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Diana-Abasi Ibanga

Arts Humanities and Cultures

Dr. Diana-Abasi Ibanga is a Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, University of Calabar, Nigeria.  Whilst a visitor with the University of Leeds between September 2022 and December 2022, he will be working on his project Decolonizing Environmental Policies in Nigeria through African Proverbs. He will be working with @Brendon Nicholls (School of English).

Project Abstract

Reports of increasing deteriorating environmental condition in Africa suggest that the existing environmental policies are ineffective or not working. But why? Studies have linked the problem to the current top-down approach adopted for environmental policymaking, which implies a flow of policy variables from the global centres in Europe and North America to the developing countries in Africa via global policy instruments.

This resulted in uncritical and chauvinistic imposition of the hegemonic global environmental knowledge on local situations without regard to local ecological knowledge. Historical imposition of foreign categories on African thought systems has been criticized as the fundamental impediment to development and problem-solving in the continent.

Therefore, this study investigates how the superimposition of foreign categories in African environmental policies can be decentred in the context of Nigeria. The project adopts Kwasi Wiredu’s technique of Conceptual Decolonization, which is a literature-based approach that allows environmental policy concepts such as environment, pollution, resources, climate change, preservation, conservation, restoration, protection, mitigation, etc. to be analysed and reinterpreted in the context of indigenous ecological knowledge.

The analysis will be grounded on Annang, Igbo and Yoruba proverbs to demonstrate how local ecological knowledge can be the starting point in the development of environmental policies.