Resource Politics

Resource politics – the politics of access, use and control of resources as well as contested knowledge claims around these – has leapt up the global development agenda in recent years. Climate change, ‘planetary boundaries’, humanity’s survival and role in the Anthropocene and the green economy have all animated discussions around sustainability, inequality and security.

Resource Politics - CHAD Touloum - Eastern Chad: Credit: Jenny Matthews/Panos

We believe accelerating sustainability needs to go beyond current ‘think global, act global’ thinking, which emphasises the need for large-scale responses to resource challenges and the uncertainties brought by global environmental change. These macro solutions risk ignoring gender dimensions, livelihoods and politics concerning resource use, consumption and production. There is a need to understand these growing uncertain dynamics in terms of what they mean for local people’s resilience and ability to cope and to tease out sustainable pathways to development and growth that do not compromise poor people’s rights and interests.

Another set of challenges concern how local resource users are being subjected to new sets of exclusions and dispossessions, such as those relating to the recent proliferation of land, water and green grabs which have increased inequalities and local insecurities.

Making sense of the complex challenges around resource politics means engaging critically with questions of environmental and social justice and what these mean in diverse contexts. It also requires bringing together learnings, perspectives and approaches from different academic disciplines and societal sectors that otherwise rarely connect. Only then can we unmask the many pathways that exist to strengthen sustainability, equality and security.

Key contact

Photo of Lyla Mehta

T: +44 (0)1273 915677

E: l.mehta@ids.ac.uk

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Team Members

Photo of IDS researcher Amber Huff

T: +44 (0)1273 915735

E: a.huff@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Dominic Glover

E: d.glover@ids.ac.uk

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Georgina Powell-Stevens, Programme Coordinator, Directorate and Development Office

T: +44 (0)1273 915737

E: g.powell-stevens@ids.ac.uk

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IDS staff or research student

E: h.elshafie@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Ian Scoones, Research Fellow in the Knowledge Technology and Society research team

T: +44 (0)1273 915679

E: i.scoones@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Jeremy Allouche, IDS research fellow

T: +44 (0)1273 915834

E: j.allouche@ids.ac.uk

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Jeremey Lind is a Research Fellow with Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Team

T: +44 (0)1273 915747

E: j.lind@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Jim Sumberg, Research Fellow with the Knowledge Technology and Society Team

T: +44 (0)1273 915833

E: j.sumberg@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of John Thompson, a Research Fellow with the Knowledge Technology and Society Team

T: +44 (0)1273 915682

E: j.thompson@ids.ac.uk

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IDS staff or research student

T: +44 (0)1273 915617

E: k.miller@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Lars Otto Naess

T: +44 (0)1273 915849

E: l.naess@ids.ac.uk

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Lidia Cabral photo

E: l.cabral@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Lyla Mehta

T: +44 (0)1273 915677

E: l.mehta@ids.ac.uk

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IDS staff or research student

E: m.gingembre@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Matteo Caravani, IDS PhD student

E: m.caravani@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Nathan Oxley, Communications Assistant, STEPS Centre

T: +44 (0)1273 915826

E: n.oxley@ids.ac.uk

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photo of Shilpi Srivastava

T: +44 1273 915859

E: s.srivastava@ids.ac.uk

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Photo of Vivienne Benson, Administrator, Globalisation Team

T: +44 (0)1273 915653

E: v.benson@ids.ac.uk

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Water Justice Programme

The Water Justice Programme critically examines the politics and pathways of water and sanitation policy and practice through interdisciplinary research on access, rights and control over these key resources More details

Land and Agricultural Commercialisation in Africa (LACA)

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Flows and Practices: The Politics of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Africa

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Tomorrow Today: Development Frontiers in an Insecure World: International Security and the Implications for Development

Development has long been linked with security. However, in recent years development and security have been linked in new ways. These new ties reflect changing conceptualisations of threats originating from aid-recipient contexts in an interdependent world and the expectation that development should help to prevent the spread of these risks. More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre

The STEPS Centre is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach to understanding, action and communication on sustainability and development. More details

Going to Scale? The Potential of Community-Led Total Sanitation

Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is a participatory approach that started in Bangladesh and has been spread to varying degrees in India, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, Nepal. To a limited degree, it has also been trialled in some African countries. More details

Environment and PRSPs

This research project was initiated and conceptualised in the framework of the Poverty Environment Partnership (PEP), an informal network of around 30-donor and non-governmental organisations that works on strengthening the nexus between poverty reduction and environmental protection in development cooperation. More details

Agricultural Biotechnology & Policy Processes in Developing Countries

Modern agricultural biotechnology has profound implications for global and local agricultural and food systems, and for the livelihoods of farmers in the developed and developing worlds. The actual consequences will depend on the pathways along which the technology is developed and applied in practice. More details

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