Past Event

Environmental governance in Argentina

March 8, 2023
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
International Affairs Building, 420 W. 118 St., New York, NY 10027 802

Environmental governance in Argentina: Challenges & lessons on anti-deforestation efforts in agricultural frontiers and in lithium extraction for a fair green energy transition


  • Araceli Clavijo, Postdoctoral researcher of the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET) at GEISA, and Argentine Studies Visiting Fellow at ILAS.

  • Sebastián Aguiar, Postdoctoral researcher of the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET) at IFEVA, and Argentine Studies Visiting Fellow at ILAS.


  • Maria Victoria Murillo, Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies, and professor in the Department of Political Science and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.


Green Fair Energy transition? Socio-environmental problems in the ABC of lithium, by Araceli Clavijo.

The need to mitigate climate change and move away from the economy's dependence on fossil fuels has initiated a global transition to more sustainable or zero-carbon energy sources. Lithium is seen as a critical element in the production of "green" technologies that contribute to this transition. For many decades, the natural resources sector has been one of the main drivers of economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean. Today, Argentina is positioned as one of the world's leading producers of lithium, with its reserves located mainly in the Puna salt flats of the provinces of Salta, Catamarca, and Jujuy. Lithium could become an engine of development for the region, but what are the real impacts of the activity? Addressing socio-environmental challenges and ensuring compliance with the population's access to environmental information will ensure a fair and equitable transition to electromobility.


Lessons, opportunities, and challenges of anti-deforestation strategies in the Argentinean Chaco, by Sebastián Aguiar 

The Gran Chaco is a global deforestation hotspot where forests are rapidly being converted to crops and pasture for feeding cattle. A significant fraction of these agricultural products is marketed internationally. Although foreign currency derived from these exports is central for the economies of Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay, the agricultural expansion also triggers substantial ecological and social problems including biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions, soil degradation, land privatization, and social unrest in rural territories, among others. Hence, balancing production and conservation has become one of the main challenges in the Chaco, and halting deforestation is a global policy goal. In Argentina, which accounts for half of the area of the Chaco ecoregion, a law to protect native forests (the “Forest Law”) was enacted in 2007. In this seminar, I will present some of the main challenges and opportunities that the Forest Law presents 15 years after its enactment. I will also discuss complementary actions for halting deforestation employed in other agricultural commodity frontiers that could be useful in the Argentinean Chaco.


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