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The biodiversity offsets as market-based instruments in global governance: Origins, success and controversies

Hrabanski M.. 2015. Ecosystem Services, 15 : p. 143-151.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.12.010

The recent surge in the popularity of biodiversity offsets is particularly interesting since the idea of compensation with respect to biodiversity can be traced as far back as the 1970s in Europe and the United States, as part of the Ramsar Convention (1972), which recommended compensation for damage to biodiversity. The view of compensation has nevertheless evolved since the turn of the century, and new programs of biodiversity compensation have developed through a mechanism called ¿biodiversity offsets¿. Compensation mechanisms have thus undergone a 'renovation' on both the international and national environmental policy scenes. In this article, we use the term 'renovation' to represent the active modification and adaptation of existing mechanisms as market-based instruments to facilitate their implementation in different contexts. What is the origin of this renovation? How has it been disseminated? And what actors have precipitated it? We put forward the hypothesis that this renovation could be explained by the convergence between old national dynamics focused on the original definition of compensation mechanisms and more recent transnational dynamics that follow the 1990s appearance of dialog centered on the ¿market-based instrument¿ concept.

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