Co-production of sustainable land systems
Mapping exercise in Jhalokhati, Bangladesh. Photo by Sarah Castine / Worldfish on Flickr

Co-Production of Sustainable Land Systems

Short Description

Land is a critical nexus for advancing the United Nation's 2030 Agenda, as its management is affecting the delivery of most Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is because land lies at the intersection of diverse and potentially conflicting claims concerning societies' sustainable development needs. These claims might be bound to a specific context, but in today's interconnected world, they are increasingly linked to complex multi-scale, cross-scale, and telecoupled processes that exacerbate the risk of inequality and marginalisation. Owing to this complexity, navigating competing claims on land in an equitable way necessitates approaches that help address multi-faceted real-world problems. Transdisciplinary and transformative research approaches go beyond interdisciplinarity by transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries and co-producing knowledge with multiple stakeholders. They have been proposed as a mechanism to understand sustainability challenges, define common sustainable development targets and identify most promising pathways towards these targets.

GLP understands as co-design the joint formulation of research questions, objectives and methods involving science and society. Co-production of knowledge means the generation of “new knowledge involving both academics and non-academics in a strongly interactive way, so that the research process requires forms of knowledge and expertise that cannot be supplied by the researchers alone” (Robinson and Tansey 2006). We will use thereafter in the text “co-production” meaning both co-design as well as co-production. This Working Group aims to foster the exchange, critical reflection, adoption and multiplication of co-production approaches within the GLP community and beyond.

Goals and Objectives

The main goal of the WG is to foster the the exchange, critical reflection, adoption and multiplication of co-production approaches within the GLP community and beyond, to enhance its relevance for the solving of pressing land sustainability concerns. Building on the results and learnings of the first phase, the following specific objectives will be addressed:

  1. Continue a vibrant platform of exchange and learning related to co-production of sustainable land systems for early and advanced-stage GLP researchers from diverse disciplines working on multi-scale, cross-scale, and telecoupled processes. Newcomers to co-production will be taken on board through specific tailor made activities and experienced co-producers will get a platform for exchange and critical reflection.
  2. Advance the understanding and critical reflection of co-production approaches used in a multi-scale, cross-scale or telecoupled context. The WG will organise learning events reaching outside academia to take stock of current practices and approaches. It will synthesize the knowledge and learnings helping to better understand processes of co-production of knowledge in land system science.
  3. Share co-production learnings with a larger science-policy-society network to foster adoption in different contexts. We will also specifically reach out to larger research funding schemes to demand adaptive management of research and implementation projects. Besides, we will link through the GLP IPO to the Future Earth's Pathways to Sustainability Initiative which includes the formation of a community of practice to mobilize transdisciplinary approaches across the Future Earth ecosystem.

GLP Themes: Telecoupling of land use systems, Land governance, Land management systems

GLP Methods: Co-production and transdisciplinarity


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Understanding the cultural values and social rules of stakeholders is critical to engage them successfully in a co-production process. Failing to do so, can not only threaten the project but also harm vulnerable stakeholders. This is the story of how putting the do-no-harm principle and the interest of vulnerable stakeholders above scientific interest has allowed us to have impact on the ground in Burkina Faso.   Read full post

Related Information


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