Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy


Volunteers are the backbone of IUCN's Commissions. As at 9 September 2009, there are 920 volunteer members of the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy from 84 countries. CEESP members traverse all walks of life. They are located within multilateral, regional and UN organisations, academia, activist and advocacy networks, indigenous peoples and local communities, NGOs, National and local governments, private sector companies, scientific and research organisations and philanthropic entities.

CEESP members are concerned citizens from throughout the world who care about the integrity of the environmental, economic, social and cultural heritage this generation passes on to future generations and share a belief that these areas are inter-dependent and that sustainable development requires linkages across these areas to be made. They value being part of a global network that enables them to share information and ideas, support individuals and communities in crisis today, and develop and implement initiatives with the future in mind. To make a constructive difference matters a great deal to them.

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Pavan SukhdevClimate Change and Biodiversity
Owning the Problem: a Lesson from Maurice Strong

At Maurice Strong's 80 th birthday, celebrated by leaders from business and the environment at a function hosted by IUCN recently in Gland, many whom he had inspired spoke of what they had learnt from him. It is difficult, when considering such a lifetime of achievement and such an inspiring personality, to single out one which is iconic. However, if I were to select one, it would be that Maurice Strong personifies the spirit of active responsibility: “owning the problem” is his hallmark. He stops at no boundaries and goes to extraordinary lengths to solve what he believes is a vital problem for humanity. His adoption of climate change as “his problem” is an example of that penchant, and it should inspire us now.

The world is in dire need of rethinking how irresponsibly it uses and how badly it values natural capital.

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The previous CEESP Newsletter introduced the Co-Chairs of the seven Themes of CEESP. They together with the Financial Officer comprise the Commission’s Executive Committee. Regional Vice-Chairs are another level in the Governance of CEESP. They comprise the Steering Committee (together with the Theme Co-Chairs and Financial Officer). To date, four Regional Vice-Chairs have been appointed: Consultations for the appointment of five Regional VC positions are still being conducted. (Asia, Central America, East & South Africa, North Africa/Middle East/West Asia and West & Central Africa).

Europe: Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend (Switzerland)

Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend has been active in solar physics, public health, aid policy and community initiatives for conservation and sustainable development.

After a research career in physics as European Space Agency Fellow (University of Florence, Italy; Stanford University, California) she pursued studies and became engaged as researcher and teacher in public health and development subjects (University of California at Berkeley, California; National Institute of Health, Italy).

In the mid 1990s she pioneered the Primary Environmental Care approach, which later became...

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North America & the Caribbean: Iain Davidson-Hunt (CANADA)

I am an ethnoecologist with an applied research program that I have developed in cooperation with First Nations in northwestern Ontario, Canada. In the past, I worked professionally with indigenous societies in the sub-arctic of Canada, Bolivia and Mexico. I continue to advise graduate students with an interest in developing research programs in those regions. My particular interest is in understanding how aboriginal societies draw upon their beliefs, knowledges and practices in implementing contemporary natural resources and environmental management and planning processes.

This has included understanding, for individual harvesters, the challenges to their way of life from processes of globalization and the adaptations they have made in response. Two projects with whom I have partnered to undertake applied research include the Whitefeater Forest ( and Pimaciowin Aki Corporation (

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Oceania - Lea Scherl (Australia and Brazil)

I look forward to establishing a more dynamic network of professionals for CEESP in this region and encourage open discussions on a range of social , cultural and economic dimensions of conservation relevant to CEESP's mandate. We should aim towards greater exchange of information amongst members and increase representation of CEESP at relevant processes and forums.  For that I will need the help of current and potential members. I also hope that CEESP can work closely together with other active IUCN Commission networks in Oceania. Moreover, I  look forward to work with many old and new colleagues as part of the Steering Committee. For any suggestion and expression of interest in joining CEESP in Oceania please contact me at:

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South America: Gonzalo Zambrana (La Paz Bolivia)

Economista, con cursos en medio ambiente sostenibilidad y desarrollo local en Bolivia y España; actualmente esta cursando la Especialización en Gestion Publica y la Especialización en Gobierno y Desarrollo Local como parte de la Maestría en Desarrollo Local organizada por la Union Iberomericana de Municipalistas; la Universidad Menendez Pelayo y la Universidad Carlos III de España; desde 1992 ha desarrollado actividades en temas de ambiente y desarrollo sostenible en instituciones académicas, gubernamentales y no gubernamentales.

