Risks and Territorial Conflicts.
From natural disasters to geopolitical tensions.

23 to 26 of May 2023
Coimbra, Portugal

All over the world and in an almost daily context, more frequently and intensely, we are confronted with situations of conflicts and catastrophes, be these environmental, military clashes, epidemic outbreaks or pandemics, contamination or scarcity of resources, which jeopardize the survival and daily lives of populations, destroy communities or affect their infrastructures and cause serious social and psychological trauma.

The rapid economic growth, the globalized society, the urbanization of increasingly extensive areas, aggravated by climate change, put an increasing pressure on the territories, which together with the demographic increase or the strong migratory movements, “free” in search of better living conditions or “forced” by environmental catastrophes, promote the depilation of natural resources and the destruction of ecological niches, responsible for the Man-Nature balance, among others for filtering the air and thus containing possible viruses, and increasing exposure to different risks and, consequently, the vulnerability of populations.

Due to a diverse set of factors, which must be framed in time and space, conflicts of interest exist and are normal.

On the one hand, resources are finite and, on the other hand, value systems and perceptions of reality by different actors may not coincide.

In this way, the cartography of disputes over the control of a place, a path or a relevant geographical position, or strategic assets such as water, soil, forests, minerals or various energy sources, is extensive.

In multiple contexts and different geographic scales, these conflicts are crossed by asymmetrical power relations and by dynamics of dispossession and deterritorialization, especially on the part of the most vulnerable populations.

In this interdisciplinary domain, fields such as political ecology, local geopolitics, critical and social cartography and territorial justice intersect.

In this way, between competition and the necessary cooperation between the actors, it is important to problematize the origin and anticipate these situations of conflict, as well as to discuss and analyze the management of the crises that may result from this.