Biodiversity in good company? The international development of biodiversity offsets and some preliminary comments about India

@ATREE auditorium at 3.45 pm on 15th February 2016


The focus of this talk will be on the international development of voluntary biodiversity offsets, a conservation instrument that permits developers to pursue their activities if conservation actions are undertaken elsewhere to compensate for the environmental impacts of their projects. Largely undertaken by extractive industries that operate in the global South where no offsetting regulations exist, this tool is currently attracting growing interest from policy makers, private companies, financial institutions and conservation experts. I will explore in what contexts and through what processes this idea has gathered momentum, as well as the disturbing gap between the way it has been framed and its practical implementation. I will conclude with some preliminary comments on the (very early stage of the) development of biodiversity offsets in India, and how this topic could become a fruitful research project in the near future.

About the speaker

Sarah Benabou is a research fellow at the “Institut de Recherche pour le Développement” (IRD) in Paris, France. Her principal research interest is in the politics of nature conservation in the global South (with a focus on India) and their social consequences, as part of a wider interest in political ecology. She is currently engaged in developing an ethnography of the making of voluntary standards for biodiversity offsets in India. Before this research project on a market-linked nature conservation scheme, she worked on the pitfalls of protected areas. She submitted in 2012 a PhD thesis in social anthropology entitled “Conserving Nature by Excluding Humans? The Struggle for Access and Use of Natural Resources in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Uttarakhand”.