The countries of Latin America are undergoing major societal and economic change. Endogenous societal paradigms have arisen in response to the centuries-long dominance of the North and of globalization characterized by neoliberal economic policies. In Bolivia, for example, an independent articulation of sustainable development emerged, known as vivir bien (“living well”); it builds on indigenous ideas of how to relate to “Mother Earth”. While these concepts have found their way into the global debate on sustainability, the corresponding discourse has begun to be politically instrumentalized in Bolivia. In Peru, on the other hand, the commodity industry is contributing to the financing of public policy.
In the context of different projects, CDE explores use of natural resources, biocultural diversity, and its interpretation by local population groups. CDE researchers are particularly concerned with questions of food security and food sustainability regarding the massive soya plantations in the tropical lowlands. In addition, we investigate opportunities and risks of the “quinoa boom”, feminization of agriculture, and labour mobility in the Andean highlands.