Kei Otsuki

Visiting Research Fellow

  • Kei Otsuki
    UNU Center, 53-70, Jingumae 5-chome, Shibuya-ku 150-8925, Tokyo
    +81 3 5467-1352

    Research Interests

    • Community sustainable development
    • Development sociology


    Ph.D., Rural Development Sociology, Department of Social Sciences, Wageningen University
    M.Sc., Global Agricultural Sciences, Graduate School of Agricultural and Live Sciences, University of Tokyo

    Biographical Statement

    Educated as a sociologist in Japan and the Netherlands and trained as a fieldworker and development expert in Brazil, Kei’s research focuses on linking grassroots, social development to sustainable development and linking developed and developing regions. Her current research interests include capacity building in developing countries, especially in Latin America and Africa, impacts of intervention, collective action, and changing roles of state, market, and civil society.

    She believes that in order to promote sustainable development globally, international cooperation needs to seriously support and strengthen the social capacity and ‘multi-level governance’ of developing societies to define their own terms for local engagement with global sustainability. To this end, she is elaborating research projects on: urban governance in Nairobi, Kenya; rural innovation opportunities in Ghana; and environmental change and social policies in Brazil (also a comparative analysis of Latin America and Africa).

    She is also greatly interested in methodology, in particular the role of ethnographic field research, to clarify this changing process and how to convey findings from the micro-level research to larger policy forums.

  • Peer-reviewed Books

    • Otsuki, K. (2014) Transformative Sustainable Development: Participation, Reflection, and Change. London: Routledge – Earthscan, forthcoming.
    • Otsuki, K. (2013) Sustainable Development in Amazonia: Paradise in the Making. London: Routledge – Earthscan. (
    • Otsuki, K. Paradise in a Brazil Nut Cemetery: Sustainability Discourses and Social Action in Pará, the Brazilian Amazon. Wageningen: Wageningen University, 2007.

    Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

    • Otsuki, K. (2014) “Social Economy of Quality Food” International Journal of Social Economics 41(3), in press.
    • Otsuki, K. (2014) “Institutional innovation for improving farming practices and access to food” Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports, forthcoming.
    • Otsuki, K. (2013) “Ecological Rationality and Environmental Governance on the Agrarian Frontier: The Role of Religion in the Brazilian Amazon” Journal of Rural Studies 32: 411-419.
    • Otsuki, K. (2012) “Illegality in Settlement Heterotopias: A Study of Frontier Governance in the Brazilian Amazon” Environment and Planning D Society and Space 30(5): 896-912.
    • Otsuki, K. (2012) “Reflexivity in Participatory Development: Framing Community-Based Natural Resource Management on the Amazon Frontier” Human Organization 71(2): 200-210.
    • Otsuki, K. Sustainable Development Interfaces: A Case of NGO Project Process in Pará. Novos Cadernos NAEA, vol. 13, no. 1, 2010 (forthcoming).
    • Otsuki, K. The Global Environment as Life-worlds: On the Meanings of Sustainable Development. Desenvolvimento e Meio Ambiente 20, pp. 103-117 (Available online:, 2009.
    • Ros-Tonen, M. A. F., Andel, T., Morsello, C., Otsuki, K., Rosendo, S, and Sholz, I. Partnerships for Sustainable Forest Management and Good Forest Governance: Scenarios to Move beyond Reduced Impact Logging in the Brazilian Amazon. Forest Ecology and Management 256, pp. 1482-1497, 2008.
    • Otsuki, K. A Case Study on Land Property Concentration on the Brazilian Eastern Amazon Frontier in the 1990s. Japanese Journal of Tropical Agriculture 47(3), pp. 155-161, 2003a.
    • Otsuki, K. Global Commodities with Local Value: Non-Timber Forest Product Development in the Brazilian Amazon. European Tropical Forest Research Network News, 39/40, pp. 32-34, 2003b.

    Technical Papers, Policy Briefs, etc

    • Otsuki, K., Gera, W., and Mungai, D. (2013) Multi-Actor Approaches to Total Sanitation in Africa, Policy Brief 8, United Nations University Press, in press.
    • Otuski, K. (2013) “What Sanitation Means in Nairobi Slums” Solutions Journal 4(5), available at:
    • Otsuki, K. (2012) “The Local Food Revolution in Brazil’s Schools” Solutions Journal 3(6), available at: – reprinted in Al Jazeera:
    • Bell, S. and Otsuki, K. (2012) “Public Participation: Civic Action for Sustainable Development and State Engagement”, International Sustainable Development Research Society Newsletter 2, July.
    • Otsuki, K., Turner, N., and Suzuki, M. (eds) (2012) Climate-Ecosystem Changes, Global Health and Human Wellbeing in West Africa, Final Report of the International Workshop on Improving Human Health Conditions and Resilience to Climate Change in Ghana, United Nations University/Tokyo Medical and Dental University.
    • Otsuki, K. (2012) “Environmental Management: Boosting Research in Cambodia” United Nations University web article, available at:
    • Eliyan, C., Takahashi, S., Otsuki, K. and Rimberg, A. (eds) (2011) Proceedings: Dissemination Workshop on Environmental Research Findings, Department of Environmental Science, Royal University of Phnom Penh.

    Other Publications (Conference Proceedings, etc)

    • Otsuki, K. (2013) “Individual Reflexivity, Household Coping and Community Resilience in Northern Ghana” The 73rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Denver, USA, 19-23 March.
    • Botelho, M. I. and Otsuki, K. (2012) “I Made a Pact with God, with Nature and with Myself: Agroecological Practices of Smallholders in Minas Gerais, Brazil” World Congress of Rural Sociology, Lisbon, Portugal, 29 July – 4 August.
    • Otsuki, K. (2012) “Participation and Transformative Sustainable Development” The 18th Annual International Sustainable Development Research Conference, University of Hull, Hull, UK, 24-26 June.