CLEVER featured at the University of Bonn’s International Days 2023

Every year, the University of Bonn in Germany celebrates its international projects and partnerships with renowned universities around the world at the event called “International Days”. The University is closely linked to over 70 universities on all continents within the framework of cross-faculty cooperation agreements. Partnerships with Ghana and Brazil were particularly highlighted in the International Days 2023, which took place at the University on October 20th. The Vice-Rectorate for International Affairs invited the PhD candidate Fernanda Martinelli, to represent the EU-funded project CLEVER: Creating leverage to enhance biodiversity outcomes of global biomass trade, as one of the partner projects with a Brazilian university. At the occasion, she discussed with other students and researchers the current challenges and future opportunities in international cooperation – especially with partners from the so-called “Global South”, and offered a comprehensive information about perspectives from both sides. Find more about the International Days from University of Bonn here.

Effective stakeholder engagement: Why we believe in the power of mapping value chain actors and co-design

Understanding who are involved in each stage of the global biomass value chain is not an easy task. For the success of stakeholder engagement, however, we believe that stakeholder mapping acts as the foundation to bring together a wide range of voices, both from exporting and importing countries.

This is why in February 2023, we kicked off the CLEVER stakeholder work with a vital step – a comprehensive mapping exercise. Our goal was to ensure diverse representation and engagement across the trade supply chains of timber and soy in Brazil, timber in Cameroon, and global fishmeal and fish oil flows heading to the EU. Our stakeholder maps (see the map for Brazil below) encompass various actors, from biomass producers and traders to policymakers and local communities. Now we are set to delve deeper into our value chain maps and engage with our extensive impact network, gathering vital insights for our empirical research.

The next step from mapping stakeholders is to get them involved in our project, to refine our research questions, facilitate knowledge sharing, and foster co-design that leads to innovative policy recommendations and governance instruments. This is where co-design comes into the picture. At the end of the first year of the project, in August 2023, we made significant strides in defining the essential role of stakeholder engagement and co-design for the project.

The CLEVER Stakeholder Reference Group takes center stage in this co-innovation landscape, steering us towards transformative change. Our researchers will also conduct content-related interviews with key stakeholders, contributing to our shared goals.

The project aims to provide a holistic view of the relationship between international trade and biodiversity. Our modelling simulations delve into the impact of trade-related interventions on biodiversity outcomes. This enables us to identify potential leverage points for positive change. We produced a user-friendly, transparent presentation of the Modeling Framework (see below) to invite stakeholders to join us in this essential research journey.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates as we continue to explore the complex web of global biomass trade and its impact on our environment!

Access all the resources here:

Written by Heli Sihvonen, UNEP-WCMC

Cover image by AdobeStock

Promoting biodiversity conservation and sustainable policies

A recent study published in Nature has analyzed the environmental crisis resulting from the undervaluation of nature. This publication emphasizes the pivotal role of understanding diverse values associated with nature when designing policies that promote biodiversity conservation while minimizing economic and social trade-offs.

The study highlights the “values crisis”, a phenomenon rooted in the undue emphasis on economic values in decision-making, neglecting the profound and multifaceted ways in which people treasure the natural world. To tackle this crisis, it advocates for four essential “values-centered approaches”: recognizing the multitude of values, integrating them into policy decisions, reforming existing policies, and reshaping societal norms.

The  special issue entitled “Leveraging Nature’s Values for Transformative Change: Insights from the IPBES Values Assessment”, published in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, follows the Nature publication mentioned above, bringing together 14 articles based on in-depth reviews of different strands of the literature on nature’s values. This review delves into the fundamental role of nature in shaping policy decisions, drawing insights from the  IPBES Values Assessment.

In the face of the ongoing nature crisis, this special issue is a powerful reminder of the need to reimagine how our value-based decisions influence our relationship with the environment.

This work serves as an invaluable guide for the CLEVER project in designing policies that not only preserve biodiversity but also harmonize with diverse societal values.

Written by BC3

Source of cover image: “Leveraging Nature’s Values for Transformative Change: Insights from the IPBES Values Assessment” – BC3 Basque Centre for Climate Change – Klima Aldaketa Ikergai (bc3research.org)

Sustainable agriculture and livestock in Brazil: What it takes to separate the wheat from the chaff?

Agriculture in Brazil highlighted an impressive 400% increase in productivity while simultaneously reducing land use in the last decades. However, some rotten apples continue causing environmental damages in the Brazilian agribusiness.

Brazilian policy representatives, civil society and other stakeholders met on 15th of June in Berlin to discuss current challenges of the sustainability goals of agriculture and livestock in Brazil. The event “Agriculture and Livestock in Brazil – New Challenges for Sustainability” focused on successful supply chain governance initiatives in the soy and cattle sectors. Examples included Brazil’s Soy Moratorium and zero deforestation cattle agreements. Traceability systems and the environmentally-oriented political will of the new federal administration also underpinned the dialogue.

Among the challenges, the speakers highlighted the historical problem of land grabbing, the implementation gaps of the rural environmental registry (CAR), and the divergent trade standards in international markets. One thing was clear though: the role of international trade rules is a crucial, potentially effective solution for sustainable agriculture and livestock in Brazil.

On one hand, the debate highlighted how the new European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) is shaking things up for both Brazilian exporters and European importers. On the other hand, potential trade diversion and uncertainty around EUDR implementation instruments remain significant obstacles that may limit the full potential of the new regulation. In this latter point, CLEVER project results will be instrumental in clarifying how and under which conditions trade-related instruments can increase the efficiency of commodity supply chains and protect the environment.

The event was hosted by the Brazilian Embassy in Berlin and jointly organized by the Embassy, APD Brasil, and the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAPA). Carolle Alarcon (Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture), Luiza Bruscato (Brazilian Roundtable on Sustainable Livestock – GTPS), and Mauro Armelim (Amigos da Terra – Amazônia Brasileira) were among the speakers.

Find out more: https://youtu.be/pB8RZnrKjXQ

Written by Dr. Gustavo Magalhaes de Oliveira – University of Bonn

Photo by Lourenço Furtado/AdobeStock