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.

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 contacts



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Lyla Mehta

Professorial Fellow

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Amber Huff

Research Fellow

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Dominic Glover

Research Fellow

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Georgina Powell-Stevens

Hub Administration Manager

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Hadeer El Shafie

DPhil Student

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Ian Scoones

Professorial Fellow

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Jeremy Allouche

Research Fellow

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Jeremy Lind

Research Fellow

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James Sumberg

Research Fellow

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John Thompson

Research Fellow

Katy Hutchison

Assistant Project Accountant

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Lars Otto Naess

Research Fellow

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Marina Apgar

Research Fellow

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Mathilde Gingembre

DPhil Student

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Matteo Caravani

PhD Student

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Nathan Oxley

Impact Communications and Engagement Officer

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Ramy Hanna

Research Officer

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Roz Price

Research Officer

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Ruyu Lin

PhD Student

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Shilpi Srivastava

Research Fellow

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Vivienne Benson

Communications Officer

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Dina Zayed

PhD Researcher



The Rapid Transition Alliance

The climate is changing faster than we are. Rapid, transformative changes are called for to prevent climate breakdown and create the conditions for people to thrive together. Keeping to the globally-recognised 1.5 degree upper limit on global warming means significant changes in economies, lives...

Recent work


IDS to take up role in new Global Challenges Research Fund hubs

IDS researchers and knowledge professionals will be working with partners in four of the 12 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Research Hubs announced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and UKRI.  Over the next five years they will contribute to efforts to...

22 January 2019