My initial training was in cadastre and geodesy (B.Eng from the Distrital University, UD, Colombia). After earning my Master’s degree in Geography (UPTC, Colombia) in 2003, I worked for the “José Benito Vives de Andreis” marine and coastal research institute (INVEMAR) and for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Three years later, in 2006, I left Colombia to come to Canada, where I began a PhD in Geography with a specialization in modelling complex systems at Simon Fraser University (SFU), under the direction of Dr. Suzana Dragicevic (SAMLab). In my dissertation I examined the topic of spatial and temporal modelling of insect epidemics and their complex behaviours. After obtaining my PhD in 2011, I began postdoctoral studies at the University of British Columbia (2011) and the University of Victoria (2011-2013), where I worked on issues concerning the spatial and temporal relationships between changes in indirect indicators of biodiversity and climate change.
I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Montreal. My research interests center around the incorporation of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques into the development Agent-Based Models to solve complex socio-ecological problems in different kind of systems, such as urban, forest and wetland ecosystems.
The core of my research projects aim to learn more about spatial and temporal interactions and relationships driving changes in our world, by focusing on the multidisciplinary nature of geographical information science (GIScience) to investigate the relationships between ecological processes and resulting spatial patterns. I integrate spatial analysis and modeling approaches from geographic information science (GIScience) together with computational intelligence methods and complex systems approaches to provide insights into complex problems such as climate change, landscape ecology and forestry by explicitly representing phenomena in their geographic context.
Specialties: Agent-based modeling, GIScience, Complex socio-environmental systems, Forestry, Ecology
performance of urban water service provision, high levels of inequities and inefficiency persist. In terms of water distribution and cost, these undesirable patterns have a high impact on peri-urban areas usually populated by marginalized and poor populations. The high levels of Non-Revenue Water (NRW), together with the existence of corrupt practices and mismanagement of water utilities, remain a highly controversial issue.
This situation confronts rent-seeking theory directly, explaining the performance-corruption relationship (Repetto, 1986). The presumption is that low performance in water supply service provision results from corruption because rent-seeking occurs. Hence, the implementation of performance-oriented reforms in the water supply sector, such as regulation or private sector participation, will reduce corruption, increasing the efficiency of water service provision. Nevertheless, latest evidence shows that “key elements of good political governance have a positive effect on the access to water services in developing countries. In turn, private sector participation has little influence other than increasing internal efficiency of water providers” (Krausse, 2009).
Indeed the relation between governance, corruption and performance seems to be more complex than theory wants to acknowledge. It must be reviewed further than a simple cause-effect relationship. It appears that poor management of water utilities, evidenced by high levels of NRW, justifies new investments. Such practices can be encouraged by an “opportunistic management”, whilst at the same time maintaining an influential “hydrocratic elite” in the sphere of water control.
The present research proposal aims to understand the relation between mismanagement and corruption of water control practices in water supply service provision. The research examines how this relationship affects the performance of water service provision and relates to water supply governance models at municipal peri-urban level in three African countries.
To understand the mismanagement-corruption relationship, we look at different case studies of water supply service provision in Senegal, Ghana and Kenya. Each case represents a different governance model in terms of management practices, institutional and organizational settings, and the actors in place, which affects the performance of water service provision in terms of allocative efficiency and access to water (equity). Whether regulation, decentralization and private sector participation constitute possible ways to reduce corruption is examined in the context of water sector reform.
In a second step, we propose a theoretical model based on Agent Based Modelling (ABM) (Pahl-Wostl, 2007) to reproduce complex social networks under a Socio-Ecological System (SES) framework approach. The model will allow us to test whether collaborative governance in the form of collective action in a participatory and negotiated decision-making process for water control, can reduce corruption and increase performance.
The present research benefits from the project “Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa”. This project, carried out by Transparency International (TI) in 8 Sub-Saharan countries, aims to increase access to education, health and water by improving transparency and integrity in basic service delivery. The proposal retains focus on Senegal, Ghana and Kenya in the water sector.
Key words: water control, mismanagement, corruption, performance, collaborative governance, modelling, collective action, negotiation, participation
I discovered at the same time Agent-Based Modeling method and Companion Modelling approach during my master degrees (engeenering and artificial intelligence and decision) internship at CIRAD in 2005 and 2006 where I had the opportunity to participate as a modeller to a ComMod process (Farolfi et al., 2010).
Then, during my PhD in computer Science applied to Modeling and Simulation, I learned the Theory of Modeling and Simulation and the Discrete EVent System specification formalism and proposed a conceptual, formal and operational framework to evaluate simulation models based on the way models are used instead of their ability to reproduce the target system behavior (Bonté et al., 2012). Applied to the surveillance of Epidemics, this work was rather theoritical but very educative and structuring to formulate my further models and research questions about modeling and simulation.
From 2011 to 2013, I worked on viability theory applied to forest management at the Compex System Lab of Irstea (now Inrae) and learned about the interest of agregated models for analytical results (Bonté et al, 2012; Mathias et al, 2015).
Since 2013, I’m working for Inrae at the joint The Joint Research Unit “Water Management, Actors, Territories” (UMR G-EAU) where I’m involved in highly engaging interdisciplinary researches such as:
- The Multi-plateforme International Summer School about Agent Based Modelling and Simulation (MISSABMS)
- The development of the CORMAS (COmmon Pool Resources Multi-Agents Systems) agent-based modeling and simulation Platform (Bommel et al., 2019)
- Impacts of the adaptation to global changes using computerised serious games (Bonté et al., 2019; Bonté et al. , 2021)
- The use of experimentation to study social behaviors (Bonté et al. 2019b)
- The impact of information systems in SES trajectories (Paget et al., 2019a)
- Adaptation and transformations of traditional water management and infrastructures systems (Idda et al., 2017)
- Situational multi-agent approaches for collective irrigation (Richard et al., 2019)
- Combining psyhcological and economical experiments to study relations bewteen common pool resources situations, economical behaviours and psychological attitudes.
My research is about modelling and simulation of complex systems. My work is to use, and participate to the development of, integrative tools at the formal level (based on the Discrete EVent System Specification (DEVS) formalism), at the conceptual level (based on integrative paradigms of different forms such as Multi-Agents Systems paradigm (MAS), SES framework or viability theory), and at the level of the use of modelling and simulation for collective decision making (based on the Companion Modelling approach (ComMod)). Since 2013 and my integration in the G-EAU mixt research units, my object of studies were focused on multi-scale social and ecological systems, applied to water resource management and adaptation of territories to global change and I added experimentation to my research interest, developping methods combining agent-based model and human subjects actions.