Panel 13










FAU - The Association of Development Researchers in Denmark

Panel 13 - Open


Mikko Ylikangas, PhD ( Academy of Finland

Title & Content:

Social and environmental challenges in the South

The Panel is composed of three research projects from the Development Academy Programme of the Academy of Finland (2018–2022). There will be 5-6 papers that examine the problems of Social and environmental challenges in the South from different perspectives:


  • Professor Sirpa Tenhunen(University of Helsinki) & a co-researcher:Sustainable Livelihoods and Politics at the Margins: Environmental Displacement in South Asia. This research projects concerns the problem of environmental displacement and its consequences in the developing world. The focus of the project will be on the struggles for livelihood by the displaced people in Bangladesh and India, countries which have been ranked as being among the most vulnerable to climate change over the next 30 years. Our research examines displacement in India and Bangladesh due to the rising seawater, cyclones, and floods. The broad aim of the project is to understand the process of environmental displacement and thereby generate novel ideas and insights to improve theory, policy and practice by means of which the environmental migrants’ right to sustainable livelihoods could be ensured. We seek an understanding of how people perceive and negotiate their weather and climate related displacement and struggle for their right to earn a sustainable living as well as how such displacements are integrated into their pre-existing daily practices. (2 papers
  • Professor Anja Nygren (University of Helsinki) with co-researcher from Mexico (TBA):Water and vulnerability in fragile societies. Environmental disasters have become more devastating in the midst of climate change. While these adversities are understood as natural disasters, we argue that radically new approaches are needed to explore water-related disasters, and people’s vulnerability to them, as environmental-social processes. This project explores links between biophysical and sociopolitical processes connected with water vulnerability. The study areas contain 1) Mekong River basin in Cambodia; 2) Kalimantan in Indonesia; and 3) Grijalva River basin in Mexico. The project examines how differentiated vulnerabilities are embedded in multi-scale resource politics and power. Simultaneously, hydrological models and hydroclimatic analyses of the cascading effects of climate change, resource extraction and water management will explore the sensitivity of hydrological regimes to anthropogenic change. Ethnographic research enables an understanding of how people experience changes in environmental-social conditions. (2 papers
  • Professor Irmeli Mustalahti (University of Eastern Finland) with co-researchers from Denmark and Tanzania (TBA):Translocal forest owners and environmental collaboration: An action learning process of forest governance transformation in Tanzania.The project aims to develop appropriate and new methodological and theoretical approaches for environmental collaboration and conflict resolution to be used in Tanzania and elsewhere. The action research approach will be used to find out if urban forest owners influence forest governance, and induce local conflicts over resource utilization. The project provides skills on environmental collaboration and conflict resolution to a group of forest owners and local community members in Iringa region, Southern Highlands, Tanzania, and traces how these skills are transformed and used in the future actions of these forest owners and the surrounding communities. The project will increase the knowhow of the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences on responsive environmental collaboration and conflict resolution. (2 papers). 

Discussant: Dr. Edith Kauffer, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIECAS), Mexico






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