Date of Award

Fall 12-18-2020

Degree Type

Honors Thesis


International Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies

First Advisor

Brian Dowd-Uribe

Second Advisor

John Zarobell


Every aspect of our world is impacted by climate change – our food, water, infrastructure and security systems. Bioeconomy and the biobased economy have emerged as two types of models with the potential to transform industries away from extractive practices without losing economic activity. By pivoting decisively to embrace sustainable bioeconomic and biobased economic strategies nations can contribute to their long term development, and make a real difference in the fight against climate change. This study seeks to analyze national bioeconomic policy documents to better understand the orientation, status and level of bioeconomic policy discourse in the founding MERCOSUR countries – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. I analyze 14 policy documents using the analytical framework developed by Staffas et al, (2013). Preliminary finds emerged in three areas: (i) Incomplete Policies, (ii) Orientation of Documents and (iii) Good Effort. Over half of the policy documents did not use definitions, or did not specify if they were using bioeconomy or biobased economy approach – leaving interpretation open. Furthermore, just under half lacked measurable targets. A majority of the documents were politically oriented, being aimed at lay people, policy makers or governments. There was impressive stakeholder consideration in over half of the documents examined. I conclude that despite a desire to transform their economies, there is no unified strategic vision between the policy documents in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. And, the policies suffer from similar weaknesses as discussed in Staffas et al, 2013, given the lack of definitions and measurable targets. There is a pressing need for policy and strategy that proposes inside-out solutions given the unique development challenges faced by these countries.