EUniWell Open Lecture Series: Africa the Conservation Continent of the 21st Century?


University of Cologne University of Cologne & Online EUniWell-Event

As part of the EUniWell Open Lecture Series, Prof. Dr. Michael Bollig spoke on "Africa the Conservation Continent of the 21st Century? Contemporary Practices and Future Orientations of Biodiversity Protection between Globalisation and Local Action" on Thursday, 28 April.

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Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Michael Bollig
Moderator: Dr. Graham Harrison
Related EUniWell Arena: 3) Environment, Urbanity and Well-being


About this lecture:

Recently Africa has been lauded as the Conservation Continent of the 21st century. Not only does comprehensive and extensive conservation on the African continent address the globe’s most pressing environmental challenges such as climate change, habitat fragmentation and biodiversity loss according to these Afro-optimistic visions. Conservation also offers new economic options as wildernesses and wildlife are successfully commoditised leading to more wealth and higher biodiversity resilience at the same time. The quest for a dramatic expansion of conservation efforts on the African continent is backed by the vocal international demand for a further expansion of conservation areas. The first two decades of the 21st century have shown that the governance of protected areas is increasingly changing from state led governance to distributed international governance. Progressively international NGOs and also international philanthropists engage themselves in conservation on the African continent. At the same time practices of conservation change in and around many protected areas from more participative, community focussed models to more exclusionary ones. This talk attempts to outline some salient processes of future-oriented conservation across the continent. It shows some of its pertinent drivers and actors and outlines socio-economic impacts.

Research background:

Prof. Dr. Michael Bollig is Professor for Cultural Anthropology at the University of Cologne and speaker for the Collaborative Research Centre 228 Future Rural Africa. His thematic focus and regional emphasis include human-environment relations, political ecology, environmental history, transitions of local knowledge as well as globalisation and conflict studies in East Africa and Southern Africa. Furthermore, Prof. Dr. Michael Bollig is an Executive Board Member of the Global South Studies Center (GSSC) and a laureate of the ERC Advanced Grant (2021) as well as the Leo Spitzer Award (2018).

Be there live on campus!


Lecture Hall A2, 105 - Lecture Hall Building (Hörsaalgebäude), University of Cologne


This lecture was part of the EUniWell Open Lecture Series. Find the full programme here.