Earth scholarship awarded for the second time to a hub early-career researcher  

Hub early-career researcher Aphiwe Moshani (University of Cape Town, South Africa) has been awarded an EARTH scholarship by the British Council Scotland, which is thematically focused on environmental arts and humanities and their interdisciplinary connection.  Aphiwe is currently also acting as research trainee at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, working on the knowledge-translation platform One Ocean Learn.  The scholarship will support Aphiwe in undertaking research at the University of Strathclyde (UK) from April-July 2024 on the human rights dimensions of her research findings.

hub early-career researcher Aphiwe Moshani (University of Cape Town, South Africa)

Her research project is called “Balancing the Tide: Safeguarding International Human Rights of Rural Coastal Communities in South Africa: An Exploration of Cultural Rights in Sustainable Development and the Blue Economy”. This project is informed by years of working with rural fishing coastal communities in South Africa during her master’s thesis and more recently by her Ph.D. through the One Ocean Hub.  

South African rural coastal communities face a myriad of challenges that are deeply intertwined with issues of sustainable development, cultural rights and social justice. The significance of these challenges becomes particularly apparent when examining the legal frameworks, both international and domestic, that govern sustainable development initiatives such as the Blue Economy in coastal regions. As such Aphiwe’s project centres the intricate tapestry of coastal communities in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal, their cultural and historical context as well as their place in the broader Sustainable Development mandate and within a Blue Economy framework by:  

  1. Analysing the extent to which the legal frameworks, both international and domestic, that govern sustainable development in coastal regions recognise and protect cultural rights in South Africa.  
  2. Investigating the human rights and social justice dimensions of oceanic and coastal conflicts in fishing coastal communities and the pursuit of social justice through legal mechanisms. Specifically, by examining the legal recognition and protection of customary and cultural rights of fishing coastal communities, and how these rights interact with emerging economic interests in the Blue Economy.  
  3. Developing recommendations for the protection of cultural rights and the consideration of the lived experiences of local people in the blue economy, to support a transformation toward socially sustainable and equitable ideas of sustainable development based on a foundation of social justice and human rights.  

Aphiwe will be based at the University of Strathclyde from April-July 2024 to engage themes around culture and social justice in the blue economy from a human rights and international law perspective through collaboration with Elisa Morgera, Elaine Webster, Katie Boyle at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights as well as Mara Ntona and David Wilson at the Centre for Environmental Law and Governance.  

Last year, early-career researcher Buhle Francis (Rhodes University, South Africa) was among the Earth scholarship recipients. She was based at the University of Strathclyde in spring 2023 where she deepened her research on justice, gender and ocean livelihoods.  

Photo: Nessim Stevenson

Related SDGs:

  • No poverty
  • Zero hunger
  • Good health and well-being
  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Reduced inequality
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Life below water