4. Climate change, vulnerability of food systems and institutional transformations in Senegal

Gmür, D.; Felber, S.; Owolodun, B.; Ollier, C.; Camara, L.; Beye, A.; Haller, T. (2022). 4. Climate change, vulnerability of food systems and institutional transformations in Senegal. In: Bruce, Donald; Bruce, Ann (eds.) EurSafe 2022. Transforming food systems: ethics, innovation and responsibility (pp. 40-45). The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers 10.3920/978-90-8686-939-8_4

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This paper deals with increasing vulnerability of food systems in Senegal and argues that this is not just an outcome of climate change but its intersection with changes in institutional conditions of local tenure systems of land and land related common-pool resources (CPRs). While these systems were enabling resilience before colonial times, they were formally undermined by the change to state property and subsequent changes after independence. This also affected the property and management rights of CPRs being food producing resources, thus building the base for many types of food and food security for local people. This contribution focuses on four case studies in the Senegal River Valley, the Boundou area, Bedik Country area and the Lower-Casamance. It looks at the historical development and institutional changes of the commons and how these impact local food systems and household nutrition as well as resilience/vulnerability thereof in the context of external effects such as agro-industrial developments, conservation, and climate change. We argue that although the areas are affected differently by climate change, their resilience against these changes depend on the way land and CPR tenure is still in local ownership or not, and the failure to recognize that conservation areas are not pure nature but cultural ecosystems. While in the Senegal River as well as in the Boundou and Bedik Country area, there are restrictions due to agro-industrial and conservation developments, the Lower-Casamance seems to be still more resilient. However, this area has also undergone institutional changes, especially in social relations which undermine the maintenance of the cultural landscape. This is shaped by labour-intensive traditional rice and fishery infrastructure which cannot be maintained because of lack of family labour due to outmigration by men and youth. This underlines the argument that food vulnerability is not just an effect of climate but as well of institutional change of land tenure and social relations.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Gmür, Désirée Ruth, Felber, Selina Chiara, Haller, Tobias


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Wageningen Academic Publishers




Jana Samira Lamatsch

Date Deposited:

08 Feb 2023 07:27

Last Modified:

08 Feb 2023 23:28

Publisher DOI:






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