Noémi Gonda

Institute: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research area: Agriculture rural development & food security, Environment and climate change, Gender equality, International development cooperation & coordination, Natural resource management, Poverty reduction
Research region: Europe-Central Asia, Latin America
Open to collaboration with: Media, Other researchers, Practitioners and policy makers


I am a researcher at the Department of Urban and Rural Development.  I have a PhD from Central European University. My PhD research (2016) was a feminist ethnography  which focused on the politics of gender and climate change in Nicaragua. Between 2017 and 2020, I was a post-doctoral researcher on social and ecological justice at the department of Urban and Rural Development under the mentorship of Professor Andrea Nightingale.

I am currently doing research on justice and conflict resolution in resource management as well as on the linkages between natural resources management and the development of authoritarian regimes.

I have professional experience in rural development mainly in Central America where I have been working between 2002 and 2010 with smallholder farmers, indigenous groups and international organisations.

I am particularly interested in exploring how radical social and environmental transformations towards justice and equity can emerge, and the role of scholar-activists in supporting the emergence of such transformations.


I have previously done teaching at the Central American University in Managua, Nicaragua and served as a teaching assistant at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary while I was doing my PhD. I have more recently been giving a few lectures at Cemus (Uppsala University) and SLU, both related to my research topics.


I am currently part of two research projects.

1) Exploring Governance Regimes through Agricultural Land Grabbing Dynamics funded by FORMAS

Land rights are human rights which are fundamental for achieving sustainable development. In this project, I start from the idea that in a context of rapid environmental changes and shrinking democracies across the world, agricultural land grabbing requires renewed discussions as new actors, as well as new instruments for possessing, expropriating, and challenging previous land controls emerge.

In this three-year project (2020-2022), I investigate to what extent agricultural land grabbing processes affecting rural areas are inserted in broader governance struggles over power relations and identities. I engage with questions concerning the relationship between State-making and land grabbing from a comparative North-South angle (Hungary/Nicaragua), an interdisciplinary standpoint (bridging feminist political ecology and scholarship on governance), a transdisciplinary perspective (with an action-research component), and with a focus on an understudied sector in the debate: agricultural areas in countries in political transition.

My research aims to:

(i) analyse the extent to which State-making is influencing transformations in national land tenure systems;

(ii) understand the effects of recent land politics, particularly on those farmers that are marginalised;

(iii) explore how sustainable land politics can be envisioned in contexts of deep political transitions.
The data collection include interviews, participatory mapping, citizen science data collection, and social network analysis.


2) Governing Climate Resilient Futures: Gender, justice and conflict resolution in resource management funded by VR. The principal investigator in this project is Prof. Andrea Nightingale.

This research probes the link between gender and social inequalities, conflict, and how they affect sustainable and resilient climate development pathways. By expanding the conceptualization of resilience to include a theory of change that embeds resilience within social-political relations, conflicts, and struggles over authority and rights, the project breaks new grounds: conceptualizing resilience as a sustainability outcome rather than a state; probing the causes of conflict and conflict resolution in environmental governance; and generating co-learning methodologies to tackle poverty and development challenges.

Empirically, the project develops case studies on the inter-related gendered, social, political and environmental causes of poverty and conflict in forest and water governance across three continents (in sectors crucial for poverty reduction, justice, and climate change adaptation and mitigation).

Our inter-disciplinary project is of direct relevance for Sweden’s development and climate change related efforts, and involves senior and junior researchers, and academic and non-academic institutions from Sweden and Kenya, Nepal and Nicaragua to build international cooperation and research capacities for promoting resilience, poverty alleviation and sustainability.

The project is implemented between 2019 and 2022.


Previous to my PhD degree, I completed two Master of Sciences degrees: one in Tropical Agriculture and Development from Montpellier SupAgro (France) and one in Agriculture from Bordeaux Sciences Agro (France). My initial training is in agricultural engineering (Bordeaux Sciences Agro). 



Gonda, N., Prado Córdova, J. P., Huybrechs, F., & Van Hecken, G. T. (2022). Exploring the Love Triangle of Authoritarianism, Populism, and COVID-19 Through Political Ecology: Time for a Break-Up? Frontiers in Human Dynamics, 4. doi:10.3389/fhumd.2022.653990


Ojha, H., Nightingale, A. J., Gonda, N., Muok, B. O., Eriksen, S., Khatri, D., & Paudel, D. (2022). Transforming environmental governance: critical action intellectuals and their praxis in the field. Sustainability Science. doi:10.1007/s11625-022-01108-z


Bori, P. J., & Gonda, N. (2022). Contradictory populist ecologies: Pro-peasant propaganda and land grabbing in rural Hungary. Political Geography, 102583. doi:


Garcia, A., Gonda, N., Atkins, E., Godden, N.J., Paiva Henrique,K., Parsons, M., Tschakert, P., Ziervogel, G. (2022). Power in resilience and resilience's power in climate change scholarship. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (e762). doi:


Nightingale, A., Gonda, N., & Eriksen, S. (2022). Affective adaptation = effective transformation? Shifting the politics of climate change adaptation and transformation from the status quo. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change(e740).



Professional experience

Supervision of Master’s students

Other experience

Collaboration with civil society organisations
10 year(s) - I worked with peasant organisations, indigenous groups as well as national and international NGOs in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala.
Collaboration with government agencies
10 year(s) -
Consultancy contracts
5 year(s) - I did consultancies for international NGOs and funders such as the European Commission, UNDP, IDRC, DFID, Agronomists and Veterinarians Without Borders, among other ones.
Lecturing and workshops

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