About the Apolimer Observatory

© Adrien Lambrechts 

Balance of power

Apolimer studies what the rise in power of the paradigm of sustainability does to political regimes, institutions, and both public and private stakeholders who intervene in the regulation of access and use of spaces and resources at sea. Who manages the sea governance and how? Who takes decisions, and given which criteria? To whom do the spaces and resources belong? Who collects the retributions of their uses? Apolimer notably decrypts the balance of power, the conflits and coalitions that spread tensions between conservation and exploitation around current stakes related to the appropriation of seas and oceans. Apolimer researchers thus work on the biological resources, including fishery, which are emblematic of relations between science, politics, economy, ecology, industry and traditional practices, and also study political stakes around mineral resources, fossil fuels and rare earth elements.

The Apolimer Observatory aims to provide long-term and integrated empirical data on marine systems governance at the interface of climate, biodiversity and people. We explore, from theory to practice, how the category of social-ecological systems could serve as a catalyst for action and transformation towards sustainability. The concept of social-ecological system or coupled human-environment system but above all, the principle of ecological solidarity in law appears to us  useful to affirm the non separation between humans and nature. I.e. the need to go beyond the « great divide » between human and « nature », both from the point of view of the paradigms that we use to think about this relationship and from the point of view of our modes of action. 

Within this perspective, Apolimer is dedicated to the study of the power (im)balances in the governance of seas and oceans. Our research interests especially focus on the management of marine resources, both biological and mineral, in the current context of global change. Our goal is to produce longitudinal analyses of the trajectories of social-ecological systems. Throughout the research we carry, we strive to identify the obstacles and leverage points to the transformation of our societies towards sustainability. To do this, we systematically study the same objects, on a selection of action-research projects over the long time, with an interdisciplinary approach in the perspective of global ecology, in order to help strengthen the utility and efficiency of the sciences of complex systems.