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As a fiscal policy instrument, subsidies are used not only for redistributive purposes but also to incentivise behaviours that take social costs into account. In recent years, a good many stakeholders have pointed out that some subsidies produce negative effects on biodiversity: these are referred to as biodiversity “harmful” or “damaging” subsidies. While many of these subsidies are politically justified by the need to support ailing and/or strategic economic sectors, there is heated debate about their rationale and the possibilities of reforming them.

The goal of this international conference on subsidies harmful to biodiversity is to contribute to the debates on what is often presented as a temporary malfunctioning. It will also help to identify avenues of inquiry likely to set us on the path to achieving the objectives of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity adopted in Nagoya in 2010.

The conference is proposing three sessions and a round table on key issues:
•    Harmful subsidies: the emergence of the concept, methods for identifying them and a presentation of the French case study
•    What process creates harmful subsidies in key sectors?
•    Reform or removal – are these subsidies unavoidable?
•    What are the stakes and the social and political feasibility of reforming harmful subsidies?

With: Patrick ten Brink (IIEP), Bernard Coloos (Fédération française du bâtiment), Jean-Michel Charpin (ministère de l’Économie, des Finances et de l’Industrie), Markus Knigge (Pew Environment Group), Christiane Lambert (FNSEA), Roger Martini (OECD), Romain Pirard (Iddri), Xavier Poux (AScA), Vincent Renard (Iddri), Pascal Reysset (Expertise urbaine), Trees Robijns (Birdlife), Guillaume Sainteny (École Polytechnique), Jean-Pierre Tardieu (Veolia).

The series of conferences on biodiversity and ecosystems organised by IDDRI and the Fondation d' entreprise Hermès aims to contribute to making biodiversity a real issue for society, by opening up debates beyond purely expert circles.

It was launched with an inaugural conference on 16 February 2010 at the musée du quai Branly (Paris) entitled "Biodiversity 2010 and beyond? ».