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Session 1: Between Conservation, Development & Territorial Rights

The local people right to the territory has been one of the major struggles when creating and implementing conservation and development policies throughout natural resource rich countries. Embedded in a conflict between different stakeholders and agendas, conducting research in and about such places require constant adaptation and persistence. This first session aims to open the discussions on challenges of conducting socio-environmental research across Latin America by having Thais Tartalha bringing some insights on the political struggles of traditional and indigenous peoples from Brazil, Chile and Costa Rica based on analysis from census on ethnic data. Daniele Lainez del Pozo discusses stakeholders’ perspectives on managing marine protected areas. Finally, Grace Iara Souza, unfolds multiples forms of resistance to top-down environmental conservation in the Brazilian Amazon.

Recognition and Political Struggle: Some case Studies of how Census Data is Connected to the Uprising and Development of Traditional and Indigenous Recognition Policies and Rights in Latin America

Thais Tartalha do Nascimento Lombardi (UNESP)

Since the end of the dictatorship throughout Latin American there have been a development of many forms of democratic participation and demands for rights and policies of recognition. Some of those demands are part of a growing participation of traditional and indigenous population at the political life through their own associations and organizations or in partnership with other NGOs, research groups and academics. Their main demand is the State recognition of their existence as part of the society and entitled to land and civil rights that respect their ethnic origin and practices. One of the outcomes of those demands that have been spread all over the region is the ethnic data collection within the demographic census. Therefore, we seek to understand how this ethnic data has been discussed and used focusing on three countries: Brazil, Chile and Costa Rica. The choice for those three countries relates to their ethnic diversity and the particularities regarding the relation between the State and their traditional and indigenous population. Results point to the census as an important tool to foster policies of recognition that allow those populations to secure right over the land, language and practices acknowledged by the overall society and protected by the state.



Thais Lombardi is a Post-doctoral and associate researcher at the Institute of Public Policies and International Relations (IPPRI) of the State University of São Paulo (UNESP). Holding a grant from the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) for her post-doctoral research she is now investigating ethnic recognition policies in Latin America and how the capture of ethnic information data and territorial recognition policies have been connected in the region. She has a PhD in Demography and a Master in Social Anthropology from University of Campinas and has been mostly working on population life strategies and dynamics and its relation to environmental change in the Brazilian Amazon. She has recently engaged on research that looks into recognition policies from the perspective of food sovereignty and its importance to understand ethnic struggle for land recognition, throughout Latin America with a deep focus on the Brazilian Amazon.

Doing a PhD in Isla Lobos de Tierra, Peru: Recommendations for Conservation Research in MPAs

Daniele Lainez del Pozo (UCL)

Through 2015/2016 I conducted fieldwork in Isla Lobos de Tierra, Peru, exploring the challenges to achieve marine protected areas (MPAs) effective management from the perspectives of stakeholders. I collected empirical data through ethnographical and participatory rural appraisal methods, and used complementary biological data to develop a case study. A major challenge was identifying (and getting to interview) real stakeholders and valid informants of a MPA far away from the coast. This presentation introduces my project briefly focusing in the trials and tribulations of fieldwork, the strategies to overcome them, my recommendations and lessons learned for best practice in future MPA research.



Daniela Lainez del Pozo is a PhD candidate from the Departments of Geography and Anthropology at University College London. She is doing ethnographical research in northern Peru, an area highly vulnerable to El Niño and climate change, to understand the challenges to achieve ‘effective and equitably managed marine protected areas’ through the perspectives of stakeholders. Before pursuing PhD studies, Daniela obtained a MSc in Conservation from UCL and a BSc in Biology from Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Peru. Her interdisciplinary interests guided her to working in ecological and social projects in diverse settings, from the Amazon to coastal communities in Peru, the Philippines, Indonesia and Canada. The outcomes of her research have served to inform management and policy decisions. She has been selected as one of the 80 women in STEMM to join 2018 Homeward Bound programme, a global enterprise that uses creative approaches to develop climate change leadership. Daniela believes that only by understanding the interaction of humans and the environment from different perspectives, we will be able to respond to the diverse challenges of our planet. She uses photography and filmmaking to communicate this belief. Her photography has been awarded recognition twice at the UCL Research Images as Art competition. Her research is supported by INNOVATE-Peru, EFN-WWF, UCL, RGS-IBG, the Scott Neotropical Fund and Kathmandu.

Resistance to top-down environmental conservation in the Brazilian Amazon and the challenges of deciding which part of the history to focus on

Grace Iara Souza (KCL/LSE/SOAS)

The idea of separating nature off from human beings is widely acceptable as a way of protecting biodiversity, enhancing carbon sinks to mitigate climate change and ensuring the human security of current and future generations. In the case of the Brazilian Amazon, the initial creation of national parks took place as part of the military government’s (1964-1986) state development projects. The same federal decree that created fifteen Amazonian industrial zones (Polamazônia) in 1974, also envisaged the creation of zones of natural resources and the designation of areas of forest and biological reserves, national parks and indigenous reserves. Following the international approach to govern nature and people, the Brazilian government also did not take the livelihoods of those that depend on nature into consideration, bringing serious consequences to the human security of the local rainforest dwellers. Nevertheless, although rainforest dwellers have suffered marginalisation through top-down environmental conservation, local resistance and organisation has resulted in the improvement of local peoples’ security compared with their position before the parks’ creation. Overall, strictly protected areas have, in the end, had a positive effect upon those rainforest dwellers who managed to resist displacement, but this was not caused by the creation of parks but mostly because of the above set of phenomena that emerged after their creation. In this presentation I will unfold how human and environmental relations have been negotiated in the Lower River Negro while reflecting on my own challenges and positionality of conducting research with multiple stakeholders and deciding the focus of the thesis post-fieldwork.



