REACH aims to improve our understanding of how the provision and governance of decentralized infrastructure for enhancing access to and sustainable management of water and energy resources in rural areas can support stronger adaptive capacity, climate resilience and human security. The project will provide qualitative recommendations on how to implement decentralized energy/water access, with particular emphasis on how to create more equitable socio-political governance of such infrastructure in order to deliver improved human well-being and achievement of the SDGs. Its focus on decentralized solutions and local small producers meets the challenge of energy transition, water security and sustainable agriculture as the three top priorities to fulfil the commitments made by West African states in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to comply with the Paris Agreement.
To this end, REACH aims to lay the groundwork for strong research collaboration and joint knowledge co-production approaches between French and Norwegian social science researchers with extensive, complementary expertise and field experience in different African countries (Burkina Faso, Niger, Sénégal, Madagascar, Tanzania, South Africa), in order to produce comprehensive, policy relevant and actionable knowledge. The participants in the project have combined expertise based on research conducted in different African contexts, and internationally, which addresses the political, economic and social (including gendered) dimensions of water, land and energy security and governance, climate change vulnerability and adaptation, agricultural development and poverty and resource conflict studies. Water and energy are often analysed in a disconnected ways. Our project will analyse the interaction between these two sectors, drawing on the nexus approach promoted by the SDGs agenda.