Centre for Latin American Studies, University of Warsaw Human Rights Consortium, School of Advanced Study, University of London have a pleasure to invite to the international symposium Social-Environmental Conflicts, Development Dilemmas and Human Rights in Latin America. Symposium will take place at the University of Warsaw on 29th April.

Latin America has recently become an arena of apparently clashing trends related to the question of development. The “progressive” and supposedly pro-indigenous regimes that emerged during the last decade were applauded by advocates of postdevelopment or postgrowth concepts for incorporation of sustainable and environmentally balanced model of Buen vivir. Inspired by indigenous cosmovision and principles, it was expected to be a new alternative to old-fashioned paradigm of unlimited resource exploitation and endless growth.


However, the global boom in commodities prices and the need to finance ambicious social programmes has led Latin American governments to adopt exctractivist policies as a pillar of development. The new extractivism, but also expanding agro-industrial monocultures, road infrastructure and energetic mega projects like hydro-electric dams, provoke growing number of conflicts with local communities over control of land and resources, often leading to serious human rights abuses. Observers report violence and reppresion, pointing to the threat produced by such policy to the well-being of affected population and the ability of indigenous peoples to sustain themselves physically and culturally and to defend their right to decide about their own model of development.


The symposium examines the dilemmas of development in today’s Latin America, marked by the pursuit of economic growth, technological improvement and reduction of poverty on the one hand, and growing concerns about the environment, natural resources preservation and human rights on the other. It will analyse socio-environmental conflicts, the infringement of human rights and responses of communities to the threats they face. It will also discuss the emergence of alternative development models and the very philosophy of development.


Programme (pdf)