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Back | Programme Area: Social Dimensions of Sustainable Development

@ Rio+20 / ISEE Conference - The Social Dimensions of Markets in a Fair, Green Economy

Date: 17 Jun 2012

@ Rio+20 / ISEE Conference - The Social Dimensions of Markets in a Fair, Green Economy
This panel debates the social dimensions of market-based approaches to environmental protection and participation currently being promoted within a green economy framework. Speakers will discuss economic mechanisms (such as REDD+, PES and carbon markets) and voluntary standard setting, and will highlight their inherent tensions, including:
  • Winners and losers
  • Effective stakeholder participation
  • Policy coherence

Such an assessment is essential if Rio+20 is to promote transition paths that connect green economy, sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Agenda and Speakers

The Social Dimensions of Markets
Peter Utting, Deputy Director, UNRISD

Private actors often have the greatest capacity to shape and drive market solutions. How might market-based mechanisms associated with green economy best be governed? How might civil society be better involved in regulating markets and business? Drawing on recent UNRISD research, Peter Utting will appraise the role of civil regulation in shaping market relations, and the environmental and social performance of business actors. He will focus on activism targeting corporations, and a new generation of multistakeholder standard-setting initiatives.

Ecological Threats, New Promises of Sustainability, and the Evolving Political Economy of Land Use Change and Rural Development in Latin America
Laura Rival, Lecturer, University of Oxford

An examination of three programmes that offer a unique opportunity to study how coordinated, cooperative and integrated policy design works in practice:
  • Bolsa Floresta, a REDD/PES forest conservation scheme conceptualized, planned and implemented by Fundação Amazonas Sustentável in the state of Amazonas, Brazil.
  • Ecuador’s Yasuní Initiative, a unique example of government-led PES aimed at avoiding CO2 emissions by keeping oil in the ground.
  • Araçuai Sustentável, a grassroots project in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, which combats social exclusion through the dissemination of agroecological practices among poor small-scale farmers that restore soil fertility, and increase and diversify production thus providing viable economic alternatives to out-migration.

The Potential and Constraints on the Payment for Ecosystem Services Markets on Aboriginal Land in Cape York Peninsula
Michael Winer, Principle Researcher, Cape York Institute

The potential for PES schemes to improve social and welfare conditions in remote Australian indigenous communities is increasingly recognized, but a new approach to environmental management that involves participation by indigenous landowners is needed. This is because the current framework is failing on two fronts: delivering suboptimal environmental outcomes; and constraining the economic development aspirations of traditional owners. Current barriers preventing indigenous communities from participating in the Cape York Peninsula in PES markets—including environmental legislation and weak Aboriginal land and property rights—must be overcome.

Chair: Pascal van Griethuysen, Senior Lecturer, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies


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