The influence of emergency food aid on the disaster vulnerability of Indigenous food systems: a case study of the Bedamuni of Western Province, Papua New Guinea

Abstract

This talk will cover my primary thesis objective: to explore the influence of emergency food aid on causal factors of disaster vulnerability within the remote Bedamuni culture of Western Province, Papua New Guinea. Conceptualising food systems as a form of socioecological system and vulnerability as being produced and reproduced over decadal to yearly time scales, I explore the many root causes of disaster vulnerability in the Bedamuni food system. Emergency food aid is considered as a potential driver of vulnerability – among many other social, ecological, economic, and cultural processes and factors. Taking an historical approach, I first illuminate the complex story of agrarian change since the first Western contact in 1962. Changing land use and settlement patterns, reduced fallows, population growth, and the rise of the cash economy are some notable developments. Once high levels of traditional ecological knowledge have been reducing over time, in part driven by missionaries discouraging traditional religion and the arrival of food aid after recent disasters. This talk will critically evaluate the production of disaster vulnerability and the influence of emergency food aid, while also providing novel insights into a unique socioecological system in peripheral Papua New Guinea. While of interest to specialists, general audiences should find the talk insightful.

Biography

Guy Jackson has recently graduated from his PhD in the field of human geography at The University of Queensland. His primary research focus is identifying the drivers of vulnerability in socioecological systems in the South Pacific, with fieldwork undertaken in remote regions of Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. He has published in leading journals including Journal of Rural studies, WIRES Climate Change, Agriculture and Human Values, among others.

Venue

This seminar will be held using the video conferencing software Zoom. If you would like the link, please email sees.seminars@uq.edu.au