Use your power for good: plural valuation of nature – the Oaxaca statement
This paper summarizes the outcomes of a workshop on multiple values of nature held in November 2017 in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico.i The workshop convened 28 participants from diverse regional, disciplinary and professional backgrounds, active in transformative research and practice. After sharing local, subglobal and global experiences on the plural valuation of nature, we identified a common vision, a mission to pursue with the growing plural valuation community and part of a strategy going forward. Nature is valued in very different ways by individuals and groups with very unequal levels of power, and a more plural approach to valuing nature is increasingly seen as critical to addressing deep inequities, injustices and conflicts. Scientists and practitioners working on the valuation of nature have a position of power to contribute to addressing this challenge. Yet the power of the research community to foster change remains unrealized as the dominant scientific postures and academic structures, as well as institutional incentives at a practical level, can often restrict open debate and constrain transformative change. Recent research on the ineffectiveness and potential harmfulness of single-approach valuation (e.g., Bigger et al., 2017; McDermott et al., 2013; Pascual et al., 2014; Poole, 2018; Rozzi, 2012; Turnhout et al., 2013) has increased awareness of the importance of plural valuation. We argue that a global paradigm shift towards a more plural valuation is urgently needed, and in support of the emerging plural valuation initiatives we propose a shared vision, mission and strategy for the growing group of researchers and practitioners who (re)position themselves at the frontline of post-normal and action-orientated research, as well as decision-making around nature.