Special Issue "Natural Resources Management and Conflicts in the Context of Sustainability Transformation"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Human Geography and Social Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dimitrios Zikos
Guest Editor
Professor of International and Development Economics, Hochschule Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin - University of Applied Sciences; Department of Economics, MIDE, Treskowallee 8, 10313 Berlin, Germany
Interests: Institutions; Political Economy; Sustainability; Development; Natural Resource Management; Environmental Conflicts; Water; Mixed Methods
Dr. Ourania Papasozomenou
Guest Editor
Arden University Berlin, Dessauer Str 3-5, 10963 Berlin, Germany
Interests: Institutions; governance; natural resources; islands and adaptation; distant peripheries; climate change adaptation; water; economics; philosophy
Dr. Matteo Roggero
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
The Resource Economics Group, Faculty of Life Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 10099 Berlin, Germany
Interests: Institutions, regulations and natural resources; organization, governance and cooperation; climate change mitigation and adaptation; urban climate action; green infrastructure; water; social and environmental sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Prominent institutional economists argue that the failures in reforming dysfunctional economies and notional states worldwide are due to a missing causal link between the suggested measures (imposed institutional change) and the expected result (strong economies). In the quest for economic development in a sustainability frame, natural resources emerge as a vital locus to promote economic development, wealth, equality, and political and social stability, especially where resource scarcity is a particularly pressing issue. In such settings, conflicts between users, sectors or whole countries hamper attempts to utilize the full potential of natural resources as a key element for sustainable development.

The study of conflicts, though, is neither governed by a coherent set of theories nor limited by strict disciplinary boundaries. Rather, it encompasses a multitude of conceptions grounded within a wide array of disciplines, epistemological assumptions and schools of thought concerning the links between scarcity and competition, often concluding in contradictory proposals.

Critical literature, although departing from different ontological standpoints, reaches a consensus regarding the paramount role of institutions in the frame of natural resource management, conflict resolution, and sustainability transformations. Nonetheless, understandings of what institutions are, how they regularize behavior and interactions between people, and how they are formed, replaced or changed constitute not only vague areas within the sustainability sciences or human geography, for instance, but are also a point of contention within institutional economics, which forms the basis for this Special Issue.

In this frame, the Special Issue is divided into three sections with the overall aim of contributing to the discussion on the interplay between natural resources, conflicts, and sustainable transformations.

The objective of the first section is to conceptually unpack conflicts on natural resources. By doing so, we will unravel the economic, social, and environmental factors leading to such conflicts. This is a crucial and necessary step towards the sustainable management of resources, particularly in transformative settings.

Section two empirically explores the spatial dimension of transformations and juxtaposes sustainability pathways of varying and diverse spatial localities. The objective here is to draw attention to the physical dimension of transformations and to the subtle but decisive role of space.  

Section three explores several methodological opportunities to investigate conflicts beyond their idiosyncratic dimension. This section focuses specifically on the comparative method to achieve a better understanding of the many contextual factors shaping conflicts and their outcomes. Particular emphasis will lie on analytical methods such as qualitative comparative analysis, cluster analysis, and the newly emerging approach of archetype analysis.

Prof. Dimitrios Zikos
Dr. Ourania Papasozomenou
Dr. Matteo Roggero
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • conflicts
  • natural resources
  • sustainable management
  • transformations
  • institutions
  • analytical methods

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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