The Great Green Wall and Sahelian Environmental Imaginaries - Green Fix and the persistence of a Policy Idea

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


The necessity to address the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation is usually expressed in terms of visions of desirable futures, which are implemented through large-scale green transformation programmes. This research project aims to explore high-end conceptualisations of African green futures by studying how ideas of greening the Sahel region have developed, persisted, and been contested. It understands future visions of green transformation as 'socio-technical imaginaries', i.e., as the application of modern technologies for a 'technical green fix'. The findings will be used to explore the ways in which contested and changing visions of green transformations can provide a contribution to long standing debates on the persistence of ideas, with the tools and methods to develop an interdisciplinary approach to studying environmental socio-technical imaginaries. This study will ultimately help challenge entrenched imaginaries, and their associated governance and political economic relations. This will be achieved through a participatory exhibition, focus groups, interviews and archival research and the research findings will be shared through a final conference, academic publications, and the production of a comic book. The study will be conducted in Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Ethiopia by an interdisciplinary team involving political historians, human geographers, and social and cultural anthropologists.


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