Melisa Deciancio and Pablo Mc Clay participated in the FEWSUS 2022 Annual Conference, “Circular Bioeconomy Systems For Urban-Rural Co-Prosperity”, organized in Buenos Aires, from November 30 to December 2, 2022. Melisa participated as keynote speaker with the presentation “The role of State and Public Policies in the Development of the Bioeconomy in Argentina”, and Pablo presented his research on “Value Chain Transformations in the Transition to a Sustainable Bioeconomy” in the Workshop “Society-Smart Governance of Circular Bioeconomy”.
On November 23, 2022, SABio hosted a panel webinar, “Innovation networks and local value addition in South American bioeconomies: public-private alliances for a sustainable insertion into the global economy”, moderated and organized by SABio researcher, Dr. Melisa Deciancio (Uni Münster) with co-moderation from SABio researcher Pablo Mac Clay (Uni Bonn) and co-organized with support from SABio Research Group Leaders, Drs. Karen Siegel (Uni Münster) and Jorge Sellare (Uni Bonn).
Three panel experts from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay shared examples, perspectives and highlighted the current realities of the Bioeconomy innovation ecosystems in their respective countries. Forty-five attendees from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, the US, Germany, Ireland and Denmark tuned in to the event with simultaneous interpretation provided in English, Portuguese and Spanish.
Victoria Santos, head of Decarbonization at the Insituto Clima e Sociedade (iCS), highlighted that while Brazil is home to established industries with specialization in use of biomass and waste streams in biorefinery applications (Sugar, Pulp and Paper, and Oranges), the country’s immense biodiversity and other biobased production chains have been overlooked and under researched for value-added opportunities. Existing waste streams may provide opportunities for fiber, plant-based protein or biochemical applications. A critical hurdle to Brazil’s bioeconomic innovation ecosystem is a lack of funding for entrepreneurs and start-ups trying to prototype and pilot products. Victoria coined these product development stages as the Brazilian bioeconomy’s “Valley of Death” which must be addressed.
Isabel Bortagaray from Uruguay’s Universidad de la República, shared the experiences, successes and challenges resulting from two bioeconomic initiatives. Although these initiatives attained high levels of private sector involvement and public institutional research support, a lack of communication space and time for stakeholders to engage, communicate problems and share knowledge emerged as barriers to innovation. Moreover, narrow and sectoral focused understandings of the bioeconomy emerged as a common obstacle to Uruguay’s bioeconomic development. Changing perspectives to that of Bioeconomies (plural), which embrace multi-dimensional and complex connections of bioeconomic activities and aspects of sustainability, is a necessary paradigm shift for achieving innovation.
Rafael Anta, from the division of Competitivity, Technology and Innovation at the Interamerican Development Bank shared perspectives on bioeconomic innovation and development opportunities throughout Latin America (LATAM) and insertion in the global context. Foremost, bioeconomic policy must contend with factors at multiple levels. Biomass and infrastructure are local, regulation is national, R&D tends to be international and biomass trade is global. In terms of education throughout LATAM, an increased emphasis on bioprospecting in the life sciences as well as increased funding for bioprospecting activities are desperately needed. Furthermore, public policies with strategies are ineffective without funding that supports entrepreneurship and providing the tools that entrepreneurs need, such as biorefinery infrastructure, biological materials and reagents. Following the panel presentations, a robust Q&A session ensued where the panelists and audience members highlighted cross-cutting issues facing bioeconomic development in the three focus countries and more broadly throughout LATAM. Firstly, public policies must reflect the complexity and broad scope of all that is entailed in the bioeconomy and the multi-dimensionality of sustainability. Bioeconomy policies do not belong to one ministry, but rather in an inter-ministerial policy framework that incorporates specificities from the local, national to regional levels. Secondly, funding is crucial, especially in the prototype and piloting stages of bio-based products. Without adequate funding and support for entrepreneurs at these stages, LATAM countries – including Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay – will miss out on their bioeconomic development potential.
The event was recorded and is available for viewing in English, Portuguese and Spanish.
On October 20th, the University of Münster hosted the Sustainability Day “Campus Earth” for the first time. From now on this action day is planned to be an annual event at the University. The programme includes lectures, citizen dialogues, workshops and mobile laboratories to gain insights into the interdisciplinary research linked to a sustainability transformation. Within this framework, various WWU institutions, organisations and research groups presented themselves and their current projects to the public.
