14: Bioeconomy, Justice and Development Cooperation

The fossil-based global economy is riddled with inequalities of various kinds. Consequently, there is a growing global interest in nurturing an alternative bioeconomy-based global system. Transitions to bioeconomy, by definition, implies transition to economy and development based on biological resources. While bioeconomy provides many opportunities, it also poses challenges and risks. The EU level of self-sufficiency in bioresources continues to decrease and, while the US and Canada remain Europe’s major providers of biomass, the share of African and Asian biomass markets in Europe is growing steadily. EU’s increasing biomass imports may cause additional natural resource degradation, biodiversity loss, climate-related risks, and competition between food production and bioenergy. These risks call for a need to assess environmental, societal, and climate-related justice implications of the growing bioeconomy in the global context. We call for contributions dealing with procedural and distributional, as well as climate-related justice dimensions associated with the political momentum for a shift to bioeconomy in the ‘Global North’. Contributions from various geographical regions are welcome. However, highlighting the current momentum of, and a renewed interest in, strengthening cooperation, partnerships and financing for sustainable development in Africa by the EU and Finland, we appreciate contributions related to EU and Finnish development interventions in African countries. Underpinning this panel theme is the tension between the concept of ‘just transition’ and the postcolonial notion of ‘just sustainabilities’ developed by Julian Agyeman, stressing a just transformation in which multiple paths for sustainability are recognised and encouraged. Topics may relate to bioeconomy governance and the questions of representation (i.e. who influences decisions-making and implementation), recognition (i.e. how people’s identities, heritage and histories are respected in the environmental policy and implementation), and distribution (i.e. distribution of opportunities and risks, not only of economic nature, but also related to rights and responsibilities). Contributions on other aspects of environmental justice, such as climate justice, are very welcome too. Outstanding papers may be selected as part of a proposal for a special issue. Abstracts (max. 250 words) should be emailed to the first panel chair.

Panel chairs

Sabaheta Ramcilovic-Suominen, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). sabaheta.ramcilovik-suominen@luke.fi

Pia Katila, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)