Dr. M.G. Bastos Lima

  • Position:PhD researcher


Mairon Bastos Lima has an international and interdisciplinary background with degrees on both natural and social sciences related to the environment. He holds a bachelor and teaching degree on biological sciences obtained in Brazil, a master’s degree in environmental studies from Canada, and has done a PhD in environmental studies in the Netherlands (to be defended in early 2014). Since 2006 his research has focused on the institutional and political dimensions of sustainable development, with particular attention to rural development, agriculture, food security, and – most recently – “green economy” issues.

Mairon’s PhD research has analyzed the politics of biofuel governance and the distributional outcomes of biofuel promotion in Brazil, India and Indonesia, providing a timely social science assessment of emerging “green” sectors. He has also done case study research on REDD+ issues in Indonesia and on indigenous peoples and biodiversity conservation in Brazil, for EU-funded projects (D-ALEREDRT and COMBIOSERVE). All works have included analysis of institutions, drivers, equity issues and political strategizing in policy fields related to the environment. 

Mairon participated in the Global Governance Project and has been an Earth System Governance research fellow since 2009. He has published more than once with UN organizations besides academic journals. In 2013, one of these publications was picked up by The Guardian for a piece on biofuels and rural poverty (see online).

On a personal level, Mairon has a taste for world history and languages – he speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish and French, has passive knowledge of Italian and so far a basic command of Dutch, Czech and Russian.


Politics, policies and governance of land-use, energy and agriculture, with particular expertise on biofuels; North-South relations; Food security and sustainable agri-food systems.

Academic training

2008 – 2014PhD in Environmental Studies, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2006 – 2008Master’s in Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo, Canada. (Thesis and defence with maximum approval; no revisions)
2005Post-graduate diploma in Philosophical Themes, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil.
2001– 2004 Concurrent Bachelor’s and Teaching degrees in Biological Sciences, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil. (Maximum score on bachelor’s thesis and final presentation)

Professional employment history

Dec 2013 – Feb 2014Researcher for the COMBIOSERVE project (EU FP7). Analysis of multilevel institutional strategies on indigenous peoples’ rights and biodiversity conservation in Brazil. Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Mar – Jun 2013Consultant for VU University Amsterdam in the COMBIOSERVE project. Field work in Brazil.
Jul 2009 – Jun 2012Research assistant to Prof. Joyeeta Gupta. Project coordination, environmental policy and governance analysis. Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Apr – Jun 2011Intern at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Bogor, Indonesia. Work related to the REDD-ALERT project.
Jan - Apr 2008Teaching Assistant for the 3rd year course “Approaches to environmental decision-making”, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, Canada.
May - Aug 2007Volunteer at the implementation of the Region of Waterloo’s Pilot Project on the provision of local and healthier foods to communities with impaired access to them. Kitchener, Canada.
Sep 2006 –          May 2007Volunteer assistant at the University of Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, University of Waterloo, Canada.
Sep – Oct 2006Volunteer assistant at the coordination of the 1st Campus Farmers’ Market of the University of Waterloo, Canada.
Aug – Dec 2004Intern teacher on sciences and biology for elementary and high schools, under the supervision of Dr Andreia Marin. Department of Teaching Practice. Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil.
Apr – Dec 2004Intern researcher in ecology and biodiversity of social insects, under the supervision of Dr Marcio Pie. Department of Zoology, Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil.


2008Teaching Assistantship. University of Waterloo, Canada.
2006 – 2008International Master’s Student Award. University of Waterloo, Canada.
2006 – 2007Graduate Student Entrance Scholarship. University of Waterloo, Canada.

Selected publications

Articles in peer-reviewed journals and other peer-reviewed papers

Bastos Lima, M.G. and Gupta, J. (forthcoming 2014). The Extraterritorial Effects of Biofuel Policies and the Politics of Scale: Live and Let Die? Third World Quarterly, 35(3).