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CEESP will be producing an Occasional Paper on Biofuels. You are invited to submit short articles highlighting the impact of biofuel production on communities. Descriptions of successful efforts where local community uses of biofuels are supported without exploitation of people or the environment would also be welcome. Send your articles and images to: ( by 7 December 2009.

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CEESP is now on Facebook

CEESP has joined the social networking site, Facebook. If you are a member of Facebook, send a request to the Group ‘ IUCN CEESP'. Facebook enables all members of CEESP to communicate with each other in all of the languages of IUCN and to share images, journeys, views and opinions. It offers another mechanism for networking across Commission regions and Themes and provides a more user friendly tool for Commission members to meet and exchange ideas.

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Citizens' Advisory Councils

WCC/Barcelona Resolution 4.089 called on the extractive industry to embrace and support the formation of local Citizens' Advisory Councils and urged IUCN's members and governments to support and encourage the formation of local Citizens'Advisory Councils. CEESP SEAPRISE member Rick Steiner provides a guide on how to set up Citizens Advisory Councils.

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Extractive Industries in West and Central Africa – Nature and Poverty Issues

The IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands (IUCN NL) has published a poster map on the oil and mining activities in West and Central Africa.

The map gives a complete overview of more than one hundred major oil and mining sites in the region.

On the poster one can find a general summary of the potential impact of oil and mining activities on biodiversity and local economies.

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IUCN Council Private Sector Taskforce

Council has established a Private Sector Task Force to learn from and continue to improve on IUCN's engagement with the private sector, and to propose revisions to the Guidelines. Diana Shand, Oceania Regional Councillor and IUCN Vice-President is the elected Chair. Members of the Task Force include CEESP Commission Chair Aroha Mead and fellow councillors Keith Wheeler (Commission Chair CEC, North America), Hans de Iongh (West Europe), Mohammed Shahbaz and Ali Darwish (West Asia) and Mahfuz Ullah (South and East Asia).

Terms of Reference have been approved and a Work Plan has been drawn up with the first face-to-face meeting scheduled for November.

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Indigenous Peoples & Climate Change

The Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment (IPCCA) is an international indigenous initiative on climate change, spearheaded by an indigenous-led steering committee and coordinated by the secretariat housed in Asociación ANDES, Peru. It aims to undertake a series of indigenous-led climate change assessments, to empower indigenous peoples to develop and use indigenous frameworks to assess the impact of climate change on their Biocultural systems. Additionally, the IPCCA seeks to facilitate the development and implementation of response options for building indigenous resilience and adaptive strategies to mitigate impacts and enhance biocultural diversity for food sovereignty and self-determined development or “Buen Vivir”.

For more information, please contact Alejandro Argumedo: and visit the Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment website.

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The Macroeconomic Connection: Monetary and Fiscal Policies for Sustainability in Latin America

The Theme on the Environment, Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment (TEMTI) has been carrying out a policy-oriented project on macroeconomic policies and the environment in five Latin American countries. The project was designed and directed by Alejandro Nadal, TEMTI co-chair, it received financial support from IUCN's 3IC Fund and was also sponsored by SUR, the regional office for South America . The country level reports are still in the process of revision by their authors: Alan Cibils in Argentina, Sergio Schlesinger in Brazil, Carlos Murillo in Costa Rica, Pablo Samaniego in Ecuador and Marcos Chávez in Mexico.