The SABio research group participated in this event by presenting their work during the day at the exhibition space and organizing an open discussion round on the topics of bioeconomy and sustainability. This World Café was organized together with the Brazil Centre, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Sustainability Research (ZIN) and the Institutes of Political Science and Landscape Ecology.
The event aimed to debate topics such as resource dependencies and the sustainability performance of bioeconomies in South America. More specifically, the World Café aimed to open a debate about problems and possible solutions of bio-based transformations in South America. The participants were invited to question their own roles and talk about international interconnections. To facilitate the exchange of the participants with various backgrounds, each participant had the opportunity to speak in their language of preference (German, English, Spanish or Portuguese). Still, in the end, everyone was able to communicate in English and only smaller translations had to be provided.
A total of 10-15 people not only of different languages but also of different age groups participated in the World Café. After a short introduction by Dr Karen Siegel (Head of the research group in political science at the University of Münster and ZIN member) and Prof. Tillmann Buttschardt (ZIN and Institute of Landscape Ecology, University of Münster), the three early-career researchers of the SABio group in political science gave short inputs about their work.
The presentations opened three discussion rounds, focusing on current debates on bio-based transformations in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. The participants then discussed these questions at three different tables together with the researchers present and the results were captured on post-its. After the first round of discussion, the participants changed places so that new group constellations could be formed, which positively affected the discussions and the results achieved, as new perspectives and experiences could be shared. Finally, the post-its were attached to flipcharts after each discussion round, creating a “result gallery“. After the event, participants were able to look at all the important keywords from the three discussion rounds and continue the debate informally. In the first round, the participants discussed the broad concept of bioeconomies and talked about the opportunities and potential to foster sustainability, based on Dr Melisa Deciancio`s presentation and the case of Argentina. More specifically, concerns about the increase in monocultures and the use of pesticides were shared during the exchange of thoughts. This led to a debate regarding the role of international regulations and certifications which may present possible solutions, but not without challenges. Matching this topic, the participants were able to discuss the role of certifications, such as the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, or other possible measures for more sustainability in the forestry sector during the second round. As a basis for this, Daniel Kefeli illustrated the sustainability challenges of the pulp industry and the associated forestry sector in Uruguay. The attendees highlighted the lack of monitoring mechanisms and transparency of the certification process regarding different private and public actors. Moreover, they criticized the high costs of certifications which compromises the accessibility of the labels. Finally, the last roundtable discussion was guided by Guilherme de Queiroz-Stein and focused on the concept of socio-biodiversity and case studies from Brazil. In particular, the participants talked about possible ways to ensure the inclusion and protection of indigenous people. They came up with possible solutions like land rights and financial compensations for affected populations. Furthermore, the responsibilities of the consumer, the local state, and the international organisation were discussed in that context. To close the event, Anja Grecko Lorenz, managing director of the WWU Brazil Centre, provided an overview of cooperation possibilities.
SABIO supports the program “Amazônia Bioeconomy Connections” a partnership for technology, innovations, and sustainability in the Amazon Rain Forest led by Brazilian Embassy in Berlin, Germany. Between August and October 2022, SABIO senior researcher Jan Börner was part of the committee that selected four Amazonian startups from an initial pool of 87 applicants. The selected initiatives will be offered support to identify and establish contact with potential German partners and the possibility to visit Germany.
For more information see: https://www.bioeconomy-connections.com/en
November 23rd, 10:00-12:00 (Buenos Aires/Montevideo/Brasilia) / 14:00-16:00 (Berlin)
- Anabel Marin, Institute of Development studies, UK, CONICET Argentina
- Victoria Santos, Instituto SENAI de Innovación en Biosintéticos y Fibras, Brazil
- Isabel Bortagaray, Instituto de Desarrollo Sostenible, Innovación e Inclusión Social, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
- Rafael Anta, Technology and Innovation Competitiveness, IADB
Chair: Melisa Deciancio, SABio Project, University of Münster, CONICET Argentina
Organisation: Dr Melisa Deciancio, Dr Karen Siegel (both University of Münster) and Dr Jorge Sellare (University of Bonn)
Contact: Dr. Melisa Deciancio, email@example.com
Entre os dias 01 e 03 de setembro de 2022, os pesquisadores do SABio, Prof. Dr. Jan Börner, Dr. Jorge Sellare e Me. Guilherme de Queiroz Stein, participaram da GreenRio, na cidade do Rio de Janeiro. A GreenRio é uma plataforma de negócios sustentáveis, que reúne diversos stakeholders para debater temas estratégicos para o desenvolvimento e a sustentabilidade da bioeconomia brasileira. Entre os temas de destaque, estavam a busca de soluções para insegurança alimentar, novas políticas públicas para inovação em bioeconomia, os potenciais da socio-biodiversidade brasileira, os regimes de propriedade intelectual e as contribuições da bioeconomia para a segurança energética e para ações em prol da saúde humana. Além disso, foi possível conferir de perto novos negócios e políticas públicas, visitando os estandes de startups e órgãos governamentais. Assim, o evento foi um importante espaço para apresentar as pesquisas realizadas por nosso grupo de pesquisa, conhecer mais da diversa realidade que configura a bioeconomia brasileira e estabelecer novas redes com atores governamentais e acadêmicos e com representantes de organizações internacionais e do setor privado.
