Transformative social change and natural resource governance in the Gulf of Guinea

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Together with the Centre of Land, water and Environmental Risk Management of the Technische Universität München (TUM) Farafina Institute (FI) is building a large network of knowledge partners on transformative social change and resource governance. We are connected to researchers, experts, civil society organizations, state institutions and private sector stakeholders across the Globe, spanning Africa, Europe, and South East Asia. The diversity of our network in geographical location and expertise gives our Transformative Social Change project wide visibility, depth, and true multi-perspective. See here for our network of knowledge partners.

Funding institutions and Partners
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Transformative social change and natural resource governance in the Gulf of Guinea

Together with the Centre of Land, water and Environmental Risk Management of the Technische Universität München (TUM) Farafina Institute (FI) is building a large network of knowledge partners on Transformative Social Change and Resource Governance. We are connected to researchers, experts, civil society organizations, state institutions and private sector stakeholders across the Globe, spanning Africa, Europe, and South East Asia. The diversity of our network in geographical location and expertise gives our Transformative Social Change project wide visibility, depth, and true multi-perspective.

The network of knowledge partners seeks to develop a theory of transformative social change in natural resource-rich countries that is grounded and tested in empirical research, and useful to academics and development practitioners to address risks, conflict, uncertainty, and challenges associated with natural resource governance in the Gulf of Guinea. The research therefore addresses the following questions:
(1) What do we know about transformative social change in resource-rich countries of the Gulf of Guinea and to what extent does the prevailing natural resource governance framework shapes it trajectories? (2) How and under which circumstances can transformative social change happen and which suitable mechanisms and processes are needed to advance transformations toward sustainability? (3) What are the drivers and who are the agents of transformative social change and how do they interact with each other? (4) What do we know about local narratives of crises/conflicts and to what extent do they frame responses to crises/conflicts and shape trajectories of transformative social change? To what extent can policy research be instrumental in advancing transformation to sustainability in resource-rich developing countries?

Addressing these questions will enable the network of knowledge partners to advance theories and practices on both transformative natural resource governance and transformative social change in the Gulf of Guinea. It is worth noting that this resource-rich region of Africa has been ranked both by the US congress since January 2002 as "an area of vital interest" for the USA and by the International Crisis Group as the "new danger zone". The paradox of these statements alone shows the complexity of the challenge and risk that the Gulf of Guinea has to face or are exposed to in the future.

Natural resource governance is critical for linking poverty reduction and sustainable natural resource use. This project brings together researchers and practitioners from various disciplines with extensive field experience to promote an integrative understanding of both transformative resource governance and transformative social change in the Gulf of Guinea. The network makes the case for reaching beyond a simple change in governance framework, system, and structure to avoid conflicts. Moreover, it focuses on the adaptive capacity of existing governance institutional structures, policies, and processes that utilize the transformative potential of conflicts and crisis to enhance local communities' own ability to adapt to change and cope with risks, uncertainty, and challenges associated with transformational processes.

The project synthesizes experiences of various stakeholders from a broad geographic perspective. It also provides theoretical and practical suggestions for taking transformative resource governance and transformative social change in Africa forward, and enabling interaction between researcher and practitioners.                                    

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