Deepa Joshi | Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience

Deepa Joshi is a feminist political ecologist whose work analyses shifts in environmental policies and how these restructure contextually complex intersections of gender, poverty, class, ethnicity and identity. She has worked primarily in South Asia as well as in South East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America focusing on the incongruence of water supply/ sanitation, irrigation and water-energy policies with complex ground realities. Her published findings present ethnographic analyses of how the complexity of inequity is reiterated across institutions in the rules and processes of policy-making; in policies per se and in implementing institutions at scale. Deepa's interests lie in translating policy research outcomes and experience into gender and environment academic courses and local research and activist capacity initiatives. She has been leading these activities on several bilateral projects in South and South East Asia and Africa and she currently coordinates two longitudinal projects on the themes of environmental justice and climate change in the Eastern Himalayas and in the Eastern Gangetic Plains (India, Bangladesh and Nepal).

  • Hydropower development in the context of climate change: Exploring conflicts and fostering cooperation across scales and boundaries in the Eastern Himalayas: The culturally- and bio-diverse region of the Eastern Himalayas is vulnerable to climate change, and the target of ambitious hydropower development plans. This project sets out to explore how the impacts of hydropower development will intersect with the effects of climate change. The project’s objective is to propose and develop more climate-resilient, equitable and legitimate hydropower development, and create new solidarities around these. Through a comparative and transdisciplinary approach, the project investigates historical trajectories of hydropower development in terms of their financial, technological and institutional modalities, and of the conflicts and solidarities these provoke. includes field studies to (i) understand how these trajectories and modalities re-configure institutional landscapes around water and energy at multiple scales; (2) map how they differently distribute climate-related water risks and benefits at different scales; (3) assess their hydrological/technical viability against climate change projections, as well as their implications for livelihood opportunities and/or risks across groups; (4) identify how socio-political, territorial and ethnic fractures influence political space and voice, translating into either conflicts or solidarities at different scales.
  • Poverty squares and gender circles: unravelling agriculture gaps, challenges and opportunities in the Eastern Gangetic Plains: A persistent poverty in the land corridor connecting Nepal Terai, Eastern India and Bangladesh is accentuated by inequalities based on class, caste, ethnicity and gender. The region infamously known as South Asia’s poverty square, home to around 600 million of the world's poorest people is characterised by fragmented landholdings, widespread landlessness, poor investments and infrastructure. In collaboration with multiple institutions and researchers in the region, this project explores why multiple projects operating to mitigate poverty, some with a gender lens have failed to address the enduring poverty in the region. The outcomes are used to build capacity of key institutional partners and programmes.
  • Climate Policy, Conflicts and Cooperation in Peri-Urban South Asia:  Towards Resilient and Water Secure Communities: On-going research has demonstrated that climate change and rapid urbanization create patterns of water insecurity, however a critical gap exists in measuring its direct effect on the life of the vulnerable and its implications for conflict and cooperation. This research assesses and compares incidences of conflicts and cooperation associated with amplified climate variability and urbanization processes in the management of peri-urban water resources of South Asia. It assesses the effects of climate change adaptation and mitigation policies in promoting conflict and cooperation around the management of periurban water resources. The purpose is to strengthen and empower communities for the effective management of climate change and urbanization induced water insecurity.
  • Scalar politics and wicked problems: how climate change mediates conflicts and solidarities around hydropower, water and development in the Eastern Himalayas: Pre-proposal grant
  • Gender, Climate and Environmental Justice in the Eastern Himalayas: The Eastern Himalayas are characterised by a complex terrain with great heterogeneity in ecology, ethnicity and society. Recent climate dialogues generalise the region, its community and policy options with scarce local consultation. Imminent temperature and precipitation fluctuations are predicted to impact biodiversity, water availability, and agriculture and worsen environmental hazards in the region. This ecological broad brush matches the sweeping positioning of mountain women as vulnerable victims and/or formidable champions in climate analyses, even as ethnicity, conflict, poverty and fragile ecologies jointly shape unique challenges to heterogeneous groups of mountain women. These unexplored realities risk convenient yet unreal climate-environment portrayals and policies. This project facilitated two researchers from the Darjeeling region working with Wageningen and Sikkim universities to merge their respective institutional expertise in developing an inter-disciplinary water justice framework for long-term research collaboration on: 1)community experiences on climate-induced environmental hazards and water uncertainties, and 2)local institutional arrangements and policies to tackle these issues.
  • Exploring and advancing water justice in South Asia: Building on earlier work and existing networks, this project enabled the creation of a space for research, exchange, capacity building and policy advice about access to water and water rights from perspectives of equity and justice in the context of a variety of pressing water problems in South Asia. The initiative brought together key researchers and other critical actors in water, the project aims to facilitate the building of a systematic base of knowledge and concerted action. The objective was to contribute to the development and articulation of visions and actions on water rights and water justice in cooperation with regional partners (water professionals, academics, NGOs etc.), and to making such visions relevant for practices of water management and governance in the region.
  • Review of Gender and Knowledge Management at IFAD: To do a detailed critical review of IFAD’s gender interventions and outcomes in order to answer the following question: How can IFAD’s KM and innovation, as related to gender equality/women’s empowerment, be improved and in particular how can a revitalised Gender Thematic Group (TG-G) contribute to this aim?
  • Gender, Environmental and Behavioral Sanitation amongst the Urban Poor (India, Bangladesh and Kenya): The international human rights based commitment to the provision of basic services for all has yet to be realised in practice for a large percentage of the urban poor, especially in relation to access to safe and appropriate sanitation. In understanding the underlying the reason for missed sanitation goals, this research explored 'who' constitutes the urban poor, what determines 'appropriate sanitation', and how access can be equitable and appropriate in relation to gender.
  • Secure Water: building sustainable livelihoods for the poor into demand responsive approaches: Policy and institutional research to increase understanding among interveners in the water sector of water-livelihood links, enhancing their capacity to eliminate poverty through demand responsive approaches.
Coventry University No.1 Modern University No.1 Modern University in the Midlands
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021