Exchange to Change June 2015 - Page 8

Towards Paris Climate Conference 2015 Crossed Glances on the Green Economy Andrew Wardell was invited to IOB as a guest lecturer during the second semester of the academic year. He has over thirty years of experience working on natural resource management issues in SouthEast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa countries. He is currently Senior Manager of Research Capacity and Partnership Development at Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Prior to this new position, he was Research Director of CIFOR’s Forests and Governance Program. His education background is Forestry (MA) and Philosophy (PhD). Several alternatives to the ‘green economy’ approach exist. These include multiple Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Accountability and Social Enterprise initiatives that aim to promote sustainable investments and practices through certification schemes, and compliance with more rigorous social and environmental safeguards. In addition, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is leading the development of The Landscape Fund with a diverse array of partners including The Munden Project. The 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place in Paris in December 2015. The objective is to achieve a binding and universal agreement to contain global warming under 2 degrees. The difficulty to reach an agreement is much linked to the priorities of states around the world, i.e. there is a heated debate around whether environmental protection should be the state’s priority over other imperatives, especially economic growth. The “green economy” appears, to policy makers, to be the perfect response to the sceptics for its alleged balance between ecology and economy. However, criticisms of this concept have emerged because it purports to be a solution to environmental problems which the very same mechanism of market capitalism has played a role in creating. For its May edition, Exchange to Change interviewed three renowned scholars in environmental governance and asked for their opinions on this new strategic buzz concept of the “green economy” and its possible alternatives. 8 Rural producers face major land use (agricultural, agro-forestry and forestry) risks in the form of natural disasters (climate variability, extreme weather events and disease) and other risks associated with production, technology, financing, regulatory/policy/legal, and price volatility. These risks result in a loss of income to the producer, through negative impact on the yield, price, assets, and livelihoods, further increasing the probability of default. Along with land rights issues and a lack of collateral, agricultural, agroforestry and forestry loans in developing countries are viewed as highrisk investments. The Landscape Fund is a networkbased system for financing sustainable land use in developing countries by ensuring longer maturities, lower interest rates and more flexible repayment schedules. Its purpose is to transform agriculture and forestry investments by delivering capital in a new way that combines innovative approaches from finance, science and technology. CIFOR intends to provide evidence-based, reliable and credible scientific information to policy makers at local, national and international levels to service demand from small and intermediate borrowers who currently rely on high-interest credit from traders or unregulated lenders. Melissa Leach has recently been awarded with an honorary degree from the University of Antwerp. She is a social anthropologist specialising in environmental and science-society issues. Her research interests include social and institutional dimensions of environmental and technological change, and issues of knowledge, power and citizen engagement. She is currently the Director of the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton, UK. Prior to this position, Melissa Leach directed the STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre. Imperatives of climate change and other forms of environmental degradation