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South Africa Land Observatory

A platform for supporting evidence-based and participatory decision making on land in South Africa

South Africa agrarian sector is affected by a context of far-reaching and fundamental change, related to the country’s land and agrarian transformations, in a context of overall deregulation of its economy. Moreover, the country is characterised by the lack of publicly available precise data and analyses and the weak involvement by stakeholders in decision-making regarding land and agrarian transformation. On top of that, the increased interconnectivity of the land and agrarian questions in South Africa, Africa and the world, leads to the necessity of apprehending them within today’s global context of agrarian, environmental, and food security questions. These observations call for the establishment and development of a well-coordinated information, data, analysis and evidence-based decision-making support entity, grouping the major academic and analytical players on one hand, and a broader stakeholder panel on the other hand, aiming at producing and making available data, information and analyses, and supporting evidence-based and inclusive decision-making processes with regards land and land-based activities in South Africa.

The SA Observatory’s goal is to promote evidence-based and inclusive decision-making over land resources in South Africa and beyond by generating, analysing and making available land-based information and by widening participation to all stakeholders.

Partners: University of Pretoria – Post-Graduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Agricultural Economics; GovInn; in collaboration with the International Land Coalition; in the broader framework of the Land Matrix.

Funding: Flemish Cooperation FICASA Land Observatory Partners

Thinah Moyo

Le Dessous des cartes

Land Matrix on ARTE (28.02.15)

On 28 February 2015 at 6.30pm (Pretoria time) the Franco-German TV station ARTE will broadcast the documentary,”Terres arables : un marché pas comme les autres” (Arable lands: a market like no other) featuring the data and the work of Land Matrix.

The documentary, avaiable in French and German, is the second part of an investigation on arable lands.
The first episode can be found here: “Competition pour les terres arables” (Competition for arable lands)

AFGROLAND team

AFGROLAND

Global Agro-Food-Energy System Changes, Land Use Patterns, Production Models, Natural Resource Management, Food Security through Production and Employment, National/Global Governance (AFGROLAND)

Changes to the global agro-food-energy system (e.g. changing consumption patterns in the North, Europe’s Climate and biofuel policies, etc.) over the past few years have led to a renewed interest in agriculture and a rush to acquire land. The impact of this rush is not always evident as its assessments focus on the short-term and generally remain at a case study level, without considering the broader agrarian and socio-economic transformations it entails. Against this backdrop, the objective of the project is to analyse how global agro-food-energy system changes impact on the countries in the global South, namely in Africa, particularly with regard to sustainable land management, agricultural production and food security, socio-economic outcomes (such as employment and livelihoods), pressure on land and natural resources and, subsequently, the governance of the latter.
Based on extensive empirical research and spatial analysis, and by resituating this research within a multi-dimensional and multi-scale approach, the project will endeavor to

  •  Identify the drivers of change within the global agro-food-energy systems,
  • Better qualify the rush for land, by assessing and defining the different production
  • Quantify and analyze these changes in terms of land and natural resource use
  • Evaluate how such changes impact on food security (with a focus on the land they impact on, and in return are shaped by governance changes at the the regional, national and local levels (WP1)); and land-based investment models being developed (WP2), and governance (land, water and soil) and assess the effects on sustainable soil ecosystem service provision (WP3); enterprises and smallholders) and/or on food access (employment creation, sustainable livelihoods) at the local/national level (WP4)

Partners: The project gathers experts from different disciplines (economists, political scientists, geographers, political analysts, agronomists, environmentalists) from the University of Pretoria (GovInn, School for Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Agricultural Economics), the Center for Development and Environment (University of Bern) and CIRAD – the French center for Agricultural Research for Development (UMR ART-dev, Tetis and Moisa).

Funding: Belmont Forum

For more information, read this DEF Flyer AfgroLand.  

AFGROLAND team

Front row (Left to right): Bettina Wolfgramm (CDE, University of Bern), Eve Fouilleux (CIRAD), Camilla
Adelle (UP/GovInn), Sandra Eckert (CDE, University of Bern), Sara Mercandalli (CIRAD).
Back row (left to right): Sheryl Hendriks (UP/IFNuW), John Annandale Markus Giger (CDE, University
of Bern), Ward Anseeuw (CIRAD/GovInn), Magalie Bourblanc (CIRAD), Perrine Burnod (CIRAD),
Michael van der Laan (UP/Plant Sciences).
Missing form photo: Lorenzo Fioramonti (UP/GovInn) and Johann Kirsten (UP/Agricultural
Economics, Extension and Rural Development) and local African partners.

Monitoring and evaluation of a participative planning process for the integrated management of natural resources in the uThukela District Municipality (South Africa)

Monitoring and evaluation of a participative planning process for the integrated management of natural resources in the uThukela District Municipality (South Africa)
By Mélanie POMMERIEUX, Magalie BOURBLANC, Raphaële DUCROT

Working paper No. 2014/1 May 2014

Rethinking development series: Working Paper 1 Abstract
This paper intends to monitor the changes in perceptions and behaviour of stakeholders induced by the Afromaison participatory process, which is aimed particularly at helping to integrate natural resource management in the uThukela District Municipality, South Africa.
To do so, an evaluation protocol has been designed, combining social sciences as well as evaluation techniques. This protocol has been applied to both the initial assessment and the monitoring of the first workshop involving various local stakeholders held under the Afromaison project. The initial assessment showed that it was possible to regroup stakeholders’ perceptions into categories according to the functions those actors occupy. Most of those interviewees lacked a holistic understanding of the state of natural resources in the area, and had issues collaborating well with other stakeholders. By monitoring the first workshop, we found that almost half of the participants did not contribute their opinion because they expected getting information rather than actively participating in order to reach a common vision. This monitoring revealed however changes in the normative and cognitive functions of participants. Two interviews conducted few weeks after this workshop tend to indicate that those changes might be long-term. A final evaluation conducted at the end of Afromaison should help us verifying this finding.

Read and download the working paper here: RETHINKING DEVELOPMENT WP 2014-1 – Bourblanc et al.

The Rethinking Development working paper series has been designed to push conventional boundaries in development research and public discourse. This series engages academics, policy makers and development practitioners to critically reflect on old and new development alternatives and how they impact the society we all live in.

“Framing Environmental Problems” by Magalie Bourblanc

“Framing Environmental Problems: Problem Entrepreneurs and the Issue of Water Pollution from Agriculture in Brittany, 1970–2005” by GovInn researcher Magalie Bourblanc was included in the special selection that the Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning on the occasion of the The 9th International Conference on Interpretive Policy Analysis.
The papers included in the selection are described as “excellent examples of the deployment of interpretive and critical approaches in the field of environmental policy and planning”.

Abstract: The claim that public problems are constructs is now widely recognized as justified and was first established in social problem theory. The high instability of problem definition activities in the case of water pollution coming from agriculture in Brittany demonstrates this particularly well. The objective of this article is to describe ways by which an environmental movement organization (EMO) conceives its activities of public problem construction. Inspired by social movement theory, but aiming at overcoming its weaknesses, the paper seeks to highlight the influence of EMO endogenous meaning production in problem construction processes, a dimension often overlooked even by framing theory. In a bid to support that claim, the paper shows the influence of the affective dimension over the strategic one within the problematization process. Forging a conceptual distinction characterized by a perceived problem and strategic definitions, the paper underlines the fundamental interrelated nature of these two components and consequently emphasizes the reciprocal dependence of the perceived problem over the strategic (either material or cognitive) definitions. Finally, the paper evokes the benefit and impact of this conceptual distinction on the policy-making process. Read the full paper here