Colloquium “Bioeconomy and Sustainability Policies and Politics in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay”

On March 23rd, 2022, the SABio Interdisciplinary Colloquium “Bioeconomy and Sustainability Policies and Politics in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay” was held virtually, organized by Karen Siegel at the Institute of Political Science of the University of Münster. The two research groups of the SABio Project at the University of Münster and the University of Bonn as well as different members of the steering committee and scientific advisors of the project and some external guests from South America and Europe participated.

With the aim of discussing the policies and politics of bioeconomy and sustainability in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, the members of the research group in Political Science at the University of Münster gave a presentation of their research in each of the countries followed by a discussion and Q+A with the audience.


Guilherme de Queiroz-Stein presented part of his ongoing research on a bioeconomy based on biodiversity in Brazil. His research objective is to identify the economic potential of Brazilian biodiversity, the different conceptions regarding the development of this bioeconomy, and the possible associated risks. The analysis identified that governmental actors, civil society, academia, and national industry had presented different concepts on how to develop the Brazilian bioeconomy, converging in the search for alternatives to the hegemonic bioeconomy, based on soybean, corn, and sugarcane monocultures. In fact, he identified significant developments in sectors such as food, cosmetics, and medicines and future potentials linked to bioenergy, payment for environmental services, and ecotourism.

Daniel Kefeli presented his co-authored paper with Karen Siegel, Lucía Pittaluga and Thomas Dietz. They examine the main drivers and dynamics of environmental policy integration in Uruguay during three periods of the recent Uruguayan history between 1990 and 2020, reflecting the most significant changes in the level of policy integration. Following the framework developed by Candel and Biesbroek, they demonstrate the continuous progress in policy integration over the 30 years in the Uruguayan forestry sector.

Melisa Deciancio presented her paper on the role of the state in promoting the Argentine bioeconomy, focusing on the extent to which the state, through the promotion of various initiatives, contributed to the development of bioeconomy projects in Argentina. To answer this question, the paper examines two cases of the bioeconomy in Argentina: biorefineries and GM crops technologies. From the analysis of policies and actors involved in both projects, she states that the state has played an active role in accompanying the private sector in promoting the bioeconomy and that, despite ideological divergences, the policies designed demonstrate the continuity between the different governments.


For more information, please see the colloquium programme.

Concepts, Markets, and Regulations: hurdles and opportunities for a sustainable Bioeconomy in Brazil

by Guilherme de Queiroz Stein, Trevor Tisler, and Renan Magalhães

On December 14th, 2021, the SABio project held a workshop on the Brazilian Bioeconomy. SABio researchers Guilherme de Queiroz Stein and Trevor Tisler organized and facilitated the event which saw the gathering of 45 participants from various governmental, academic, non-profit, and private sector organizations who are committed to the development of a sustainable bioeconomy in Brazil. The main objective of the event was to promote an open debate and an exchange of experiences related to how the addition of new laws related to biodiversity, conservation and ecological restauration to Brazil’s environmental legal framework may shape the development of Brazil’s bioeconomy.

“Gerardo Germano da Silva harvesting agroecological cotton in Ceará, Brazil” by farmingmatters. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

At the onset of the debate among workshop attendees, the existence of different understandings and perspectives on what the bioeconomy is (and what it is not) were discussed, and moreover, how these differences guide separate and distinctive promotion and regulatory strategies for various bioeconomic activities throughout Brazil. The conceptual heterogeneity surrounding the bioeconomy poses methodological challenges to research projects and policy formulation. However, as this reflects the inherent complex and diverse characteristics of the bioeconomy, heterogeneous understandings cannot be ignored. For this reason, the conceptual development of the bioeconomy is still a hurdle to overcome, especially in the context of Latin America, where realities are much different than those in which the European and North American concepts of the bioeconomy were formed. In Europe and North America, the bioeconomy is repeatedly defined by the traditional boundaries of the economic sectors in which it is considered to cover and by the products these sectors develop. These sectors include agriculture, bioenergy, food production, biomass processing, high value-added biotech products, and biodegradable waste. Albeit important components of Brazil’s economy, such a limiting focus on traditional sectors and products overshadows Brazil’s potential for broader bioeconomic development especially if focus is placed upon processes of production rather than on the products produced.

