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May 23, 2012

Can We Shape Economic Policy to Save Species?

Humane Society International/UK

  • Can economic policy help save tigers? Brooke Sabin

Humane Society International/UK executive director Mark Jones will speak at a symposium on economic policy and how it impacts on biodiversity in London on 25 May 2012.

Titled "Economics as if life mattered: Can we shape economic policy to save species?", the event will see experts in conservation and economics explore links and outline strategies for prioritising wildlife conservation in the new economy.

The lectures will challenge the assumptions underpinning our economic system, posing questions and proposing solutions essential for the future of conservation.

Quotations from symposium presenters:

"The illegal trade in 'medicinal' wildlife products is mostly driven by consumer perceptions that don’t obey the rules of economics, which the current global crisis shows to be a very inexact science anyway. For example, why are wild tigers and bears being poached at an alarming rate, when thousands of them are being held captive and 'harvested' for their body parts in east Asia?" – Mark Jones, executive director of Humane Society International

On the topic of EU subsidies: "Actively spending money to harm society is the most obvious absurdity." – Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy at Birdlife International

"The sixty-four thousand dollar question is whether economic development, particularly in a country striving to tackle persistently high levels of unemployment and poverty, can align with preserving the integrity of ancient desert systems, a unique biodiversity and the livelihood needs of people living in, or dependent on, the Central Namib." – Pippa Howard, Director of Corporate Partnerships, Fauna & Flora International

Other speakers will include Alejandro Nadal from the IUCN, Green Economist Molly Scott Cato, Eric Mungatana from CEEPA, South Africa, as well as directors of Fauna & Flora International, Center for the Advancement of a Steady State Economy, ZSL Conservation Programmes, Birdlife International and Scottish Wildlife Trust.

Topics will include economic drivers of extinction, costs of unsustainable agriculture to wildlife, alternative measures of progress, integrating conservation into EU policy, questions around the usefulness of putting monetary values on ecosystem services, and the contentious issue of corporate partnerships.

Organized by the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC), new economics foundation (nef) and The Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE), the event will be hosted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

More information, including details on how to register, can be found on the conference website.

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