Financialization of Mother Earth: Do Offsets and Payments or Rights-based Approaches Provide For Better Conservationist Approaches?


Hans Morten Haugen
Professor, VID Specialized University,
P.O. Box 184 Vinderen 0319 Oslo,


Five different regimes or approaches to nature conservation are analyzed: Carbon markets, Payments for Environmental Services (PES), Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), human rights and rights of nature (Mother Earth). The climate change mitigation effort is the policy context for studying these approaches. The current  dominant approach involves payments and offsets, with social and environmental safeguard mechanisms being increasingly applied , influenced by substantive human rights requirements. REDD projects stand out from PES projects by being performance-based, while the Mother Earth approach has so far not had a decisive influence on policy-making. Keohane and Daniel G. Victor’s six evaluative criteria to assess regime complexes are applied to assess these regimes or approaches: (i) coherence; (ii) accountability; (iii) determinacy; (iv) sustainability; (v) epistemic embedding; and (vi) fairness. The article finds that the evaluative criteria indeed have a role to play in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the various regimes and approaches and that the human rights regime has an  under-utilised potential in guiding conservationist approaches in the context of climate change.


Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards (PS), international regime complex theory, Payment for Environmental Services (PES), polycentric governance theory, Social and Cultural Rights, World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework (ESF).             Revue LEAD - ISSN 1746-5893