Blaikie Lecture Blaikie Lecture

This Annual Public Lecture is named in honour of Piers Blaikie, one of the emeritus professors of UEA's School of International Development and an influential figure in the world of political ecology.  

The lecture is intended as a vehicle to explore the real world politics of the environment and international development. The lecture is given by eminent international speakers who are renowned for their contribution to environmental politics and practice. It is a public engagement event, attended by a large and well-informed audience with a research and activist agenda.

The lecture is supported by a wide-ranging press and social media campaign. It is also the occasion for presentation of the Annual Blaikie Prize for the best Masters dissertation on the politics of the environment.


Previous Speakers:

2018 Yolanda Kakabadse, Previous president of WWF International

2016. Ramachandra Guha, Historian and Biographer

2015. Jakob Von Uexkull, Founder of the World Future Council and the Right Livelihood Award

2014. Sir Jonathon Porritt, Forum for the Future

2013. Pippa Howard, Director, Business and Biodiversity Programme, Fauna and Flora International

2012. M. S. Swaminathan, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation

2011. Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies

Blaikie Lecture on Politics of the Environment 2018 Blaikie Lecture on Politics of the Environment 2018

Yolanda Kakabadse

Environmental Agenda: Policy or Politics?

Blaikie Lecture on Politics of The Environment 2018


Protection of the quality of life of People, and therefore of the Environment that supports them, requires solid and long-term vision and policies. Politics however, play an important role in defining how good or visionary, or poor and shortsighted these policies are.

Sustainability is based on four “legs”: environmental, social, economic and governance. The challenge is to ensure a balance amongst them, and to be aware politics do not distort the goals. Political actors are important and necessary in driving the sustainability agenda. Juggling with needs and interests of their constituencies, national and global realities – as well as personal values – challenge their ability to leave a positive political footprint wherever they perform.

Sound, sustainable policies, need to be based on reliable information. Intuition is not enough.



Yolanda Kakabadse – Ecuadorian – was Minister of Environment for Ecuador from 1998 – 2000. She served as NGO Liaison Officer for the United Nations Conference for Environment and Development (the Rio Earth Summit) in 1992. Former President of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) (1996 - 2004).

In 1979 she was appointed Executive Director of Fundacion Natura in Quito, where she worked until 1990. In 1993 she founded Fundacion Futuro Latinoamericano, and served as Executive President until 2007 and is now its Senior Adviser. She chaired the Scientific and Technology Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility (STAP / GEF) from 2005 to 2008. Now Chairs the Independent Science and Technology Advisory Panel to the Renova Foundation in Brazil.

Ms. Kakabadse is a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Group of AXA, Member of the B Team, member of Champions 12.3, Board Member of Sistema B (Latin America) and Grupo Faro (Ecuador).

Ms. Kakabadse was President of WWF International between January 2010 and December 2018.