Short Bio​​​​​​​​

I am associate professor and programme director at the Institute of Development Policy (IOB), University of Antwerp, Belgium, and associate researcher at Nitlapan-UCA (Universidad Centroamericana), Nicaragua. I hold a PhD in Development Studies (University of Antwerp), and have an academic background in Environmental Sciences and in Economics.

During the past fifteen years I have spent a lot of time in Nicaragua, working as a researcher on social and environmental justice, and previously as the country representative for the Belgian NGO Broederlijk Delen, working with farmer and feminist movements on social-environmental transformations. During these years I have worked closely with several organizations, such as the research and development institute Nitlapan-UCA, various grassroots farmer and environmental movements, as well as with several governmental and academic institutions (e.g. Universidad Centroamericana (UCA)). Currently, I am also Board Member of Oxfam Belgium.


Research interests

My research focuses on social-environmental justice in transformations to sustainability, on the politics of knowledge in (global) environmental discourses and practices, on critiques of green colonialism and uneven ecological exchange, neoliberal natures and green economy/ecomodernism, on alternative (transformational) paradigms, social movements and processes related to post-development and degrowth, as well as on other processes of (re)imagining and (re)enacting alternative social-ecological futures. More specifically, I focus on the social and environmental justice aspects of climate change and biodiversity policies in contexts of 'sustainable development', such as carbon and biodiversity markets, payments for ecosystem services (PES), and green finance. My theoretical approach is interdisciplinary and draws largely from the fields of political ecology, critical geography, social ecology, environmental humanities and (social) ecological economics.

Much of my research has focused on Central- and South America, using different strategies mostly inspired by processes of transformative and participatory action research (see for example a video on our experiences in Nicaragua). I am particularly interested in understanding and connecting social and environmental (in)justices from an intersectional perspective (with attention to the roles of class, gender, and race) across different geographies, considering local histories, environmental politics, and global policy discussions across global conjunctural moments to bring into conversation both the similarities and differences across different places and spaces. A key focus in my research is bridging experiences from the so-called "Global South" in transforming European policies towards more just and legitimate social and ecological transformation.

I am currently also project coordinator for a long-term institutional collaboration between our institute and Nitlapan-UCA (Nicaragua), the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar (Ecuador) and the Pontifica Universidad Javeriana (Colombia).

Here you can find an overview of the research projects I am currently involved in.


At the IOB I teach the following courses:

At the UAntwerp level I coordinate the yearly Debating Development series.

I am also involved as a lecturer in some of the teaching programs organized at our partner institutes in Central America.


Key publications

I have published several book chapters, opinion pieces, policy briefs, and research articles in a diversity of outlets (for a full overview see my publication profile on University of Antwerp or GoogleScholar).​

Some contributions to opinion pieces / public debate include:

    In English or international media:

    In Dutch:

Some academic publications include:​

  • Muradian, R., M. Arsel, L. Pellegrini, F. Adaman, B. Aguilar, B. Agarwal, E. Corbera, D. Ezzine de Blas, J. Farley, G. Froger, E. Garcia-Frapolli, E. Gómez-Baggethun; J. Gowdy, N. Kosoy, J.F. Le Coq, P. Leroy, P. May, P. Méral, P. Mibielli, R. Norgaard, B. Ozkaynak, U. Pascual, W. Pengue, M. Perez, D. Pesche, R. Pirard, J. Ramos-Martin, L. Rival, F. Saenz, G. Van Hecken, A. Vatn, B. Vira and K. Urama (2013) Payments for Ecosystem Services and the fatal attraction of win-win solutions, Conservation Letters 6(4): 274-279.

A copy of my doctoral dissertation on critical institutional approaches to analyze the on-the-ground social and political effects of market-based conservation mechanisms can be downloaded here.