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Vasna Ramasar is currently a Senior Lecturer in Human Ecology and a Research Fellow in Sustainability Science at the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) in Sweden. She was born and raised in South Africa, a dynamic country, where she learnt important lessons of freedoms, people’s roles in nature and about inequality. She has 10 years research, consulting and teaching experience across southern and eastern Africa, Asia, Europe and north America. In the past, her work has focused on water governance, environmental assessment and policy, HIV/AIDS and the environment and sustainability but being a generalist at heart, she is most interested trying to understand the big picture of how people and planetary dynamics come together and the complexity of these interactions.

Current Research   

Her work is framed within the broad field of political ecology and she seeks to bring an interdisciplinary perspective to questions of development and sustainability. She has recently focused her research on the politics of scale within development and environmental governance in the areas of the energy crisis, health and the environment and water governance. She is particularly interesting in the implications of governance for sustainability on justice and fairness.

Key Areas of Expertise   

Development and sustainability  Politics of sustainability  Environmental governance  Justice and human rights  Environmental assessment and management  Health and the environment  Environmental policy

Project management   

Her PhD research focused on the political economy of water and how cross-scalar interactions influence inequitable water allocations.


Vasna Ramasar teaches, supervises and examines students at undergraduate and Masters level in courses covering environmental governance, development and sustainability, health, theory of science, and sustainability science. She has been the course co-ordinator for the Culture, Power and Sustainability masters programme thesis course and supervised over twenty students in Human Ecology and Environmental Management and Sustainability Science as well as co-supervising doctoral candidates in Human Ecology and Water Engineering.


Journal articles 

  • MacGregor, F., Ramasar, V., & Nicholas, K. A. (2017). Problems with Firm-Led Voluntary Sustainability Schemes: The Case of Direct Trade Coffee. Sustainability, 9(4), 651.
  • Warlenius, R., Pierce, G., and Ramasar, V. (2015) Reversing the arrow of arrears: The concept of “ecological debt” and its value for environmental justice. Global Environmental Change, 30, 21-30.
  • Meissner, R. and Ramasar, V. (2014) Governance and Politics in the Upper Limpopo River Basin, South Africa. Epub ahead of print 18 August 2014. DOI: 10.1007/s10708-014-9589-z.
  • Gabrielsson, S. and Ramasar, V. (2013) Widows: Agents of change in a climate of uncertainty, Journal of Cleaner Production, 60(1), 34-42.
  • Nastar, M. and Ramasar, V. (2012) Transition in South African water governance: Insights from a perspective on power, Ecological Innovation and Societal Transitions, vol. 4, 7-24
  • Muller, EA; Pretorius, R; Ramasar, V; Patrick, MJ; Will, C and Binedell, M. (2006). Reporting on the State of the Environment: South African Experiences. Journal of Environmental Assessment, Policy and Management 8 (2) 111-134.

Book chapters   

  • Hansen, M., Ramasar, V. and Buchanan, K. (2014) Localising global environmental governance norms: implications for justice In Sowman, M. and Wynberg, R. Environmental Governance for Social Justice—Lessons Across Natural Resource Sectors in Southern Africa, Routledge, Cape Town
  • Ramasar V. & Patrick M. (2007) Scenarios – Alternative futures? In: CSIR (2007) Enhancing the effectiveness of SEA in South Africa, CSIR Publication, South Africa
  • Ramasar V. & Erskine S. (2002) HIV/AIDS: Africa’s Development Crisis? In: Baijnath H. & Singh Y. (eds) Rebirth of Science in Africa: A shared visions for life and environmental sciences, Umdaus Press, Hatfield, South Africa
  • Ashton P. & Ramasar V. (2002) Water and HIV/AIDS: Some Strategic Considerations In: Turton A. & Henwood R. (eds) Hydropolitics in the developing world: A South African Perspective, p. 217 235. African Water Issues Research Unit, Pretoria


  • Ramasar V and Mashiri M. (2004) A Literature Review of HIV/AIDS and the Transport Sector in South Africa: A Focus on Community Responses, International Forum for Rural Transport and Development & CSIR, UK Department for International Development Project.
  • Ramasar V, Madonsela N, Munster F and Naicker I (2003) Guidelines for the Environmental Assessment of Coastal Mining, SEACAM, Mozambique, 141pp
  • Audouin, M., Govender, K., & Ramasar, V. (2003). Guidelines for Strategic Environmental Assessment. Published by The Secretariat for Eastern African Coastal Area Management (SEACAM), Maputo, Mozambique
  • Ramasar V (2002) Environmental Assessment of Coastal Mining: A short guide for policy makers, SEACAM, Mozambique, 14pp

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