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Friederike Mikulcak, Jamila Haider, Jens Newig & Joern Fischer Leuphana University Lueneburg Stockholm Resilience Center Resilience 2014, Montpellier,

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Presentation on theme: "Friederike Mikulcak, Jamila Haider, Jens Newig & Joern Fischer Leuphana University Lueneburg Stockholm Resilience Center Resilience 2014, Montpellier,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Friederike Mikulcak, Jamila Haider, Jens Newig & Joern Fischer Leuphana University Lueneburg Stockholm Resilience Center Resilience 2014, Montpellier, 5 May 2014 How to escape the trap? A systems approach to foster rural development in Central Romania

2 Rural Romania Rural areas comprise 87.1% of the territory Rural population: 9.67 out of million (~45% ; 2010) ~60% of rural population employed in agriculture (self-employed, family farms) Unique natural wealth (annex species, cultural landscapes) Central RO

3 Central Romania former Saxon area Traditional smallholder, low-intensity farming High farmland biodiversity

4 A typical Transylvanian landscape

5 What‘s the problem? Structural poverty, high unemployment rates, outmigration, land abandonment or land intensification  development a top priority to locals EU accession (2007) - unprecedented disparities (competitiveness) - Challenge to achieve economic & env. sustainability  exacerbated outmigration and regional marginalization social-ecological system (SES) appears locked in

6 Theoretical approach: Traps reinforcing/ self-correcting dynamics maintain system at low- level equilibrium Stable state: interventions often unable to move system into a more desired trajectory Inflexible or dysfunctional institutions are often a main reason Examples -poverty trap (people are impoverished by circumstances beyond their control) -rigidity trap (institutions are highly connected and inflexible) Factors/ drivers behind lock-in state?

7 Livelihoods approach

8 Constrasting traps and livelihoods Livelihoods approachTraps Normative emphasisPoverty and marginality Builds on Entitlement approach (Sen 1981), Environmental Entitlement approach (Leach 1997) Theory of dynamical systems (Barrett et al. 2011) ScopeIndividuals, households Coupled human and natural systems (SES) Focuscapabilities and capacitiesSystem dynamics ComponentsCapital pentagon; institutional context (mediating role of institutions in defining access to assets) Mutually reinforcing social and ecological feedbacks; system inflexibility/ rigidity/ high connectivity; low-level dynamic equilibria across different scales (fractal)

9 Advantages of merging the approaches Livelihoods approach provides boundary terminology to build bridges between concepts Capitals a useful concept to cluster factors creating a trap state Systems approach useful to highlight interdependencies of capitals Importance of institutional context Common goals: improve development policy and practice

10 How applied to Central Romania? (1)347 short interviews in 66 villages (17 communes) of Central Romania -State of social system (economy, infrastructure, migration) as perceived by villagers -Suggestions of improvement by rural residents (2) 11 in-depth interviews with key individuals (‚change agents‘) on development barriers (clustered into capitals) Development barriers

11 Some of the interview partners…

12 Results of short interviews

13 Key barriers clustered into capitals BarriersCapitals Ethnical cleavages, lack of trust and social cohesion Lack of ‘leadership’ due to exodus of Saxons after 1990 Lack of entrepreneurship/ economic ‘mindset’ Social (bonding, bridging, entrepreneurial) Low income levels lack of jobs in the non-farming sector compared to high price level Financial (loans, income) Lack of skilled workers Low quality of education lack of vocational training Human ( skills, health, knowledge) low quality of roads lack of sewerage systems and piped water low connectivity to markets Built (manufactured) Loss of agro-biodiversity Natural (ES and goods) Lack of information exchange between villagers, and from local authorities to villagers Party politics, elite capture, vote buying and corruption Political (attitudes/ behavior influencing a regime ) loss of traditional ecological knowledge, values and traditions Cultural (rules of society)

14 Findings

15 Interdependency of capitals

16 Conclusion Huge ‘push’ (intervention) unlikely to move system into more desirable state All capitals need to be improved simultaneously Support key individuals and boundary organisations (spiraling up effects, knowledge transfer) Enfors & Gordon 2008

17 Thanks for your attention


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