The relation between the practice of nature conservation and sustainable development is a tense one in two key regards. Both the declaration of strictly protected areas and the economic valuation of ecosystem services frequently disregard the needs of local stakeholders in the Global South. In their new book The Conservation Revolution. Radical Ideas for Saving Nature in the Anthropocene, Bram Büscher and Robert Fletcher draft a vision of convivial conservation as an alternative to these dominant practices: Instead of safeguarding nature from humans through protected areas, it argues for a much stronger integration of human and non-human environments. Instead of saving natural resources for the sake of capitalist economic growth, nature conservation should be embedded in an economy-wide degrowth strategy.
In order to discuss these ‘radical ideas’, the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) organised an online book launch with around 60 participants on 19 May 2020. Steffen Bauer, head of the Klimalog project at DIE, introduced the event. He emphasised the relevance of the questions raised by the authors in light of the upcoming UN climate and biodiversity negotiations. After a summary presentation of the book by its authors and critical appraisals by discussants Fatema Rajabali of the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Ina Lehmann of DIE, the authors responded to questions raised by the audience. Jean Carlo Rodriguez, biodiversity expert in the Klimalog project, moderated the event and, in concluding, thanked all participants for a lively discussion.