The Global Risk Governance programme (GRG) is a research programme, led by Professor Clifford Shearing, within the Public Law Department, Law Faculty at the University of Cape Town. The programme's research activities are focused on understanding the new, and emerging, risk landscapes that are shaping 21 Century securities. Of particular concern are the environmental insecurities associated with the impacts of industrialisation on earth systems. A defining feature of the GRG's research is its regulatory focus, the interdisciplinary nature of its research teams and its collaborative approach. 

Environmental and Planetary Futures programme 

The Environmental and Planetary Futures Project undertakes rigorous independent social science research that forms the basis for sound evidence-based interventions to disrupt illicit economies and repair the future .

The focus is on the governance (understood as the shaping of the flow of events) of illegal economies by a wide variety of nodes, for example: state and non-state; public and private; legal, grey and illegal; and, urban, peri-urban and rural.  Understanding the governance of safety and security is thus the point of departure, with illegal wildlife economies and the ecosystems that support them being one of the focus areas, as well as their intersections with legal economies.  

One of our key research question asks how illegal and legal global wildlife economies operate. Based on our empirical research including fieldwork in affected local and indigenous communities, we analyse which trades and activities are beneficial or damaging to ecological systems and our future planet. Termed pragmatic conservation, our evidence-based interventions identify  the most appropriate leverage points to disrupt illegal wildlife economies and strengthen legal ones. We are working towards a just and equitable conservation model that recognises Indigenous Peoples and local communities as fulcrum institutions.

Another focal areas explores contested illegality a legitimization mechanism employed by actors in illicit economies that do not accept the label of illegality imposed upon their activities. As an examples, actors in illicit wildlife economies feel they have the right to use and harvest rare or endangered wildlife which the law of the land often bans or forbids. Invariably, there is an interface between legal and illegal markets and the boundaries of ethical greyness are easily crossed especially in cases where laws and regulations lack social legitimacy.  Read more >>>

The Vulnerabilities and Resilience Programme

The Vulnerabilities and Resilience Programme seeks to understand and engage with new and emerging harmscapes in both the age of the Anthropocene and Novacene which result in both human and non-human vulnerabilities; how these vulnerabilities are currently governed; and how to build resilience capacities in response.

The specific aims of the programme are to explore these harmscapes with a view to:

Empirically investigating the nature of these harmscapes and how they are policed, ordered or governed, including a specific focus on local and indigenous knowledge systems and how they relate to external, global knowledges and pressures

Developing and advancing a novel theoretical framework with which criminology can be transformed from within through its engagement with harms in a socio-material world whilst also drawing on other disciplines as and when needed in seeking to move beyond a cross-disciplinary focus which itself ‘buys into’ the separation of disciplines of the social and natural worlds

Developing a normative agenda from which end-users can benefit in terms of mitigating vulnerabilities and building resilience capacities.

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Environmental Entrepreneurs Support Initiative

 EESI is a community engagement initiative, supported by, and undertaken in conjunction with, the Mauerberger Foundation.  The project supports young leaders, who are already realising outcomes that advance environmental sustainability and who will benefit from support that enhances their leadership capacities.  EESI Fellows include young leaders working with Beyond Expectations Environmental Project (BEEP) and SA Urban Food & Farming Trust, Read more >>>

The Evolving Securities Initiative (ESI)

ESI was created with the aim of bringing together scholars and professionals from across the globe to challenge responses to 21st century harmscapes. The ESI network of scholars and security professionals generates knowledge about existing and emerging harmscapes and associated security governance developments. ESI fosters disciplinary and cross-disciplinary work among criminologists, historians, economists, anthropologists, political theorists, sociologists, international relations scholars, natural scientists, lawyers and security professionals from the public and private sectors. The Evolving Securities Initiative is led by the Global Risk Governance team and is supported by the University of Cape Town, Griffith University, and  ProActive ReSolutions. Read more >>>