The Governance and Sustainability Lab welcomed Dr. Gerald Taylor Aiken during the weekly colloquium. Dr. Gerald Aiken is a PostDoc researcher at the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, Identités. Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE), University of Luxembourg. Before joining the University of Luxembourg Dr. Taylor Aiken did his PhD at Durham University on “The Production, Practice, and Potential of ‘Community’ in Edinburgh’s Transition Town Network" (2014). During the colloquium Dr. Taylor Aiken introduced his current research interests and his work on the role of community in the transition to low carbon futures. The introduction was followed by a lively debate on mechanisms of crowding out, the meaning and conceptualization of ‘community’ and the production of knowledge across the Global North and South. The colloquium was an opportunity to get to know on-going research in the University of Luxembourg and foster regional collaboration and exchange.
University of Luxembourg
Earth System Governance — a global research alliance, is the largest social science research network in the area of governance and global environmental change. The Earth System Governance (ESG) Project is a core project of Future Earth.
From 28 March to 4 April 2017, a group of eight young ESG fellows will visit the ESG research centers at Utrecht University, Potsdam University, Lund University, and at the German Development Institute in Bonn.
The topics that will be discussed during the research trip include societal transformations toward sustainability, the climate and development nexus, as well as the co-creation of knowlege and the role of researchers in times of "post-factual" politics.
The full program is available on the website of the ESG project.
Participants will also share their discussions and experiences via http://www.thebrokeronline.eu/ and through other online channels.
Maria Kondra arrived in Accra on 30th January 2017, as the first of a group of three WaterPower team members, with the goal data collection (mainly qualitative interviews). She stayed there for 30 days. The stakeholder interviews were meant to give her an idea on the future management of the wetlands in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) and a better understanding of how different stakeholders assign different values to the same landscape ecosystem.
With this idea in mind and a tight schedule she immediately dived into life in Accra. In the first two days, she tracked down and met with the chiefs in the region around the Densu delta wetland. Incidentally, she observed that during the dry season the fishermen work mostly during the night. In her second case study the Sakumo lagoon (in Tema) it was easier to meet the fishermen since many of them were preparing their nets on the beach, which is located directly at the lagoon. In this time Maria also visited the Forestry commission, the Water Resource Institute and the Centre for African Wetlands. She ended her trip with a visit to the local partners at IESS.
John Akubia arrived next, on the 2nd February, to carry out his fieldwork in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area for 6 weeks. His plan was to identify and map out various land-use categories driven by urbanization. His preliminary findings show that the spatial organization of Accra is generally characterized by a rapid sprawl of mainly residential development with very low densities. Locating space for urban housing development is the catalyst for rapid change in land-use and urban expansion.
Ravi Baghel arrived in Accra on the 15th February to conduct exploratory field work for the next 3 weeks. He first accompanied John on his field work to develop an understanding of his research. Later, along with John, Antje and the local research assistant, Kofi Owusu, he accompanied Maria to Winneba where she was conducting her interviews and field observation.
As part of Ravi's research he met several people involved in the production of packaged water including sachet water. During these interviews, the key role of packaged, especially sachet water in the provision of drinking water in Accra became apparent. Another issue that emerged out of this was the important role of reliable electricity supply in maintaining the flow of packaged water to a thirsty Accra. Previous disruptions in electricity supply had led to severe problems in the production of sachet water, and the cascading impact of energy supply on the availability of drinking water became apparent. To investigate this aspect of the water-energy nexus, Ravi met with officials of the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG). He visited the Akosombo and Kpong dams to understand the role of hydropower in energy supply in Accra. He also obtained data on the fluctuations in the level of Lake Volta from the VRA and that on electrity supply from the ECG. The impact of the levels of Lake Volta on energy supply and the cascading impact on the production of drinking water in Accra is expected to emerge from this study.