Dr Giulia Sajeva on 'The Rights of Sustainable Local Communities: Moving beyond Payments for Ecosystem Services and Biocultural Rights'

Friday 17 January 15:30 – 17:00. LH127, Lord Hope Building, University of Strathclyde

The slides of the seminar are now available


The idea of human rights was born at a time when meeting universal needs and basic interests seemed to be impelled only by unjust and unwilling rulers. Today, it is overdue for human rights rhetoric, practice and law to incorporate the new challenges the Anthropocene conveys. However, the incorporation of the necessary environmental limits into the human rights realm is a profound and delicate shift, not necessarily always feasible, nor desirable. The idea of biocultural rights provides the germ of a different way to conceive human rights. A germ grounded on their double foundation -– which incorporates environmental as well as human interests – that leads to the rise of a set of internal limits, which turns them into environmentally-conditioned human rights. It has, however, revealed to be dangerous to limit hard-fought-for indigenous rights to considerations relevant for the general interest – even if as important as the conservation of the environment.
The project will seek to go beyond biocultural rights while at the same time responding to the call of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to move also beyond the economy-focused notion of Payments for Ecosystem Services – as payments in return for protecting the benefits people obtain from ecosystems – so to propose a framing that embeds rights-based approaches to the conservation of nature through the recognition of the importance of cultural pluralism. To do so, the project will explore the new notion of Rights for Ecosystems Services (RES), to be recognized to traditional and non-traditional sustainable local communities (hence, not necessarily indigenous) that contribute to the conservation of ecosystems, with the aim of protecting and fostering their environmentally-beneficial actions. They would be rights granted in exchange for the conservation of ecosystem services, based on two concurring foundations: the special link with a certain territory and the commitment to the conservation of the environment: RES would be local communities’ rights with environmental duties.

About Dr Giulia Sajeva

This seminar will aim at introducing the planned research of the new Marie Curie Fellow, Giulia Sajeva, who will join the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG) from January 2020 to December 2021 with a project on the rights of sustainable local communities, with particular focus on Scotland and Sicily.

Giulia Sajeva has a PhD in human rights from the Law Department of the Università di Palermo, Italy, for which she researched the biocultural rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. On this topic, she recently published the book When Rights Embrace Responsibilities. Biocultural Rights and the Conservation of Environment with Oxford University Press. She is an honorary member of the ICCA Consortium, for which she recently co-compiled Meanings and more… ICCA Consortium Policy Brief no.7.