Hydro-territorial Rights and Rural Sustainability in the Global South
Land and water are key natural resources around which questions of rural sustainability are structured. In indigenous and rural societies of the Global South, not only do these resources enable livelihoods, but also serve as basis of culture, identity and epistemic-ontological foundations. In recent decades, rights of these communities over local land and water resources - the ‘hydro-territorial rights’ (HTRs) – are becoming increasingly contentious, in a context of external intrusions – by states, private corporations or other external agents – with multifarious socioecological implications for rural sustainability. Inspired by political ecology and decolonial theory and using a comparative actor-focused approach, this project aims to bridge the knowledge gap around HTRs and rural sustainability by exploring and problematizing dilemmas, disputes and challenges related to contested HTRs within indigenous/rural communities in three different sociocultural and legal-institutional settings:
Bolivia, India and Tanzania. Through an inter- and transdisciplinary gender-conscious approach based upon qualitative comparative case study design and decolonial methodology, knowledge will be co-created by conducting ethnographic research with local communities.
The final objective is to identify pathways by which the HTRs and livelihood preferences of rural/indigenous communities could be secured that could also motivate appropriate policy and action for rural sustainable livelihoods.