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“Positioning ethnobiology in the global sustainability debate: a collaborative session” Special Session at the SEB-ISEB 2020 Conference in Mona, Jamaica – 31 May – 4 June 2020

Chairs: Dr. Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel ([email protected]), Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern and Dr. Gary Martin ([email protected]), Global Diversity Foundation

Call for participation: We are looking for experts to participate in our proposed session, described below. As we do not have funding to support travel costs or registration fees of participants, we are seeking expressions of interest from colleagues who have already registered and plan to attend the SEB-ISE 2020 Jamaica Conference.

If you are interested in contributing to this panel, please contact us by 22 March and indicate the specific theme you would like to address. We will inform all applicants about the selection of panelists ahead of the conference early registration deadline (31 March 2020).

Session description: The world is facing an unprecedented crisis of climate change, growing inequalities and biodiversity loss1. To meet these challenges and unlock the transformational capacity of research, we urgently need a sustainability science that is accessible and mutually beneficial to all2. How do the science and practice of ethnobiology position themselves in the global sustainability debate? What is the potential role of the discipline for achieving sustainable development, and in particular the Sustainable Development Goals? And more specifically, how are recent advances in ethnobiology pushing the frontiers of knowledge needed to achieve sustainable development? In this interactive session, we will ponder and explore these issues with researchers and practitioners.

The workshop will be organized around the six entry points for achieving the needed transformations identified by the Global Sustainable Development Report (2019)1:

  1. 1)  Human well-being and capabilities
  2. 2)  Sustainable and just economies
  3. 3)  Food systems and nutrition patterns
  4. 4)  Energy decarbonization with universal access
  5. 5)  Urban and peri-urban development
  6. 6)  Global environmental commons

The session will be organized as a 3-hour interactive workshop, open to all interested conference participants. During the first part, an invited expert will present a brief overview of each of the sub-themes, followed by open debate in a round table discussion. In the second part, participants will have the opportunity to contribute their knowledge and experiences to the discussion in thematic working groups led by the invited experts.

The invited experts will be asked to prepare in advance a 300-word statement to answer the session’s questions based on their expertise and with reference to the most recent and important literature in the field. At the congress, they will be expected to present their statement, participate in the round table discussion, and to lead one of the working groups. The results of this collaborative work will be published as a joint synthesis/opinion paper, in a journal such as Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.

1. IndependentGroupofScientistsappointedbytheSecretary-General.GlobalSustainableDevelopment Report 2019: The Future is Now – Science for Achieving Sustainable Development. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/gsdr2019 (2019).

2.Messerli,P.etal.ExpansionofsustainabilityscienceneededfortheSDGs.Nat.Sustain.2,892–894(2019).