SIID has been successful in the recent ‘Transformations to Sustainability’ call from the Belmont Forum and Norface. As part of a coalition lead by Wageningen University our ‘CON-VIVA’ project will be exploring the possibilities of ‘convivial conservation’ by studying how people live with top predators.

This project is one of twelve transnational research projects starting in 2018, which have been awarded 11.5 million euros from the Belmont Forum and NORFACE joint programme Transformations to Sustainability (T2S). The twelve teams with 56 principal investigators will undertake research in transformations to sustainability areas ranging from groundwater, mining, urban areas and land-registration, to the role of migration and intellectual property rights in sustainability transitions. The projects involve researchers from a wide variety of disciplines working together across the globe, from Brazil to Sweden and from Japan to Burkina Faso.

CON-VIVA is grounded in the premise that conservation is critical to transformations to sustainability but that its practices need to change radically. Conservation can be effective in protecting biodiversity in places, but in toto has failed to halt global biodiversity loss. Continued habitat fragmentation and reduced funding during times of austerity compound this problem. Many conservationists now acknowledge this, leading to vigorous ‘Anthropocene’ discussions on how to reconfigure human-wildlife relations, protected areas and the role of economic development in conservation. CON-VIVA’s key objective is to conceptually refine and empirically test the prospects for one proposal emerging from these debates: convivial conservation. This new model responds to the T2S themes by moving beyond protected areas and faith in markets to build landscape, governance and funding pathways that integrate conservation and poverty reduction, while enhancing prosperity. CON-VIVA investigates the prospects for convivial conservation by comparing cutting-edge conservation cases that address human-wildlife conflict involving apex predators in Finland, USA and DAC-countries Brazil and Tanzania. Our hypothesis is that if ‘living with’ apex predators can be effectively combined with new forms of economic development, a transition to convivial conservation can be boosted significantly. By organising the project around integrated academic-practitioner networks on local and global levels, we will better understand the conditions for this transition, while conceptualising and popularising a new model for conservation. This allows CON-VIVA to contribute to SDG15 and to inspire and enhance broader transformations to sustainability.

Research team
PI: Prof. Bram Büscher, Wageningen University

Prof. Dan Brockington, University of Sheffield
MSc. Matthew. Bukhi, University of Dodoma
Prof. Anja. Nygren, University of Helsinki