Cathy Sutherland, Dianne Scott and Sibongile Buthelezi and more recently, Dudu Khumalo are part of a team that includes researchers from NIBR in Olso, Norway, Umphilo waManzi and Department of Environmental and Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town participating in this project.
It is a three-year project funded by the NRF and Norwegian Research Council under the SANCOOP Programme, that will focus on the development of integrated climate and water governance regimes in Durban and Cape Town. The research runs from July 2104 to June 2017. This research builds on research partnerships and research interests that were established through a EU funded programme titled ‘Chance2Sustain’.
The main objective of the research is the development and testing of an innovative and radical model for (scientific) knowledge production at local (or municipal) levels. The theoretical problem posed in this project, is that in order to create a ‘democratic knowledge-society’ an alternative model of knowledge production needs to be developed that is appropriate for coastal zone governance in a developing society. The purpose of this model is to inform evidence-based decision-making and management of South Africa’s coastal resources, to build competence and to contribute to the theoretical debate around the development of a democratic knowledge-society. The main research question is the following: How applicable is the 'knowledge negotiation' model for producing appropriate knowledge for coastal governance in the context of a neo-liberal, developing society in the process of transformation?
The project team is using the Durban Golden Mile as a case study since this area represents a typical relationship at the city-port-environment interface. In Durban, climate change challenges have received much attention and are being actively addressed by the local municipality.
Traditionally, such information is generated by an appointed consultant, focusing on biophysical and management aspects but to date have neglected the inclusion local knowledge, e.g. the underpinning value systems of various actors competing within a specific coastal space. Such information (typically referred to as situation assessment reports or background information documents) is a critical starting point in the development of integrated coastal management programmes. The project aims to set up a 'competency group' consisting of a group of knowledge holders who will share and negotiate an understanding of the conflicts and issues in the Golden Mile coast and sea zone.
Partners include CSIR (Natural Resources and the Environment - Louis Celliers, Susan Taljaard and Michelle Ardouin) and University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) Development Studies who are being funded by the Department of Science and Technology within the context of the Global Change Grand Challenge and the Global Change (GCGC), Society and Sustainability Research Programme.
One of initial research activities of this project was an inception meeting of the research team that was held over two days, directly followed by a key stakeholder meeting. One of the first and obvious observations made during these meetings were the framing of the coastal issues that is at the heart of the project. The manner in which these two groups, i.e. the project team (scientists) and key stakeholders (government official/managers) observed their world and represented their perspective on a two dimensional surface, was conspicuously different. This provides an inkling of the diversity of the expression of knowledge, and the need to explore ways in which to learn from each other in order to understand the problem and find mutually agreeable solutions for coastal issues.
The project will run over the next three years and will form the basis for active collaboration between the project team and eThekwini Municipality, the Provincial and National Government.
Students from the Masters programme at Development Studies include:
Andisiwe Jukuda and Tazkiyyah Amra