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Safeguarding nature and people: Integrating economics, politics, and human rights to transform biodiversity policies and governance
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7657-3102
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

None of the world’s biodiversity goals from the last decade were fully met, as biodiversity losses are occurring at an unprecedented rate. Policies are not always effective; their use may have adverse effects on people and nature. Biodiversity offsets are an example of a policy that can be used to protect and restore biodiversity loss from economic development. Yet, offsets have been criticized for poor ecological outcomes, commodifying nature, and creating social inequality. To address this challenge, we need to learn from the shortcomings of biodiversity policies and governance as new goals are being drafted under the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

This thesis examines how biodiversity policies can be designed and implemented for effective and equitable outcomes for people and biodiversity. I focus on the design (Paper I) and implementation (Paper II) by examining economic instruments in conservation. I then broaden to the governance landscape by analysing the implementation of policies in national (Paper III) and international regulatory contexts (Paper IV).

The 4 papers cover a diversity of cases across the globe at different governance levels. Paper I conducted a policy analysis of offsets from six countries (Australia, England, Germany, Madagascar, South Africa, and the US), through an economic framing of biodiversity trading and institutional arrangements. Paper II reviewed market instruments for conservation, ecotourism and sport hunting in eastern and southern Africa, to analyse whether these instruments can be compatible with new ideas for conservation such as conviviality. Paper III investigated the politics around Mekong hydropower development, through multi-stakeholder interviews and a discourse analysis of the social and environmental impacts of a dam in Laos. Paper IV examined the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and how review mechanisms of human rights law can improve compliance.

This thesis highlights that a human rights-based approach provides important conceptual and political support for biodiversity governance. It contributes to the science-policy interface with these insights. First, the institutional design and implementation are as important for the outcomes as the type of policy. In economic policies such as offsets, a high involvement of the market does not influence the level of commensurability, but increases the degree of commodification. Second, the contextual factors (politics and power relations) of policies should be acknowledged to address inequality. An institutional design and implementation that ensures meaningful participation and a balance of power is crucial for effective and equitable outcomes. Review mechanisms used in human rights help to navigate power inequities, by ensuring that all rights-holders have a substantial voice.

Third, offsets can be designed with different institutional arrangements (state, market, voluntary). If a market approach is chosen with biodiversity trading, effective monitoring and regulation is needed to safeguard biodiversity. Lastly, to foster compliance with policies, management and enforcement approaches can be used in a complementary manner through positive incentives, sunshine methods, and negative incentives. Overall, this thesis provides insights of how to meet our global goals for protecting and restoring biodiversity, while safeguarding people and nature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University , 2022. , p. 53
Keywords [en]
global environmental governance, human rights review mechanisms, biodiversity offsets, commensurability, commodification, economic instruments, transformations, Convention on Biological Diversity, compliance, safeguards
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-200666ISBN: 978-91-7911-752-8 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7911-753-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-200666DiVA, id: diva2:1626662
Public defence
2022-02-24, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20 and online via Zoom, public link is available at the department website, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2016-01556Available from: 2022-02-01 Created: 2022-01-11 Last updated: 2022-02-25Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. How much of a market is involved in a biodiversity offset? A typology of biodiversity offset policies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How much of a market is involved in a biodiversity offset? A typology of biodiversity offset policies
2019 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Management, ISSN 0301-4797, E-ISSN 1095-8630, Vol. 232, p. 679-691Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Biodiversity offsets (BO) are increasingly promoted and adopted by governments and companies worldwide as a policy instrument to compensate for biodiversity losses from infrastructure development projects. BO are often classified as 'market-based instruments' both by proponents and critics, but this representation fails to capture the varieties of how BO policies actually operate. To provide a framing for understanding the empirical diversity of BO policy designs, we present an ideal-typical typology based on the institutions from which BO is organised: Public Agency, Mandatory Market and Voluntary Offset. With cross-case comparison and stakeholder mapping, we identified the institutional arrangements of six BO policies to analyse how the biodiversity losses and gains are decided. Based on these results, we examined how these six policies relate to the BO ideal types. Our results suggested that the government, contrary to received wisdom, plays a key role not just in enforcing mandatory policies but also in determining the supply and demand of biodiversity units, supervising the transaction or granting legitimacy to the compensation site. Mandatory BO policies can be anything from pure government regulations defining industry liabilities to liability-driven markets where choice sets for trading credits are constrained and biodiversity credit prices are negotiated under state supervision. It is important to distinguish between two processes in BO: the matching of biodiversity losses and gains (commensurability) and the trading of biodiversity credits (commodification). We conclude that the commensurability of natural capital is restricted in BO policies; biodiversity is always exchanged with biodiversity. However, different degrees of commodification are possible, depending on the policy design and role of price signals in trading credits. Like payments for ecosystem services, the price of a biodiversity credit is most commonly based on the cost of management measures rather than the 'value' of biodiversity; which corresponds to a low degree of commodification.

