NEXUS: Governing the nexus in Southern Africa

Lead Research Organisation: Institute of Development Studies
Department Name: Research Department

Abstract

Building on extensive collaboration between IDS/STEPS, PLAAS and ACTS over 20 years, this partnership grant will help develop new research and policy influencing activities around the governance of the land-water-environment nexus in southern Africa.

As questions of land and water access rise up the policy agenda in southern Africa, a critical social science perspective is crucial to ask questions about how the nexus is governed. A focus on the politics of access will illuminate how different state, market and civil society actions can contribute to more effective access for the widest number of people.

This is a crucial question for development, making this proposal firmly 'ODA compliant'. Resource scarcities can act to exclude certain groups - including the poor, women and others - from vital resources for livelihoods. Conflicts over resources may emerge when more powerful groups grab land and water in the pursuit of the commercialisation of agriculture, energy or environmental services. Thus understanding the relationships between changing capitalist relations in the context of development and resources is essential if pro-poor, development oriented orientations for environmental sustainability are to emerge in policy.

In this project, we will examine the politics of access around the large-scale commercialisation of agriculture, water projects, including hydropower dams, and biodiversity conservation and forest carbon projects, where market offset mechanisms are applied. In each case our studies will examine the nexus between sectors, examining how relations between land, water and environment are negotiated in different governance frameworks.

The partnership will be facilitated through a combination of staff and student exchanges, joint scoping activities and project proposal development, a small grants programme for students, and an international conference that will bring together academics, policymakers and activists working on 'nexus' themes.

Planned Impact

This work will build on a long track record of engaged research in southern Africa by all applicants. A joint IDS-PLAAS project has been chosen as a winner of the ESRC's 2015 'Outstanding International Impact' award. All partner institutions have a strong communications and impact engagement capacity, and excellent web profiles and social media connections. The communications professionals IDS, PLAAS and ACTS already work together, and this partnership grant will foster this international impact and engagement capacity, linking the UK with Africa.

In developing the partnership we will carry out a Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis (PIPA), an approach used at the STEPS Centre (Ely and Oxley 2014), as well as in PLAAS and ACTS. This will help us identify the key target groups for our engagement around different themes. We will then tailor communications activities to these groups, and involve them in the discussions about future research proposals (during scoping studies) and in the Nexus conference.

Our aim is to generate useful evidence that is policy relevant, and that will make a difference in addressing complex nexus governance challenges. While this project is not carrying out research, its aims include generating new questions, and identifying key challenges. Involving users in this process is essential. All project partners have excellent contacts, across policy domains (land, water, environment) and in international organisations, among national policy makers, in business, and within civil society. For example, we will work closely with the Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs as well as the Department of Environmental Affairs in South Africa, as well as regional bodies, such as SADC and the African Union, and link with international organisations such as the UN bodies, FAO and UNEP.

As part of the PIPA exercise, we will map these actors around three overlapping domains (land, water and environment). We will focus on South Africa, but aim to link to the wider region, where important lessons, and cross-border policy questions arise. Through the regional mapping process, we will identify key partners for joint, co-produced work as part of our network. Our key outputs - including the scoping studies, new project proposals, small grant reports and the final conference - will emerge from this conversation with diverse users - not all of whom will agree with our approach and analysis, but we hope will engage in a spirit of open, and challenging, debate. This engagement will start at the beginning of our work, at the proposed partner inception and planning workshop.
 
Description Partnership with the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) 
Organisation African Centre for Technology Studies
PI Contribution In this project, STEPS leads a partnership for understanding politics, institutional dynamics and challenges at the intersection of land, water and environmental governance in southern African contexts. STEPS provides overall project coordination, student mentoring and assistance organizing events.
Collaborator Contribution ACTS provides in-country project coordination, student mentoring and support organizing events.
Impact A number of blog outputs and seminars are associated with this partnership. These are reported in relevant sections of this form.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Beyond Policy Statements: How Politics and Ecology Combine in Land, Water and Forests 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Blog by project partner Joanes Atlela on key Governing the Nexus project themes
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://steps-centre.org/blog/beyond-policy-statements-politics-ecology-combine-land-water-forests/
 
Description Divergent Dairy: Comparing Pathways in India and South Africa 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This blog detailed results of fieldwork undertaken by the author and supported by the Governing the Nexus project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://steps-centre.org/general/divergent-dairy-comparing-pathways-in-india-and-south-africa/
 
Description From remunicipalization to reprivatisation of water? The case of Mozambique 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Chris Büscher highlights key finings from his fieldwork on the Governing the Nexus project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://steps-centre.org/blog/from-remunicipalisation-to-reprivatisation-of-water-the-case-of-mozamb...
 
Description GOVERNING THE LAND-WATER-ENVIRONMENT NEXUS: GRANT AWARDEES 2017-2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Annoucing researchers that have received grants for 2017-2018 for research under the project Governing the Land-Water-Environment Nexus in Southern Africa.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description How water became a casualty of Mozambique's debt crisis 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A blog by Chris Büscher highlighting key themes related to water governance in Mozambique for the Governing the Nexus project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://steps-centre.org/general/water-mozambique-debt-crisis/
 
Description IN SOUTH AFRICA'S LAND REFORM, CLASS MATTERS 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Blog post by Brittany Bunce
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Livelihoods and the political economy of dairy in India and South Africa 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This blog post by Brittany Bunce focuses on the dairy sector in India and South Africa, as part of research from the Governing the Nexus in Southern Africa project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://steps-centre.org/general/livelihoods-political-economy-of-dairy-india-south-africa/
 
Description Panel discussion: Can mining contribute to sustainable development in Madagascar? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Convened on 13 March, 2019 by the Ango-Malagasy Society in London, UK, this panel discussion explored case studies of mining in Madagascar, including Rio Tinto and Toliara Sands, which are part of the 'Seeing Conflicts' project and both of which have been part of 'Governing the Nexus' research. The panel discussed pressing social and environmental challenges that extractives projects present to the island and its citizens, including enquiry around the regulatory, legal and economic frameworks and how these support or undermine the value of the extractive industries' contribution to the public purse and the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Project members Gregg Smith (research officer, Governing the Nexus in Southern Africa fellow) and Yvonne Orengo ('Seeing Conflicts' project advisory group) participated in the panel.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.anglo-malagasysociety.co.uk/programme.html
 
Description Presentation: ACTS - 'Black sands, green plans and the mining-conservation-conflict nexus in southern Madagascar' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Research presentation to demonstrate the nexus approach based on 2 case studies, highlighting policy implications and resource relationships in the context of extractive investment in Africa.

No known impacts yet
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation: PLAAS - 'Black sands, green plans and the mining-conservation-conflict nexus in southern Madagascar' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Research presentation to demonstrate the nexus approach based on 2 case studies, highlighting policy implications and resource relationships in the context of extractive investment in Africa.

No known impacts yet
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description State-Corporate Alliances and Spaces for Resistance on the Extractive Frontier in Southeastern Madagascar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation at the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative conference, Authoritarian Populism and the Rural World, convened at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, Netherlands, March 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.iss.nl/en/authoritarian-populism-and-rural-world