Facing shocks: Sustainable strategies from Western and Central Africa

Organizer: Laurent Vidal
Format: Online, Evening

West and Central African societies are confronted with shocks of varying nature and intensity: health, environmental and socio-political shocks have succeeded one another historically. Individuals, communities and States have tried to respond to these shocks by developing resilience strategies, which are sometimes deeply integrated into social behaviours and public policies, and are therefore complex to describe and objectify. Nevertheless, these strategies do exist, as shown by the reactions to changes in rainfall patterns or heat waves in rural Sahelian areas, as well as to the occurrence of epidemics. Supported by intentional donors and development organizations, the scientific research community in Africa has put considerable efforts to analyse these mechanisms. Local initiatives by populations, as well as those of States, the academy and development organisations have aided converge to reflect the image of societies and territories that are places of experimentation – both successful and unsuccessful – of the capacity to understand the roots of problems related to these shocks, their multifactorial dimensions and the type of response that is provided. Through a transdisciplinary dialogue between political, earth and health scientists, the objective of this session is to show the complexity of anticipation/response dynamics to risks, which combine past experiences, improvisation, and structuring. This session proposes an innovative way of dialoguing between disciplines, as the partners from the three countries will start the co-production of the session before the SRI meeting. This will ensure that the whole session is context-based, pluralistic, goal-oriented and interactive, thereby satisfying basic principles of knowledge co-production in sustainability science and facilitating the link between knowledge production and action (see Norström et al. 2020, Nature Sustainability).

Themes: Sustainable Solutions from the Global South, Knowledge-to-Action, Sustainability for Who?