Photo by Guilherme de Queiroz Stein

Workshop participants overwhelmingly emphasized that the concept of the Brazilian Bioeconomy needs to be formed in face of the country’s unique realities and potentials, which include placing the country’s biodiversity, immense natural capital, and socio-cultural diversity as central elements of the bioeconomy. The employment of these potentials must translate into the development of new activities, sectors, and industries capable of increasing aggregate value while simultaneously fostering endogenous development dynamics that break Brazil’s dependency on commodity and biomass export-oriented development. To this end, the economic dynamics in which these new processes operate must be monitored and their contribution to sustainable development must be quantified. Sustainability depends less on what is produced, but rather more on how and to what extent adopted business models, constructed values chains, and developed governance arrangements ensure environmental preservation, promote pro-social development, and respect human rights. In this light, the promotion of a new bioeconomy is necessary, one capable of valuing the immense diversity-based potentials and which can be attained via payments for ecosystem services, industrialization of natural products, and ecological recovery of degraded landscapes and lands. Furthermore, there is a place for the promotion of low-carbon agriculture, agroforestry systems, as well as innovations coming from bioprospecting, molecular biology, biomimicry and the use of micro-organisms for industrial solutions.

“Quebradeira de Côco Babaçu – Brasil – Tocantins – Pequizeiro ” by JcPietro. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The legal frameworks that regulate the development of the aforementioned sectors will be important in the structuring of their future markets and for setting boundaries to the expansion of the bioeconomy, the parameters of which should focus on guaranteeing the bioeconomy’s socio-environmental sustainability. Nonetheless, these parameters by and of themselves, will not suffice to lock down on a guaranteed sustainable development trajectory. The commitment of actors involved in ensuring the sustainability of the processes and products of Brazil’s bioeconomy is of utmost necessity, arising from investment in new business models for both profitability and generating well-being. Furthermore, the implementation of policies to tackle bottlenecks is essential, and may involve remedying the lack of professional training in strategic geographic regions, ending the scarcity of venture capital and start-up support services, as well as bring stabilized and sustained levels of public investment in scientific research and innovation to avoid sudden budget cuts.

It must be emphasized that the creation of new markets, such as those linked to carbon emissions markets and ecosystem services, will only find stable footing and consumer confidence through verifiable environmental compliance and tangible progress toward meeting Brazil’s internationally assumed environmental commitments. This hinges on the reestablishment of the Brazilian state’s command and control capacities, especially in the environmental area, with an emphasis on achieving zero deforestation in Brazil as quickly as possible. The current political trajectory guiding Brazil’s federal administrative apparatus likely poses the largest current hurdle to achieving the aforementioned goals, as it has -beyond deprioritizing the goals- moved to deliberately reduce the capacity of state agencies to ensure and maintain environmental protections as well as promoted predatory activities such as, but not limited to, illegal and unregulated mining in the Amazon.

Photo by Guilherme de Queiroz Stein

Both regulatory policies in combination with active promotion of the bioeconomy will only be capable of achieving social inclusion if the active participation of civil society is guaranteed through adequate mechanisms in the formulation, implementation, and monitoring stages of the public policy process. Appropriate valuation (beyond the scope of monetary value) of the country’s ecosystems and their immense biodiversity should only occur with active engagement and dialog with indigenous peoples and their knowledge systems, traditional communities (including but not limited to Brazil’s maroon communities), and smallholder farmers, segments of which have developed and maintained knowledge systems and management practices for the sustainable use of biodiversity. A pre-condition for such a dialogue requires that the basic human rights of these peoples are guaranteed, which includes secure tenure and free unhampered access to their lands. This condition can only be achieved in a democratic state, in which the defense of democratic values becomes a fundamental factor for the promotion of a new bioeconomy that genuinely promotes sustainable development.

Below you will find the links shared by workshop participants, which include scientific publications related to the bioeconomy in Brazil and around the world as well as websites for Brazilian projects and research groups working on bioeconomy topics.


A sustainable bioeconomy for Europe:

Bioeconomia da Sociobiodiversidade no estado do Pará:

Coalizão Brasil Clima, Florestas e Agricultura: 

Diálogo Florestal:

Financing mechanisms to bridge the resource gap to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services in Brazil:

Fórum Florestal da Amazônia – Plano Estratégico:

Grupo de Economia do Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Sustentável (GEMA) – UFRJ:

Grupo de Pesquisa SABio: 

Portal de Bioeconomia:

Science Panel for the Amazon – Amazon Assessment Report 2021: 

Onde Estamos na Implementação do Código Florestal? Radiografia do CAR e do PRA nos Estados Brasileiros – Edição 2020:

Lei nº 13.123/2015 (Acesso ao Patrimônio Genético e Conhecimento Tradicional Associado):

Decreto nº 8.772/2016 (regulamenta Lei nº 13.123/2015):

Decreto nº 10.844/2021 (altera Decreto nº 8.772/2016):

Presentation at the International Conference: “Environmental goods and services: International Negotiations and political dilemmas”

Melisa Deciancio participated in the panel “Environmental goods and services: International Negotiations and political dilemmas” at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (PUCP), addressing the state and challenges of the bioeconomy in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. The other panellists included Pedro Da Motta Veiga (CINDES-Brazil), Manuel Rojas (PUCP), and Alan Fairlie (PUCP).

