Land-based climate change mitigation, land grabbing and conflict

This is the first Working Paper of the MOSAIC project, a 4-year international research project aimed at studying the interesection between land-based climate change mitigation, land grabbing and conflict, in Asian countries in political transition, i.e. Cambodia and Myanmar. The project involves grassroots civil society organizations, NGOs and academic partners from these two countries, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Canada.

The Working Paper, led by Carol Hunsberger at the University of Western Ontario, introduces the research action framework that guides project development. Recent research highlights the potential for climate change mitigation projects and large scale land deals to produce conflicts over land and resources. However, this literature generally views climate change policies and land grabbing as separate processes, and focuses on discrete areas where displacement or contested claims occur. We argue that additional research strategies are needed to understand the social and ecological spill-over effects that take place within larger areas where land-based climate change projects (e.g. biofuel production, forest conservation, or hydroelectric projects) and large land-based investments (e.g. plantations or mines) are found.

We propose adopting a landscape perspective to study intersections and complex interactions within and across social, ecological and institutional domains. By co-producing knowledge with local actors, building capacity with civil society groups, and informing advocacy that targets policy processes at multiple scales, we suggest that such research could contribute to preventing, resolving or transforming conflicts – even in places where difficult political transitions are underway.

Download also the country-focused accompanying articles by Courtney Work and Kevin Woods, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague.


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