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Problematizing Neoliberal Biodiversity Conservation: Displaced and Disobedient Knowledge

In May 2008, the American University in Washington DC hosted a workshop that brought together a global network of scholars, applied practitioners, and community activists who are all concerned about the ways in which nature is being commodified and appropriated in the context of biodiversity conservation. The title of this workshop was: Problematizing Neoliberal Biodiversity Conservation: Displaced and Disobedient Knowledge.

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Report on the Theme on Social & Environmental Accountability of the Private Sector

SEAPRISE members have been very active in many countries since Barcelona . SEAPRISE is now working closely with many Environmental and Human Rights Organisations. Here are a few examples:

•  Alaska - Prof Steiner has been in the forefront to stop new oil and gas exploration in the Arctic and needs all the support he can get from CEESP and other IUCN Members . He is also working on Citizens councils as shown elsewhere.

•  Democratic Republic of Congo - Robert Goodland is currently looking at the environmental and social impacts of mines in the DRC.

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Theme on Sustainable Livelihoods

The CEESP Theme on Sustainable Livelihoods (TSL) has started exploring the characteristics of rotational agriculture in a changing world, and the conditions that may still maintain it as a viable and sustainable option for people, especially indigenous peoples. TSL has been working on this and the following issues and activities. Click on the link below for more info.

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Sustainable Development Knowledge Partnership

The Sustainable Development Knowledge Partnership is to be officially launched soon. While a significant body of knowledge has emerged on the concept and practice of sustainable development, much of this information is fragmented and is often not available in a form that is convenient for policy makers and practitioners. To overcome this barrier, a Sustainable Development Knowledge Partnership (SDKP) has been established with the goal of organizing the available knowledge on sustainable development, and making it available to policy makers and practitioners in more accessible and user friendly formats.

For further information on this initiative contact:

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Sustainable Use & Human wildlife Interactions/SCC-CEESP joint initiative

Report on the SSC/CEESP survey on Cross-commission Collaboration on Sustainable Use and Human Wildlife Interaction.

The Barcelona World Conservation Congress passed Resolution 4.039: Cross-commission collaboration on sustainable use of biological resources.

This resolution called on the IUCN Commissions, especially the Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP), to establish a mechanism for increased cooperation on the benefits of sustainable use of renewable natural resources and other interactions between people and wildlife in the context of conservation.

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Video Voices - Training for Internet- Based Community Environmental Discussions

Supported by the CEESP Theme on Governance, Equity and Rights (TGER) Fundacion Urundei ( has started training organizations to develop short videos to broadcast on the Internet. The idea is to use the internet to promote and share community and NGO environmental practices and achievement in Meso America with a wider audience.

During the workshop, which was held from 16-21 June 2009, three videos were developed as teaching practice, also field trips were made to capture images for these videos.

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World Climate Change Conference - 3, 31 August-4 September, Geneva  

As the World Climate Conference 3 drew to the close of its High-Level session in Geneva, Switzerland , news services reported dramatic flooding across the central Sahara. Agadez, the main city of northern Niger, suffered extensive damage, flooding and collapsing buildings, adding to the misery of thousands of displaced indigenous people fleeing civil conflict there.

Left to right: Expert Segment Chair Alexander Bedritsky, President of WMO, Julia Marton-Lefevre, Director General, IUCN, Jean Jaques Dordain, Director General, European Space Agency, Houlin Zhao, Deputy Secretary-General, ITU, and Joseph Alcamo, UNEP.

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Photo caption: Jorge Nawel, leader of the Mapuce people of Argentina, and Maurizio Fahran-Ferrari of the Forest Peoples Programme speaking at the event.

WCC Decisions on Indigenous Peoples Discussed at UN Meeting

The Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC) and TILCEPA held a lunchtime event at the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) of the UN Human Rights Council on 12 August 2009 in Geneva. The event highlighted IUCN's 4th World Conservation Congress (WCC) decisions on the rights of indigenous peoples in relation to conservation and natural resources, and discussed ways to advance implementation of rights-based approaches to conservation in indigenous peoples' lands or territories and resources. The event presentations are available here.

