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Researchers seek local solutions to global environmental challenges in Latin America:

Alice Newton
Foto: Finn Bjørklid, NILU

– The COMETproject will explore how we can work together to “act local but think global”, says Alice Newton, a global change researcher from Norway.

The research partnership includes NILU researchers from CEE-Centre of Ecology and Economics.

Good environmental practices developed by local communities in Latin America will be studied by civil and scientific organizations in a research project coordinated by the University of Córdoba in Spain. Prof. Maria del Mar Delgado explains that “NGOs and researchers will combine scientific knowledge and local knowledge to work together on 3 different case studies: water management and biodiversity in Colombia, forest management in Mexico and coastal and marine management in Argentina”.

– We will be working with Elinor Ostrom’s theories on socio-ecological systems, Newton explains. Ostrom won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics and is considered one of the leading scholars in the study of common pool resources (CPR) such as forest, fisheries and water. Her work emphasizes how humans interact with ecosystems to maintain long-term sustainable resource yields. Ostrom’s work has considered how societies have developed diverse institutional arrangements for managing natural resources and avoiding ecosystem collapse in many cases, even though some arrangements have failed to prevent resource exhaustion. Ostrom  emphasizes the multifaceted nature of human–ecosystem interaction and argues against any singular “panacea” for individual social-ecological system problems.

Effects of global problems are often felt locally, especially by communities that traditionally base their livelihood on natural resources and are now facing declining stocks, changes in property rights or increasing competition for the use of resources.

The COMET LA research project (Community-Based Management of Environmental Challenges in Latin America) is funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission and has a duration of three years.

For more information, please contact Alice Newton, email: an@nilu.no

Deltakere i COMETprosjektet
Members of the COMET-prosject at kick off meeting in Cordoba, Spain.