Research Topics / Key Expertise
environmental security and the political economy of natural resources (focus on water and related resources) in Africa, trainer in negotiation and conflict resolution for integrated water resources management.
Larry Swatuk obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Windsor (1978–82, Hons). He continued with a Master’s degree in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Windsor (1983–85). He obtained his PhD in Political Science and International Relations from Dalhousie University (1986–93).
Larry Swatuk’s involvement with environmental security goes back to the early 1990s, when he pursued a post-doctoral research project based on T. Homer-Dixon’s ideas regarding “acute conflict probability and renewable resources.” In this work, based on a comparison of several cases across southern Africa, Swatuk discovered significant degrees of co-operation around large-scale transboundary resource use projects which, in some ways, challenged dominant ideas regarding coming “resource wars”. His work over the last 25 years, therefore, has focussed on the possibilities for environmental peace making through resource use decisions and practices. From 1995 to 1996, he was a senior research fellow at the African Centre for Development and Security Studies (ACDESS) in Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria. He then moved to Botswana where he spent the next eleven years at the University of Botswana, including four years as Professor of Natural Resources Governance at the Okavango Research Institute in Maun. At the end of 2007, he moved home to Canada and took up a position at the University of Waterloo, where he helped develop undergraduate and postgraduate programs in International Development. He continues to actively research questions of environmental security from the perspective of environmental justice, meaning that rather than focus on the consequences of environmental change for state actors, his research commences from the position of those elements of society that are already socially and politically marginalised and who are least able to cope with natural and human-determined changes to both the natural and built environments.
Affiliation with BICC:
Close co-operation in the fields of natural resources, management and environmental security (joint publications, project development).