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Resilience and LUCIDity

by David

One of our cooperation partners, Lance Robinson from the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, has joined the POLISES team as a guest scholar. After attending the Resilience Conference in Stockholm together with Birgit and Gunnar, he has joined our group for three weeks in Leipzig in August/September this year. Lance works together with Gunnar on the LUCID model on land use competition in Southern Ethiopia, for which Gunnar has already attended two workshops in Addis Abeba – one in November 2016, and another one this year in June.

As a researcher, Lance specializes in environmental governance and social-ecological resilience in pastoralist systems. His PhD research among Kenyan pastoralists focused on the connection between social-ecological resilience and the approaches to participation used by formal sector agencies working with pastoralists. He has a background in natural resource management and over ten years of experience working with NGOs and as a consultant in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

During his stay at the UFZ, Lance and Gunnar will continue their work on the LUCID model, further developing some aspects of the model as well as nailing down errors in the model code. They will furthermore develop ideas and a draft structure for a first joint publication which will be the focus of work in the coming weeks.

Besides continuing the joint work, Lance has also used the opportunity to foster exchange with other researchers at the UFZ. He gave a talk titled ‘Property Rights and Natural Resource Governance in Pastoralist Systems: The Need for Understanding How Interests Differ Across Scales and Levels.’ Summarizing key insights of commons scholarship, he argued that its typology of property rights does not seem to neatly apply in pastoralist settings. Where climatological variability is great, resources are shared, and communities and institutions overlap, a singular focus on clearly defined property rights to clearly delineated territories for communities with clearly defined memberships has not been particularly helpful in the design of governance systems, according to Lance. In working toward more sophisticated approaches to social-ecological system (SES) analysis, researchers and policymakers therefore need to pay attention to the heterogeneity of people’s interests, including how these are manifested at different scales and levels. Lance suggested lines of research which might be addressed through simulation modelling and gaming, and through qualitative field-based research.

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