Virtual Workshop “Research and Public policies for a sustainable bioeconomy in Uruguay”

Virtual Workshop “Research and Public policies for a sustainable bioeconomy in Uruguay”

On November 29th 2021 the virtual workshop “Research and Public policies for a sustainable bioeconomy in Uruguay” took place. More than 50 participants from research centers, Universities, ministries and international organizations took part in the workshop.

As a result of a four-year participatory process, the technical staff of an interinstitutional governing body developed the Uruguayan National Strategy for a Circular and Sustainable Bioeconomy, whose approval by the national authorities is still pending. The next step is to continue building the Action Plan to effectively implement the national Strategy.

In this framework, the SABio Project with its Uruguayan partners – Universidad ORT and Universidad de la República – organized a workshop with the following objectives:

  • Level-up and diffuse the scientific knowledge that can feed into the four pillars of the Action Plan of the Bioeconomy Strategy;
  • Identify the gaps and set the basis for the generation of additional scientific knowledge related to the Action Plan in future years;
  • Build a network of researchers working in bioeconomy-related topics;
  • Bring researchers and scientists closer to the policy-makers in charge of the Strategy.

The workshop was organized around the strategic pillars of the Bioeconomy Strategy. First, representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture and Industry presented the key components of the Strategy as a framework to guide future bioeconomy policies and discussed the research needs for its implementation. Then, three initiatives and research projects related to the pillars of the Strategy were presented:

  • In the pillar Sustainable and circular production and consumption, Alejandro Carbajales, from Centro Tecnológico del Agua, presented the most relevant projects of the Center;
  • The pillar International insertion based on environmental added value was covered by the presentation of Michael Carroll and the initiatives deployed by the Grupo de Productores del Sur and Alianza del Pastizal;
  • Under the pillar Inclusive local development, Amalia Stuhldreher and Isabel Bortagaray presented the Project Bioeconomy as a development model for the Uruguayan North East region.

The purpose of these presentations was to showcase research-based initiatives and research projects that can contribute to the implementation of the action plan of the Strategy.

Finally, after a Q&A session, there was a debate between the audience and the speakers to discuss how research, science and technology should be articulated to support the implementation of public policies.

The outcomes of the fruitful exchange will be used to produce a policy brief by the SABio project containing the main conclusions of the workshop. The policy brief will highlight how research can contribute to the effective implementation of actions framed in the Bioeconomy Strategy, the main gaps in research and the suggested mechanisms for a better articulation between public policies and science and research.

The Potential of a Biodiversity-Based Bioeconomy: SABIO at the Fraunhofer Foundation Bioeconomy Innovation Workshop, Brazil

The Potential of a Biodiversity-Based Bioeconomy: SABIO at the Fraunhofer Foundation Bioeconomy Innovation Workshop, Brazil

On December 2, 2021, researcher Guilherme de Queiroz-Stein participated as a representative of WWU-Münster in the workshop “Innovations in Bioeconomy,” promoted by Fraunhofer Liaison Office Brazil. His presentation focused on the potential of a bioeconomy based on biodiversity in Brazil, the subject of his current research. According to Queiroz-Stein, there is a need to advance in a bioeconomy that, while promoting economic development, is inclusive, adopting strategies to combat poverty, generate employment and income. A new bioeconomy that values ​​national biodiversity will also be essential to promoting environmental preservation and food and nutrition security. To exemplify the possibilities of fostering these strategies, he presented three cases. First, the “Plants for the Future” survey, promoted by the Ministry of the Environment, identified 674 plants with current and future economic value in the country’s five macro-regions. The second case was Natura S.A., which incorporates bioprospecting and benefit-sharing activities with traditional communities in its business model. Currently, Natura is one of the most prominent global players in the cosmetics market, with a significant impact on job creation in the country. Finally, he discussed the potential of Açaí from Juçara Palm (Euterpe edulis), a species from the Atlantic Forest, to combine food security strategies with environmental preservation.

It is possible to watch the presentation in the following link, at 2:51:40:

Project SABio Interdisciplinary Colloquium

Project SABio Interdisciplinary Colloquium

On December 7, 2021 a SABio Interdisciplinary Colloquium took place in a hybrid format. Different members of the scientific staff from both Universities and the steering committee joined the event, part of them virtually from different parts of South America and Europe, and part of them in person at the Center for Development Research in Bonn.

In the Colloquium, Junior Researchers from the University of Bonn presented advances in their research.

Trevor Tisler presented his paper “Deforestation Contamination in Brazil’s Ethanol Supply Chains under the National Biofuels Policy”. The main research question focuses on identifying and quantifying direct and indirect deforestation and its linked carbon emissions that may be contaminating carbon offset credit sales in Brazil’s first regulated carbon marketplace, the CBIO marketplace.

