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 systems lie at the intersection of diverse and sometimes contradictory sustainability claims. Thus, within the land policy and land science community alike, there is growing recognition that the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may translate into competing claims on scarce land resources. Therefore, science-policy-society interfaces are needed to co-design and co-produce innovative approaches towards sustainable land systems, to navigate trade-offs among competing development claims, and, ultimately, to achieve the SDGs.

Goals and Objectives

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.

The main goal of the WG is to foster the adoption and multiplication of co-production of social-ecological knowledge within the GLP community, to enhance its relevance for the solving of pressing land sustainability concerns. This main goal will be addressed through the following specific objectives:

  1. Establishing a community of practice among GLP scientists from diverse disciplines by facilitating exchange of experience in the co-production of sustainable land systems. GLP researchers will share their experiences of their daily practice (learning pathways) with other researchers working with co-production approaches. This objective will mainly be pursued by liaising among GLP researchers, availing information in the form of E-news, newsletters, and through learning events.
  2. Methodological guidance for transdisciplinary approaches in land system science. The WG will organise webinars aiming to enhance the capacity of researchers in transdisciplinary methods. It will also produce syntheses helping to better understand processes of co-production of knowledge in land system science. Such syntheses will include analyses of specific participatory planning methods, studies on the adoption and implementation process of co-production approaches, reviews, special journal issues, as well as a white paper on current state and future needs for co-production of knowledge.
  3. Closing the gap between land science and the knowledge needs of the development and land policy communities, by acting as a brokering and liaison platform between these communities. Beyond case-by-case networking services, the working group will assess the usefulness of setting up or contributing to an interactive platform that bring together various stakeholders concerned with sustainable land systems for common agenda setting and solution finding.

GLP Themes: 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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Monday, September 13, 2021 (All day) to Friday, September 17, 2021 (All day)

The call for contributions for the next ITD conference, being held online from September 13-17, is now open. The conference is co-organised by the Network for Transdisciplinary Research and Transdisciplinarity Lab, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Deadline: 18 April

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January 17, 2021

The authors of this new study used an expert participatory process to identify suitable Sustainable Land and Water Management practices in Myanmar, which can inform future development projects in rural the country.

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March 26, 2020

The Swiss Network for Transdisciplinarity Research (td-net) has developed a toolbox with methods and tools for co-producing knowledge. The methods and tools intend to help shape collaboration between experts and stakeholders from science and practice in systematic and traceable ways.

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