FoRel

Coastal communities in East Africa face multiple challenges that threaten their well-being, perpetuate inequalities and lead to unsustainable management of natural resources. This project will explore which relationships and daily practices, among the many that actors are embedded in, can be conceived of as tools to enhance joint agency for climate change adaptation. The project examines climate change as embedded in a multiplicity of existing challenges. Current environmental governance approaches are frequently based on the hypothesis that humans, perceived as rational and independent individual decision makers, are the managers of ecosystems exterior to them. The contrast between the current research frontier on social-ecological systems – which presents processes and relations as key to understand those systems – and the tools we have to manage them, might explain why such tools fail to tackle the sustainability challenge. This project seeks to better understand how obstacles to climate change adaptation are deeply ingrained in social-ecological networks. Indeed, the project will investigate the factors perpetuating inequalities and unsustainable exploitation of coastal resources and in which ways climate change is intertwined with those. Additionally, as an action-research project, it seeks to enhance a relational conception of social-ecological agency through community forum theater in selected communities in Kenya and Mozambique.