Setting the Stage for Biofuels: Policy Texts, Community of Practice, and Institutional Ambiguity at the Fourth World Conservation Congress



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Conservation and Society


This paper explores the discussion on biofuels within the fourth World Conservation Congress (WCC) in Barcelona. The focus on energy and biofuels at the WCC was a change from previous Congresses, highlighting a new negotiation of conservation and development trade-offs within the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Resolutions and IUCN programmes from the 2000 WCC onwards built on one another to reframe energy policy in terms of sustainable use, clean energy technologies, and energy access. With this structure in place, an informal group of key actors at the 2008 WCC were able to dominate the biofuels discourse to advance international sustainability standards for biofuels production. Procedural ambiguities in the resolution contact group made this community of practice, largely formed around the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels, especially important. The negotiation of biofuels policies, and energy policy in general, serves as an example of a large-scale trade-off that will directly affect local conservation practice.



WCC, biofuels