UNRISD Paper Examines Sustainable Development through Policy Integration in Latin America
May 2012: The UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) has published a paper on "Sustainable Development through Policy Integration in Latin America," as part of the Occasional Paper series for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). The paper examines three projects, two in Brazil and one in Ecuador, to understand how social and political actors govern natural resource use to promote ecosystem protection, biodiversity, renewable energy use and poverty reduction.
The first project, in a semi-arid region in Brazil, showcases how a holistic approach to sustainability has enabled the local economy based on family farming and local services to prosper in a municipality of 38,000 inhabitants. The project has cultivated a sense of ownership and pride among local people and grassroots participants. Other municipalities in the Amazon region are learning from this experience.
The second project aims to decrease deforestation and reduce poverty by promoting sustainable development in the conservation units of the state of Amazonas, Brazil. It shows how the government can leverage its political and legal structures to enable subnational levels of government to ally with private partners in sharing the cost of enforcing conservation policies. In this case, land ownership is devolved to sub-national governments, not to the communities. The state of Amazonas has established laws to regulate Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES). Criticisms received by the project include the fact that land use change pressures are not significant in this area, conflict and loss of natural resources are kept to a minimum, and 70% of the population lives in urban areas.
The third project, located in Ecuador, proposes not to prospect oil resources on the ground of the Yasuní-Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini's reserve, which covers 38% of the national territory including forests owned by small landholders and indigenous communities, by promoting social development in the region, including financing of research and technology. The project sheds light on reconciling the national framework, which promotes REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), and sub-national government planning, indigenous rights and local ownership.
The UNRISD Occasional Paper series for Rio+20, published jointly with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), addresses social dimensions of green economy and sustainable development. [Publication: Sustainable Development through Policy Integration in Latin America: A Comparative Approach]