The research responds to the unprecedented emergence of global environmental norms intended to reconcile natural resource management with poverty alleviation. Prominent examples of such norms are the social safeguards included in global conventions and the human rights-based rulings of international courts.
There is an urgent need to find means by which societies can engage in difficult debates about how to ensure food security in a world threatened by dangerous levels of climate change, at the same time as making drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. There will be conflicts, trade-offs but also potential co-benefits between these twin objectives depending very much on the pathways chosen.
Rapid changes in the natural, social, and economic environment are occurring in Ethiopia's Lower Omo Valley, as part of a state-led development vision of repositioning the region as a major sugar exporter. At the same time, these changes raise risks of environmental degradation, and the emergence of new kinds of inequality and conflict.