Um dos pontos altos do evento foi o German-Brazilian Bioeconomy Workshop, que discutiu a cooperação entre Brasil e Alemanha e seus potenciais para promover uma bioeconomia sustentável nos dois países. Esse workshop contou com a presença do Dr. Tilman Schachtsiek, representando a Agência de Recursos Renováveis (Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe – FNR) do Ministério da Agricultura da Alemanha (Bundesministeriums für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft – BMEL), entidades responsáveis pelo financiamento do SABio. Também, contou com a participação do Dr. Jorge Sellare e do Prof. Dr. Jan Börner, que apresentaram alguns dos principais resultados das pesquisas realizadas pelo SABio entre 2020 e 2022. Tanto o workshop, quanto os demais debates ocorridos na conferência foram registrados e podem ser acessados no canal do YouTube. Confira no link abaixo:
by Marie Podien and Karen Siegel
Justification for business as usual or potential for change?
This was the question that a group of international scholars from Latin America, Europe and Asia discussed in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals at a double panel at the annual conference of the Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS) held at the University of Leicester, UK, back in 2019. A few years and several rounds of revisions later, some of the findings of the discussions have now been published in a special issue of the Bulletin of Latin American Research edited by Karen Siegel and Mairon Bastos Lima.
Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has pledged to “leave no one behind” and adopted the SDGs as its key framework. However, the SDGs are not legally binding and they can be prioritised, interpreted and implemented in different ways, and there is likely to be significant variation between countries and topics. While the emphasis of the SDGs on participation and inclusive decision-making may represent an opportunity for positive change, this cannot be taken for granted. How Latin American countries address the SDGs (or not), fostering a transformation towards inclusive and peaceful sustainable development or attempt to justify business as usual remains an important empirical inquiry in the current social and political context. The question of how to promote development that meets social and economic objectives in Latin America while being environmentally sustainable and peaceful is therefore a long-standing and contested challenge.
This topic is discussed in the special issue “Quo Vadis, Latin America? Human Rights, Environmental Governance and the Sustainable Development Goals”. The special issue consists of five articles,focusing on how environmental governance intersects with inequality, social exclusion and human rights in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals in Latin America. Three of the five papers investigate the role of the SDGs concerning human rights and environmental issues in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. Mairon Bastos Lima (Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden) and Karen Da Costa (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) examine the Bolsonaro government and its impacts on environmental issues. They expose misgovernance under the Bolsonaro administration regarding social inclusion and environmental politics. Nonetheless, the SDGs provide a tool for civil society to address and critique the missing environmental policies of the government. Despite that, because they are not legally binding the SDGs are not a strong mechanism to enforce implementation, and governments can use them as it suits them. The same problems can be found in Chile, as David Jofré (Research Center for Integrated Disaster Risk Management, Chile) describes. Civil society, and in particular grassroots groups that are critical of neoliberal extractivism as a development strategy, frequently feel excluded from public policymaking regarding environmental issues and many environmental activists do not trust the mechanisms of citizen participation. It will be interesting to follow how this plays out in a changing political context. Under Boric the Chilean government attempted to involve more diverse actors with a ministerial cabinet dominated by young women and including climate scientists, members of LGBTI+ and indigenous communities. At the same time, contradictions persist for example when politicians who preach climate consciousness hold their own private water rights and shares in extractive companies. It is perhaps a result of such contradictions that grassroot mobilizations are a very common form of resistance. The article by Lucas Christel and Elisabeth Möhle (both National University of San Martin, Argentina) about Argentina also examines different interpretations and valuations of sustainability and shows how this can lead to protracted conflicts which then negatively impact on possibilities for environmental governance. Their research also shows that the SDGs are not a strong mechanism for accountability and governments can just focus on the preferred goals and at the same time disregard others. Despite the different political systems, social and environmental problems, and applications of the SDGs in Latin America, the three research papers all conclude that the SDGs are not sufficient for fighting social and environmental issues and addressing long-standing inequalities. What is often missing is an integration and broader participation of civil society during governance processes. This in turn leads to problems and tensions in political systems and environmental governance.