Keywords
Ecological compensation, Commensurability, Commodification, Market-based instrument, Habitat banking, Wetland mitigation
National Category
Economics and Business Political Science Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-167529 (URN)10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.11.080 (DOI)000459845200075 ()30522073 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2019-04-23 Created: 2019-04-23 Last updated: 2022-03-23Bibliographically approved
2. Compatible with Conviviality? Exploring African Ecotourism and Sport Hunting for Transformative Conservation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Compatible with Conviviality? Exploring African Ecotourism and Sport Hunting for Transformative Conservation
2023 (English)In: Conservation and Society, ISSN 0972-4923, E-ISSN 0975-3133, Vol. 21, no 1, p. 38-47Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent decades have shown the increased popularity of market-based instruments (MBIs) for conservation despite mixed social and ecological outcomes. This paper explores the extent to which two crucial MBIs, namely, ecotourism and sport hunting, are compatible with 'convivial conservation', a novel, integrated approach that explores conservation beyond capitalism. We developed an analytical framework of five key features for transformative change that can potentially contribute to conviviality: access and property rights, benefit-sharing, value operationalisation, institutional arrangements, and decision-making processes. We analysed the use of ecotourism and sport hunting in southern and eastern Africa in relation to the five features. Based on 'radical incremental transformation', we applied these features to analyse if, and if so how, incremental changes to these MBIs can be supportive in transitioning conservation towards (further) conviviality. With insights from our extensive research experiences in eastern and southern Africa, we highlight that the institutional design and contextual factors determining power relations are often more important than the choice of instrument in influencing its social and ecological outcomes. In conclusion, we propose a shift in the dialogue on conservation beyond its infatuation with commodification by integrating convivial elements into the design of conservation policies.

Keywords
Benefit-sharing, Conviviality, Institutions, Market-based instruments, Transformation
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-200662 (URN)10.4103/cs.cs_42_21 (DOI)000933490000004 ()2-s2.0-85149653975 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-01-10 Created: 2022-01-10 Last updated: 2023-03-29Bibliographically approved
3. Is there a role for social and environmental safeguards? Hydropolitics and discourses of hydropower in Lao PDR
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Is there a role for social and environmental safeguards? Hydropolitics and discourses of hydropower in Lao PDR
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Hydropower development is booming along the Mekong river, with Lao PDR producing and exporting electricity to its neighbouring countries. The Nam Theun 2 dam in Laos is an influential case of applying safeguards, being used to justify support for other large dams. We unpack the narratives used by various stakeholders to frame hydropower development and their social-environmental impacts. We explore how different stakeholders perceive the role of safeguards in mitigating social and environmental impacts from development projects. Based on a review of policy documents and grey literature, as well as interviews from key stakeholders, we conduct a discourse analysis of the narratives around hydropower and safeguards. Our findings suggested four main narratives were used by various constellations of stakeholders: Green Neoliberalism and Green Governmentality to legitimize, Ecological Modernization to operationalize, and Green Radicalism to criticize hydropower policies. Whereas green radicalism is often associated with over-consumption, this study suggests that green radicalism in lower-income countries highlights the marginalisation of local communities and inadequacy of conventional development models. We also demonstrated the influence of dominant discourses such as ecological modernization and green neoliberalism on shaping societal perspectives on hydropower in Laos. 

Keywords
governance, discourses, dams, compensation, Mekong, Southeast Asia
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-200664 (URN)
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2016-01556, 2019-01078
Available from: 2022-01-10 Created: 2022-01-10 Last updated: 2022-01-25Bibliographically approved
4. Mind the Compliance Gap: How Insights from International Human Rights Mechanisms Can Help to Implement the Convention on Biological Diversity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mind the Compliance Gap: How Insights from International Human Rights Mechanisms Can Help to Implement the Convention on Biological Diversity
2022 (English)In: Transnational Environmental Law, ISSN 2047-1025, E-ISSN 2047-1033, Vol. 11, no 1, p. 39-67Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Humanity is at a crossroads inaddressingbiodiversity loss. Several assessments have reported on the weak compliance with the Aichi Biodiversity Targets by the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). To address this lack of compliance, the challenges in implementing and enforcingCBDobligations must be understood. Key implementation challenges of the CBD are identified through a content analysis of policy documents, multi-stakeholder interviews, and participant observation at the recent CBD Conference of the Parties. Building on this analysis, the article explores the extent to which the review mechanisms of international human rights law, with their various strategies for eliciting compliance, can help to improve CBDmechanisms. The findings of this article reveal insights that the CBD can draw from international human rights law to address these compliance challenges, such as facilitating the participation of civil society organizations to provide specific input, and engaging independent biodiversity experts to assess implementation. The article concludes that insights fromhuman rights review mechanisms are useful for improving the emerging peer reviewmechanismof the CBD, which is important for strengthening accountability within the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Keywords
Accountability, Human rights review mechanisms, Gender equality, Human right to a healthy environment, Convention on Biological Diversity, Post-2020 global biodiversity framework
National Category
Law and Society
Research subject
Sustainability Science; Environmental Law; International Law
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-199912 (URN)10.1017/s2047102521000169 (DOI)000766278100003 ()2-s2.0-85112476155 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2016-01556, 2019-01078
Available from: 2021-12-17 Created: 2021-12-17 Last updated: 2022-05-06Bibliographically approved

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