Update from the Secretariat Chief Economist, Joshua Bishop

The 4th World Conservation Congress held in Barcelona, Spain, in October 2008 identified economic issues as the highest priority for IUCN, reflected in the adoption by Members of a new Global Programme that includes Greening the World Economy” as one of five priority thematic areas over the period 2009-12. To meet this challenge, the Secretariat has reinforced its capacity in economics:

  • The post of Senior Advisor for Economics and Environment has been replaced by a new post of IUCN Chief Economist, filled by Dr Joshua Bishop since July 2008. Contact: joshua.bishop@iucn.org
  • A new Global Economics and Environment Programme has been established under the leadership of Dr Andrew Seidl, who took up his post in January 2009. Dr Seidl comes to IUCN from Colorado State University, where he held the post of Associate Professor and Public Policy Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Contact: andy.seidl@iucn.org

Other recent staff appointments in economics include:

  • Ms Nathalie Olsen, Programme Officer supporting the Chief Economist, based in Gland since January 2009 (nathalie.olsen@iucn.org);
  • Dr Padma Narsey Lal, Chief Technical Advisor in the IUCN-Oceania office in Fiji since February 2009, leading their work on environmental economics, law and policy (padma.lal@iucn.org);
  • Ms Saima Baig, the new Coordinator of the Asia Regional Environmental Economics Programme since 1 May 2009, based in Colombo, Sri Lanka (spb@iucnsl.org); and
  • Mr David Huberman, Programme Associate in the Chief Economist’s office, recently appointed Network Coordinator for the new Thematic Priority Area on “Greening the World Economy” (david.huberman@iucn.org).

In addition to these new appointments, since the Barcelona Congress the Secretariat has launched several “green economy” initiatives. Highlights include the following:

As part of the global study on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity or “TEEB” (see separate article in this newsletter), IUCN developed a major outreach component on biodiversity and business. This includes a review of the risks to business from biodiversity loss and ecosystem decline, opportunities to align markets and business with biodiversity conservation, and how to measure and report business impacts on biodiversity. More details are available at: http://earthmind.net/bbb/teeb.htm

In February 2009, IUCN together with UNEP, the IFC, the Secretariat of the CBD and the governments of the UK and The Netherlands, organized an expert meeting in Amsterdam. The aim of the workshop was to explore the potential for developing international financing mechanisms for biodiversity conservation, or a “Green Development Mechanism” (GDM). Based on a report commissioned from researchers in the UK, the workshop identified four leading options for a GDM: 1) Tradable conservation obligations; 2) Biodiversity offsets with international support; 3) Biodiversity footprint taxation with structured supply; and 4) Greening of commodity imports. For more information about the proposals and workshop, see: http://www.landecon.cam.ac.uk/research/eeprg/cleed/researchprojects/gdm.htm