Pablo Mac Clay presented his work “Value chains in the transition to a sustainable bioeconomy”. There, he analyzed which value chain features are associated with a process of intensified innovation in the bioeconomy and presented an overarching typology of bioeconomic value chains. Finally, he introduced a preliminary discussion on the potential implications for the social welfare for different actors from an increased rate of innovation in the bioeconomy.

Finally, María Eugenia Silva Carrazzone presented her paper “The role of the Reference point and Time inconsistencies in farmers’ compliance with sustainable soil policies”. The aim of her work is to assess how the reference point of the Prospect Theory -against which individuals define losses and gains- and their time inconsistencies can contribute to
farmers’ compliance to soil conservation policies that imply trade-offs. While most of the papers that model decision-making consider Expected Utility assumptions, the novelty of her work lies in the introduction of behavioral hints to the discussion.

Presentation in the Roundtable: “Latin American knowledge contributions to International Relations”

Presentation in the Roundtable: “Latin American knowledge contributions to International Relations”

Melisa Deciancio participated in the Roundtable: “Latin American knowledge contributions to International Relations” invited by the Centre for the International Politics of Knowledge (KNOWLEDGE Centre) at the University of Aberystwyth, UK, on December 1st, 2021, chaired by Amaya Querejazu (University of Aberystwyth) and with the participation of Marcos Scauso (Quinnipiac University) and Kinti Pablo Orellana (Queen Mary University of London).

She focused on her more recent research agenda on a renewed reading and conceptualization of dependency approaches based on the study of bioeconomy as a policy agenda in South America. She addressed the contributions of Latin America to International Relations based on her recently published book “Latin America in Global International Relations” (Routledge, 2022), edited with Amitav Acharya (American University) and Diana Tussie (FLACSO Argentina).

Bioeconomy and sustainability in South America: first insights from the SABio project

Dr. Karen M. Siegel published a text on the blog of the Center of Interdisciplinary Sustainability Research (ZIN) giving some first insights on the work that the SABio junior research group at the University of Münster has been conducting in South America.

The full text can be found at ZIN’s website:

Presentations at the 5th International Conference on Public Policy (ICPP5)

During the second week of July of 2021 it took place the 5th International Conference on Public Policy (ICPP5) in Barcelona, Spain, organized by the International on Public Policy Association (IPPA) and the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI). In this conference, two of the PhD students from the SABio Project, Daniel Kefeli and Guilherme Queiroz do Stein, presented in two panels of it.

Daniel Kefeli presented at the Panel “Policy problems and policy integration. Differences and similarities across sectors” moderated by Guillermo Cejudo and Philipp Trein. This panel contributed to the literature by analyzing how the process of policymaking and the politics of policy integration differ among policy fields. In the 3rd session, which was focused on “Theory, institutions and Methods”, Daniel’s presentation was regarding the theoretical framework of his thesis titled “Assessing policy interaction towards sustainable forestry bioeconomy in Uruguay. In the near future is expected to develop a special issue of a jornal based on the papers presented in the panel.

Guilherme de Queiroz Stein participated in the panel “Agenda 2030 and Institutional Change in the Global South”, coordinated by Paul Cisneros and Sofia Cordero from the Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales (IAEN), Ecuador. On the occasion, Guilherme presented his research on the governance of the bioeconomy in Brazil, focusing on the role of biodiversity in the development of the bioeconomy and on the implementation of the new Brazilian biodiversity law, which regulates bioprospecting activities, access to traditional knowledge and benefits sharing. As a result of the panel, the researchers intend to consolidate a network and jointly produce publications, having as a common theme the institutional challenges to implement the SDGs in the global south.

ICPP5 had 1233 registered participants, 975 virtual and 258 on-site, coming from 78 different countries. It had 155 panels, of which 64 were hybrid and 91 virtual. ICPP5 was 281 sessions divided into 10 multi-sessions of 2 hours with 1527 papers presented.

More information:

Workshop on Argentine Bioeconomy

Workshop on Argentine Bioeconomy

The Stakeholder Workshop on Argentine Bioeconomy took place on July 28th and gathered a diverse group of around 40 professionals from different backgrounds and disciplines. Its main goal was to obtain insights into the status and future developments of the Argentine Bioeconomy. It was moderated by Melisa Deciancio (Uni Münster) and Pablo Mac Clay (Uni Bonn).

Assuming that the bioeconomy is a broad concept, the discussion was organized based on bioeconomy definitions from the European Commission and ECLAC, including biotechnological trajectories and local initiatives built upon socio-ecological systems. The discussion was organized in two main blocks: (1) knowledge and skills for the bioeconomy and (2) social and environmental sustainability of the bioeconomy. This workshop was an excellent opportunity for SABio researchers to interact with Argentine stakeholders and understand more on challenges and opportunities for developing the bioeconomy in the country.