Grace Iara Souza has a PhD in Political Ecology from King’s College London (2017), an MA in Environment, Politics and Globalisation from King’s Department of Geography (2011) and a BA in International Relations from the Laureate International University, in São Paulo (2006). She is currently a Post-doctoral Researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she is researching participatory approaches to natural resource conservation in the Brazilian Amazon, and a Senior Teaching Fellow in Political Ecology of Development in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS, University of London. She is also a co-founder of CLOSER.


Coordinators: CLOSER

Place: King's College London, Old Comittee Room

Date: October 6, 2017

Time: 10:00 - 12:30

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Session 1: Going Multidisciplinary

One of the most used key words in academia all over the world nowadays is ‘interdisciplinarity’ or 'multidisciplinarity'. From call for papers and conferences, to Deans and rectors’ speeches and description of courses and modules, these words are almost omnipresent. However, problems generally appear when we need to translate these concepts into practice. Dr Vinínius Mariano de Carvalho will open the training by presenting guidelines to successfully explore different areas of expertise within research.

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Session 2: Colonising Nature: People and Protected Areas

Taking the Amazon rainforest as a point of reference, Dr Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho will expose some of the historical views on colonisation and representation of nature. Subsequently, Grace Iara Souza will present a case study on the Amazonian colonisation through the setting of areas aside for environmental protection.

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Session 3: Regulation and the Environment

Questions concerning public policy and regulation in the environment-development debate will be addressed. The focus will be on the role of voluntary multi-stakeholder sustainability initiatives in the context of states with limited administrative capacity. Flavia Donadelli and Larissa Boratti will present a case study on private forest regulation in Latin America in order to stimulate an open debate about the role of alternative environmental governance mechanisms in developing countries.

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Session 4: Governance, institutions and actors: the challenges of researching socio-environmental complexity

Dr Daanish Mustafa will give an overview on the theoretical and epistemological questions that arise in socio-environmental research, namely in what regards interplay of governance, institutions and actors. Tiago Freitas will present a case study from the Brazilian Amazon and Kay Phanthuwongpakdee a case study from Thailand.

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Session 5: Natural resource management and gender: can pro-poor strategies work in a neo-liberal world?

Natural resources such as land, water and forests are of key importance to the livelihoods of very many people in the countries of the Global South. In many countries most people still live in rural areas and derive significant parts of their livelihoods from agriculture, livestock and fisheries as well as from timber and non-timber forest products. The management of these resources is thus of great significance both for reducing poverty and trying to attain improved sustainability in the use of the natural environment. During this session, Dr Deborah Potts will discuss some of these themes with particular reference to southern African societies, while Giovanna Grandoni will introduce the gendered implications of natural resource management in small rural communities in the Northeast of Brazil.

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Session 6: The Space and Place of Indigenous and Riverine Peoples in The National State

This session will provide an analysis of cultural, institutional and livelihood dimensions of Indigenous groups and traditional communities and how it can interact with the conservation agenda. Moreover it will present the recent evolution of international and national policies and rights of indigenous and riverine peoples, and explore its consequences on the analytical framework on human-environment interactions.

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Session 2: Environment, Public Policy and Regulation

Several changes in environmental policies and regulations have happened in Brazil in the past decade. Although commentators and protesters often use the term ‘environmental roll-back’ to describe these changes little research has been published on the actual nature and processes leading to these reforms. This session aims to fill in this gap and shed light on the actual characteristics and drivers of this recent trend.

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Session 3: Conducting Research with Indigenous Peoples in the Amazon

This session will focus on research with indigenous peoples from an anthropological, environmental and economic perspective, and present the challenges of conducting fieldwork in indigenous territories in the Amazon.

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Socio-Ecological Systems: environment, development and sustainability

The Socio-Ecological Systems (SES) Reading Group in the Department of Anthropology, UCL invite PhD students to come to our one-day student conference. This one-day postgraduate research conference seeks to bring research across both social/political and ecological/biophysical disciplines to share experiences together. The conference will explore themes in SES and sustainability, including multiple interactions and relations between people and ecosystems; political ecology of human-animal relations, customary modes of natural resource management and their conflict or complementarity with western ideas of management; community-based conservation and development approaches and factors influencing their outcomes; impacts of changes in land use, tenure, access and management on livelihoods; impacts of climate change on human well-being, ecosystems and wildlife; and integrative methodologies in understanding SES.

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Reimagining Prosperity: Futures from the Global South

Given the planetary challenges we face, we urgently need to formulate more explicit projects of transformation and transition. The announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 emphasises that making substantial changes using tried and tested models is unlikely to work. This paper discusses how we might move beyond the SDGs to formulate diverse pathways to future prosperity, and explains why many of the philosophical and practical ideas arising in the Global South offer innovative ways forward.

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