Bastos Lima, M.G. and Gupta, J. (2013). The Policy Context of Biofuels: A Case of Non-Governance at the Global Level? Global Environmental Politics, 13(2), 46-64. [Online access]

Bastos Lima, M.G. (2012). An Institutional Analysis of Biofuel Policies and their Social Implications: Lessons from Brazil, India and Indonesia. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), Occasional Paper n.9, series “Social Dimensions of Green Economy and Sustainable Development”.[Online access]

Kuik, O., Bastos Lima, M.G & Gupta, J. (2011). Energy Security in a Developing World. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews, 2(4), 627-634. [Online access]

Bastos Lima, M.G. (2009). Biofuel Governance and International Legal Principles: Is it Equitable and Sustainable? Melbourne Journal of International Law, 10(2), 470-492. [Online access]. (This article was selected for a follow-up debate on the Opinio Juris discussion board with Prof. C. Ford Runge, here)

McAllister Kattides, M.L. and Bastos Lima, M.G. (2008). Changing Food Systems and Implications for Sustainable Communities:  Cyprus, Canada and Brazil. Environments, 36 (1), 45-58. [Online access]

Bastos Lima, M.G (2008). Street food: Brazilian street vending nourishes the local economy and supports farmers. Alternatives, 34(3), 30-32.

Policy briefs

Bastos Lima, M.G. (2013). Adjusting Biofuel Policies to meet Social and Rural Development Needs: Analysing the Experiences of Brazil, India and Indonesia. International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Policy research brief n.40, Brasilia. [Online access]. (This brief was later picked up by The Guardian for an online article, here)


Bastos Lima, M.G. (forthcoming 2014). The Politics of Biofuel Governance and Sustainability: Agency, Institutions and Social Equity Dimensions of “Green Economies” in the making. Springer, Dordrecht.

Book chapters

Bastos Lima, M.G., Gupta, J., Grijp, N.vd, Agus, F. (2013) “Case study: Indonesia”, in Climate Change, Forests and REDD (ed. J. Gupta, N. van der Grijp and O. Kuik). Routledge, London.

Gupta, J., Grijp, N. vd, Bigot, L., Bastos Lima, M.G., Kuiper, J.Y.B., and von Blücher, F. (2013). “Comparative Analysis of Vietnam, Indonesia, Cameroon and Peru”, in Climate Change, Forests and REDD (ed. J. Gupta, N. van der Grijp and O. Kuik). Routledge, London.

Bastos Lima, M.G. (2012). “The Brazilian Biofuel Industry: Achievements and geopolitical challenges”, in Secure Oil and Alternative Energy: The Geopolitics of Energy Paths of China and the European Union (ed. M.P. Amineh and Yang Guang). Brill Publishing, Leiden.

Bastos Lima, M.G. (2010). “Idéia e Prática da Governança para uma Gestão de Águas Participativa, Justa e Sustentável”, in Série Textos, Água e Ambiente n. 3 (orgs Rocha, J.C.S and Santana Filho, D.M.). Instituto de Gestão das Águas e Clima (INGÁ), Salvador. 

Book reviews

Bastos Lima, M.G. (forthcoming 2014). Review of “Biofuels and Rural Poverty”, by Joy Clancy. The Journal of Development Studies, forthcoming [Online access].

Bastos Lima, M.G. (2012). Review of Environmental, Economic and Policy aspects of Biofuels, by Deepak Rajagopal and David Zilberman, International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 12(1), 105-107. (Open access)

Bastos Lima, M.G. (2010). Review of Global Energy Governance in a Multipolar World, by Dries Lesage, Thijs van de Graaf, and Kirsten Westphal, Review of European Community and International Environmental Law (RECIEL), 19(3), 368-370.

Full conference papers

Bastos Lima, M.G. (2011). An Institutional Analysis of Biofuel Policies and their Social Implications in Developing Countries: Lessons from Brazil, India and Indonesia. Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing back the social dimension, UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). 10-11th October 2011, Geneva.

Bastos Lima, M.G. & Gupta, J. (2009) Biofuel and Global Change: The need for a multilateral governance framework. 2009 Amsterdam Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change. Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Bastos Lima, M.G. & McAllister, M.L. (2008). Food security in Brazilian and Canadian Communities: A Comparative Analysis of Feira de Santana and Waterloo Region. Annals of the IX International Congress of the Brazilian Association of Canadian Studies (ABECAN). Salvador, EDUFBA.


Bastos Lima, M.G. (2008). Sustainable Food Security for Local Communities in the Globalized Era: A Comparative Analysis of Brazilian and Canadian Case Studies. University of Waterloo – Master’s thesis. Available online at http://hdl.handle.net/10012/3660

Bastos Lima, M.G. (2004). Ecologia do forrageamento da formiga Acromyrmex crassispinus (hymenoptera, formicidae). Universidade Federal do Paraná – Honor’s thesis.

Link to full publication list at IVM since 2009

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