My current research focuses on how interactions among informal (bottom-up rules receiving tacit approval from the government but with no official mandates) and formal institutions in post socialist societies affect the perpetuation of non-sustainable development in arid and semi-arid climate zones such as Northwestern China and Central Asia. If the current trend of global warming continues, by 2040 most of this region will have 37% fewer glaciers due to melting, and this will lead to the disappearance of most of the oases in the region.
Since 2006, the Chinese Central government has invested more than $72 million to initiate sustainable development through top-down mobilization in Northwestern China. However, there has been fierce resistance from the peasant households and since the policy began three years ago, the implementation rate is less than 34% of that originally planned. Policies initiated by top-down mobilization seldom work in post-socialist countries.
As an activist and sociologist, I will devote my career to examining the conditions under which informal institutions can exist in non-democratic societies and how they can empower local residents to develop suitable strategies to combat environmental issues.