SABIO supports the program “Amazônia Bioeconomy Connections”

SABIO supports the program “Amazônia Bioeconomy Connections”

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:

“Innovation networks and local value addition in South American bioeconomies: public-private alliances for a sustainable insertion into the global economy”

“Innovation networks and local value addition in South American bioeconomies: public-private alliances for a sustainable insertion into the global economy”

November 23rd, 10:00-12:00 (Buenos Aires/Montevideo/Brasilia) / 14:00-16:00 (Berlin)

Format: Zoom



  • 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,

» Download “Concept note”

SABio at GreenRio 2022

SABio at GreenRio 2022

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:


Interdisciplinary special issue on SDGs, environmental governance and bioeconomy in Latin America

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 with David Jofré (University of Santiago) on 8 September

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 if you would like to participate in the seminar.

David Jofré
Participation in the 9th European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS) 2022: “The dark side of sustainability”

Participation in the 9th European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS) 2022: “The dark side of sustainability”

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.

SABio project present at ICABR Conference 2022

SABio project present at ICABR Conference 2022

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 (

Presentation at the World International Studies Committee Annual Conference (WISC)

Presentation at the World International Studies Committee Annual Conference (WISC)

Melisa Deciancio participated in the roundtable “The Politics of Development” at the World International Studies Committee Annual Conference, held in Buenos Aires on July 1st, 2022. She presented the chapter “Bioeconomy governance and (sustainable) development”, co-authored with Karen Siegel, Daniel Kefeli, Guilherme de Queiroz Stein and Thomas Dietz and published in her co-edited Handbook on the Politics of International Development (Elgar Publishers) with Pablo Nemiña and Diana Tussie.

Presentation at the Energy Research & Social Sciences Conference

Presentation at the Energy Research & Social Sciences Conference

Pablo Mac Clay, Junior Researcher at the University of Bonn, presented the paper “Can Auctions Foster Renewable Energy under Institutional and Macroeconomic Instability?” at the 3rd International Conference on Energy Research & Social Sciences. The paper is part of the SABio project and is co-authored by Prof. Dr. Jan Börner and Dr. Jorge Sellare.

Renewable energy auctions have become an increasingly popular policy in the last few years. Countries seeking to decarbonize their energy matrixes have been adopting auctions to replace administratively-set incentives. Moreover, many of the newcomers to auctions are Global South countries, characterized by macroeconomic and institutional instability. This paper seeks to explore whether auctions are a suitable instrument to foster investments in renewable capacity, even in contexts of weak business environments.

The 3rd International Conference on the Energy Research & Social Sciences took place between June 20 and 23, 2022 at the University of Manchester. It is among the main global forums exploring the nexus between energy and society.

In person SABio colloquium at the University of Bonn

In person SABio colloquium at the University of Bonn

After two years of working on a virtual format, on June 14th and 15th, 2022, the SABio team finally met in person!

The two research groups of the SABio Project at the University of Münster and the University of Bonn participated in the Colloquium held at the University of Bonn. They met to reflect on the project’s advance and discuss future challenges and opportunities. The colloquium was organized and coordinated by both heads of research groups, Jorge Sellare (University of Bonn) and Karen Siegel (University of Münster).