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Research on Religion and Sustainable Development

Commission member Luis Guiterrez writes, The influence of religion is seldom considered in research and education for sustainable development. Perhaps this is not surprising, as religious issues tend to be controversial. But ignoring the influence of religion in sustainable development is like assuming that religion has no influence, which is probably the worst assumption to make. This is especially true when sustainable development is considered from a "human-centric" perspective, i.e., when human development is viewed as the core of sustainable development.



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Upcoming Events

Events CEESP members are participating in:

2009 Events

Land Acquisitions & Food Security, FAO, Rome 8 September

Land acquisitions are increasing in Africa and other continents, raising the risk that parts of the local population will be evicted or lose access to land, water, and other resources.. The food and agriculture UN agency FAO commissioned by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) the first ever study on this subject (especially Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia).

FAO and its partners are currently working together to develop such guidelines, and this study is a first step in this process:

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International Training Workshop “Design and Planning of Agrobiodiversity Conservation Areas”, 18-30 September, Cusco, Peru

The objective of this South-to-South Technology Transfer Workshop is to provide concepts and methods to farmers and researchers from Ethiopia on how to design, plan, implement and manage Agrobiodiversity Conservation Areas, and how to conduct and organize action-research activities so that results can more quickly and easily be transformed into applicable information for establishing such areas as well as for project problem-solving and policy-development. For more information, contact:

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Sustainable Use & Human wildlife Interactions/SCC-CEESP joint initative

SSC/CEESP Workshop on Sustainable Use & Human Wildlife Interaction, Cambridge, U.K. 2 & 3 October

SSC and CEESP are convening a technical workshop on sustainable use ad human-wildlife interaction to follow up on the survey and report on the same topic (refer…..). Confirmed CEESP members participating in the meeting are; Alejandro Argumedo, John Cheechoo, David Erikson, James Gruber, Yves Hausser, Peter Bille Larsen, Ken McDonald, Vivienne Solis Rivera, and CEESP Chair Aroha Mead.

WCPA Logo WCPA Workshop on the Future of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas, Jeju, South Korea, 15-19 September (TILCEPA).

The Programme of Work on Protected Areas (POWPA) is seen as one of the most successful initiatives of the CBD, although take up is incomplete and variable. POWPA has helped to create many new protected areas e.g. in Latin America and the Pacific and has addressed threats and built capacity. It has generally been more effective with “technical” issues (e.g. gap analysis) than social targets (e.g. participation). Progress is slow in Africa and parts of Asia, and poorly integrated with existing initiatives in Europe.

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CISDA IV Latin American Congress on Development and Environment, 5-10 October 2009, Bogotá, Colombia (TEMTI)

The forth Latin American Congress on Development and Environment (CISDA IV) will be held in Bogota, Colombia, from the 5-10th of October 2009. CISDA IV, Constructing Alternative Models of Development, will address issue similar to the International Conference on Development and Environment in Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg in the context of Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.

The event will offer a forum to share experiences, knowledge and practice as well as to promote a space for future collaboration between actors in Latin America.

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Our Lands, Our Waters, Our Peoples, Brisbane, Australia 23-25 November, 2009.

Science Technology and Society (STS) research is an interdisciplinary field which studies the origins, dynamics and consequences of science and technology. A new Network has been set up in the Asia Pacific region to promote STS research and encourage collaboration - click here.

There are strong links with the work of CEESP. Commission members are invited to attend this meeting, which is being held at the Southbank Convention Centre in Brisbane 23-25 November, 2009. For more information on the Conference click here or contact CEESP member Karen Cronin at

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2nd CEESP Steering Committee Meeting, Bangkok, Thailand, 27 & 28 November (CEESP)

The 2nd meeting of the CEESP Steering Committee will bring together the Theme Co-Chairs and Regional Vice-Chairs to strategise on the Commission's work programme until 2012. For further information on the SC Meeting, contact Elizabeth Erasito and Michel Pimbert. For a copy of the Minutes of the 1st CEESP SC Meeting (click here).

