lisboa, & CIAS, Universidade de Coimbra) and Joana Roque de Pinho (Centro de Estudos Internacionais (CEI); Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, ISCT)

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The structural inequality between the countries of the North and the countries of the South is reflected in climate change, whose causes originate in the countries of the North, but whose great impacts affect the countries of the South. In Sub-Saharan Africa, home to hundreds of biodiversity hotspots, multiple countries face additional environmental challenges and serious threats to their human and non-human populations: climate disasters are compounded by the environmental and socio-economic impacts of land use changes (e.g. extractivism, land privatization, land/green grabbing, etc.)., which have resulted in significant losses of biodiversity and livelihoods for rural communities.

In the Anthropocene, unsustainable land use practices go hand in hand with the idea of “nature” as a marketable resource – and idea that in turn underlies policies for the conservation of biodiversity externally imposed on African total communities (e.g. payments for agricultural services, ecosystems, ecotourism, so called community-based conservation services, etc.). Local communities, in turn, have responded with counter-narratives, protests and their own solutions to the various contemporary environmental challenges. This panel is interested in the new social dynamics of conservation and aims to:

  1. Explore local perspectives on the origins of multiple environmental challenges – from biodiversity loss to climate impacts;
  2. Investigate and debate bottom-up initiatives by communities and local entities that aim at solving/mitigating these environmental challenges;
  3. Stimulate and exchange of experiences between communities and countries in West and Central African based on the challenges and successes of local alternatives to policies originating in the North.

This panel invites all interested parties to share presentations that include final results and research in progress.