The remaining two articles concentrate more broadly on the processes of sustainability politics and histories in Latin America. Both articles also discuss the role of European actors, with respect to the consequences of colonization or policy influence. Julia McClure (University of Glasgow, UK) expands on issues between indigenous communities in Mexico and the expansion of commercial interests disregarding indigenous property rights despite the efforts for a transition to more sustainable development. These tensions started with the imperialism of the Spanish Empire and are still relevant today and often use legal processes to acknowledge the rights of indigenous people but at the same time undermine their long-term interests. These problems also arise with the extraction of new green energy resources, so that existing attempts for a sustainability transformation often do not include social issues and still have significant impacts on indigenous communities including also their property rights. In the last article, the SABio research group in Political Science (University of Münster, Germany) led by Karen Siegel with Melisa Deciancio, Daniel Kefeli, Guilherme de Queiroz-Stein and Thomas Dietz examine to what extent and in which ways bioeconomy development fosters or hinders an inclusive sustainability transition. Three case studies from Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil examine how the concept of bioeconomy is implemented in different contexts and to what extent it may help to address socio-environmental concerns. The case studies show that different actors and different countries interpret and use the concept of bioeconomy differently. In Uruguay the government promoted the concept and encouraged the participation of a more diverse group of actors while in Argentina it was mostly a smaller network with strong links to the private sector that has taken up the bioeconomy approach. In Brazil, different and sometimes competing ideas of the concept of bioeconomy exist and are disseminated through different networks and groups of actors. The case studies show how approaches to sustainability like the SDGs or bioeconomy can be used and interpreted in different ways by different actors with different interests. This is important because it has implications for core values such as inclusiveness, but also legitimacy and effectiveness. It is clear that the concept of bioeconomy will not be able to transform a change in social and environmental sustainability alone but needs supporting political guidelines and institutions.
Overall, the special issue shows that although the SDGs can be important for strengthening civil society, they are not a sufficient framework to address environmental and human rights issues in Latin America. In the implementation of the SDGs it is often the case that only certain goals are taken into account while others are ignored. The SDGs then do not automatically lead to more sustainable and inclusive development. While this special issue focused on Latin America, the findings reflect some of the concerns that have also been highlighted in relation to the SDGs globally, as set out in the recently published first comprehensive global assessment of the political impact of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Virtual Seminar “Mediatizing Agribusiness-related Conflicts in Chile: How Activists Still Resort to Legacy News Media to Raise Awareness on Water and Pesticides Risk”
David Jofré is a journalist (Universidad de Playa Ancha, Chile) with a PhD in Politics and a MSc in Political Communication (University of Glasgow, UK). He is currently Assistant Lecturer at the University of Santiago (USACH), where he teaches contemporary politics and organizational communications at the School of Journalism. Previously, David Jofré was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Research Center for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (CIGIDEN) led by Pontifical Catholic University. of Chile His research focuses on activist media practices, social movement organizations and socio-technological change, with an emphasis on Chilean environmental governance processes, conflicts and risks.
Please e-mail Karen.Siegel@uni-muenster.de if you would like to participate in the seminar.
Melisa Deciancio participated of the 9th European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS) 2022, “The Interconnected Worlds of the Past and the Present: Co-constituting the International” at the University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, 6-9 July 2022. She participated of the workshop “The dark side of sustainability” and presented her work on the analysis of the bioeconomy through the lens of Dependency Theories and its implications for the Argentine case.
The 26th Conference of the International Consortium of Applied Bioeconomy Research (ICABR) took place at the University of Bologna from July 5th to July 8th, 2022. The main topic of the conference was “Bioeconomy Innovation Pipelines and Supply Chain Shocks”.
Two papers by SABio researchers were accepted to present at the Conference:
How Can Market Structures Hinder the Effectiveness of Inclusive Bioeconomy Policies? An analysis of the Brazilian Social Fuel Stamp. Authors: Kemel Kalif, Jorge Sellare.
Can Auctions Foster Renewable Energy under Institutional and Macroeconomic Instability? Authors: Pablo Mac Clay, Jan Börner, Jorge Sellare.
The International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research is a unique international consortium of people interested in bioeconomy, agricultural biotechnology, rural development, and bio-based economy research (https://icabr.net/)