Sustainability Research Unit

Dr. Karin Badenhorst, Research Associate, Sustainability Research Unit, Nelson Mandela University

Research team: Dr. Karin Badenhorst, Prof Robert Fincham, and Stephen Stead

Towards Building an Adaptive Governance Research Framework: Key Drivers to Enable Sustainable Transformation in the SEE (Socio-Economic Ecological) Nexus

Adaptive governance has been widely applied in the Climate Change study field, especially in the context of the interaction between Social Science and Ecology (Socio-Ecological Systems).

By bringing Economic systems into this relationship, a whole new range of challenges and opportunities will be introduced in the search for sustainable solutions to counter the increasing range of socioecological threats to our planet and society. In the development of the framework
different types of events will be explored, considering interventionist sources of transformation versus more evolutionary transformation, considering both the destructive and constructive character of events.

The concept of new economic pathways within the context of sustainable ecological corridors should lead to value creation as opposed to value destruction, evolving a new definition of value in the SEE nexus. Key drivers in the SEE nexus will be identified, including for example drivers that can enable or stifle the shift from power, property, and poverty to people, planet and progress.

We believe the concepts of adaptive governance can be extended to facilitate a continuous transformative process. The framework will aim to substantiate conceptual philosophy with practical reality, for example, by aligning the conceptual and spatial perspectives
with actual marginalised or threatened communities and ecologies, in particular focusing
on the various forces driving urban, peri-urban, and rural land use.

We believe that the development of this body of work in the form of an overarching research framework, linked to long-term SEE research monitoring and evaluation, will open up a wealth of
further research and study opportunities to add further value to the excellent work currently being done at the SRU.