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Towards a Configuration of Research for the Enhancement of Mountain Development

By Martin Cassel-Gintz and Sarah-Lan Stiefel


The paper focuses on two main aspects of development-oriented mountain research. The first part deals with its methodological requirements by providing the example of the Syndrome Approach, the second part focuses on its operational requirements by introducing the ESAPP Scheme. The Syndrome Approach provides a novel transdisciplinary methodology to investigate non-sustainable civilisation-nature interactions. The approach rests on the decomposition of the intricate dynamics of Global Change into patterns of problematic civilisation-environment interactions by an iterative process of integrating general systems knowledge with local knowledge and perspectives. The resulting Hazardous Systemic Patterns (HSPs) characterise endangering and risky developments of civilisation-environment interaction and represent a baseline for measuring and indicating 'non-sustainability' - in order to have a sustainable development it is necessary to have a far-reaching absence of the non-sustainable pathways of HSPs – the Syndromes of Global Change. A new operational scheme is given with the Eastern and Southern Africa Partnership Programme, whose mission is to promote sustainable land management and sustainable regional development based on research partnerships. It’s structure is an innovative combination of demand- and concept-oriented perspectives through Priority Actions specifically requested by partners and a Basic Mandate dealing with conceptual and methodological development and human capacity building. Development-oriented research faces the challenge of including people as participants in the shaping of their own development and in the normative process of identifying problematic development pathways. New approaches are needed to address the specific clusters of developmental and environmental problems in an integrated way and to integrate the research results into social contexts

Year: 2002
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