Power and Otherness around International Wetlands in Africa
The project « Power and Otherness around International Wetlands in Africa: Building, Legitimizing and Confronting Knowledge on Nature » (SavNat-Africa) lasted from 2017 to 2019.
The programs for biodiversity protection assign ecological functions to territories and populations that are embedded in a set of scales between international arrangements and regional implementation (Fortier 2009). Although these dynamics of “greening” (Mélard 2008) are triggered at a supra-local level, they concern local spaces referring to particular species or to the specificities of a habitat. The stakes of these programs may come up against other ways of thinking about nature (Descola 2015) that go beyond scientific and legal frameworks at different scales. Therefore, taking into account “secular” knowledge of nature (Wynne 1999) becomes an essential condition for the dialogue around the protection of species and environments. Starting from the process of declaring a wetland of international importance for the protection of migratory birds in Sudan, this project asks two general questions: 1) What is the relationship between the knowledge of nature, produced by institutional and ordinary actors, and the power relations that arose between these actors? (2) To what extent does this knowledge contribute to the construction of the figures of otherness?
In 1999 the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) started. Under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), seven African countries, including Sudan, and seven Eurasian countries signed it. In 2005, Sudan ratified the UNESCO-endorsed Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance for Waterbirds (Matthews 2013). With the development of these agreements in African territories, European institutions are developing international conservation policies and are circulating and evaluating different management models. They thus participate in global and inter-scalar issues related to the environment and biodiversity.
Partners : Laboratoire SAGE UMR 7363, Institut d’Ethnologie- Faculté de Sciences Sociales, Université de Strasbourg, ONCFS, CEDEJ (centre d’études et de documentation économiques, juridiques et sociales) Antenne Khartoum. MAEDI/USR 3123 CNRS