United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15), Copenhagen, 7-18 December

2009 is a crucial year in the international effort to address climate change. A series of UNFCCC meetings are taking place throughout the year, designed to culminate in an ambitious and effective international response to climate change, to be agreed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen , 7-18 December. If you are intending to participate in the UNCCC Copenhagen meeting, please contact so you can be included in any planned CEESP meetings.

2010 Events

3rd CEESP Steering Committee Meeting, IUCN Gland, Switzerland, 5 June 2010

The Third meeting of the CEESP SC will be held immediately following the IUCN Council meeting in Gland.

11th Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE), in Oldenberg and Bremen, Germany, 22-26 August 2010.

Call for papers closes on 31 October 2009 addressing the following themes;

  • Climate Change, Energy, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Land Use, Ecology, Dematerialization and De-Growth, Sustainable Development, Environmental Ethics


Convention on Biological Diversity, Nagoya, Japan, from 18-29 October 2010.

The CBD COP10 meeting being held in Nagoya , Japan will be very significant for a wide range of CEESP interests. It will be important for the Commission to have a strong presence. If you are intending to register for the CBD COP10 please contact as soon as your plans are confirmed so you can be included in any CEESP events.

2011 Events

Sharing Power: A New Development Paradigm, January, Whakatane & Wellington, New Zealand

Resolution WCC4.078 requested the Director General, in cooperation with the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) and Agencies of the United Nations, to explore the possibilities of organizing a 'World Conference on Economics, Ecology, and the Environment' with the goal of advancing toward a unified vision of sustainability that will enable us to address current global environmental change. “


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Campese, J., Sunderland, T., Greiber, T. and Oviedo, G. (eds.) (2009) Rights-Based Approaches: Exploring Issues and Opportunities for Conservation. CIFOR and IUCN. Bogor, Indonesia.

A new book entitled Rights-based Approaches: Exploring issues and opportunities for conservation has been published by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The publication is in part a result of research and discussions carried out in a collaboration between CEESP-TGER (Conservation and Human Rights Task Force) and IUCN (Social Policy), as well as through events co-organized by CEESP at the 2007 Society for Conservation Biodiversity Annual Meeting (Port Elizabeth, South Africa) [1], and the 2008 World Conservation Congress (Barcelona, Spain) [2]. Read more >>>

C.J. Poole and H.T. Dublin, 2009.  SSC-CEESP Consultation on Sustainable  Use and Human-Wildlife Interactions. Report on the findings of the online consultation conducted via during April-May 2009.

C.J. Poole and H.T. Dublin, 2009.  Detailed Overview of the Report on the Findings of the SCC-CEESP Consultation on Sustainable Use and Human-Wildlife Interactions.

C.J. Poole and H.T. Dublin, 2009.  SSC-CEESP Consultation on Sustainable Use and Human-Wildlife Interactions: Accompanying Document.

Seed Film Released: Seed Savers has released - Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi, a fifty-seven minute documentary that celebrates traditional food plants and the people that grow them. "Our Seeds" is available as a DVD from our website where a trailer and other film clips may be viewed at

"Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi" was made for Melanesian. It introduces those who stand at the source of humanity's diverse food heritage. It is a David and Goliath story where resilience and persuasive logic triumph over seemingly invincible forces that control much of our food . Read more>>>

Zambrana, G. (2008) “Estado Actual y Proyecciones de la Gestión Ambiental Municipal en Bolivia”,
Estado Ambiental de Bolivia 2007-2008
. 600-607. LIDEMA. La Paz. Bolivia.

Minutes of CEESP Executive Committee Meeting, held 5 & 6 February 2009 at the IUCN Secretariat, Gland, Switzerland.