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A network for all who care about the conservation of our world and who want to see it achieved with justice, compassion, dignity and honesty.

Land grabbing: is conservation part of the problem or the solution?

An IIED briefing paper on land acquisition and rights prepared by Tom Blomley, Dilys Roe, Fred Nelson, Fiona Flintan

Large-scale land acquisitions are increasing in pace and scale, in particular across parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Weak governance and poor land use planning mean that commercial ‘land grabs’ often damage biodiversity as well as dispossessing people from customary rights and livelihoods. Land can also be ‘grabbed’ for ‘green’ purposes, triggering conflicts that undermine potential synergies. Expanded state protected areas, land for carbon offset markets and REDD, and for private conservation projects all potentially conflict with community rights. Such conflict is counterproductive because secure customary and communal land tenure helps enable sustainable natural resource management by local communities. This briefing presents the experience of international development, wildlife and human rights practitioners, shared at a symposium on land grabbing and conservation in March 2013.

More… Nov 04, 2013

Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent - FPIC

These guidelines, designed to be applied by UN-REDD Programme partner countries, “require States to recognize and carry out their duties and obligations to give effect to the requirement of FPIC as applicable to indigenous peoples”.

These guidelines are only applicable to countries that are UN-REDD participants which diminishes the potential impact and reach of the guidelines. In addition, by focussing on indigenous and forest dependent communities, many other communities in need of such protection are beyond the reach of these guidelines. With these limitations the UN continues down the road of developing a web of overlapping guidelines. Why does the UN continue to build such a morass of programme based guidelines rather than moving towards moving towards a universal right to FPIC for all communities with demonstrable rights to land or the resources on it? – JC.

More… Mar 04, 2013

Financialisation, Biodiversity Conservation and Equity: Some Currents and Concerns

"The current biodiversity crisis is giving rise to calls for a massive mobilisation of financial resources to conserve biodiversity and to reduce the drivers of biodiversity loss."

"How does the marketing and financialising of conserved nonhuman nature connect with a historical trajectory that consolidates capital, including 'natural capital', in the hands of a minority of people?... ...it highlights that when nature aspects are converted into a dollar sign in a capitalist market economy, it may be the dollar that is valued, not the nature that underlies this." An important essay from JC member Sian Sullivan.

More… Feb 18, 2013

The Living Convention on Biocultural Diversity

A Compendium of Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ Rights Relevant to Maintaining the Integrity and Resilience of Territories and other Biocultural Systems

An overview of the compendium contains a comprehensive compilation of international legal provisions organized into categories of rights that support the stewards of biocultural diversity. It is intended to serve as a useful resource for Indigenous Peoples, local communities, NGOs and others who want to reference and use international law at the national and local levels. A first draft of the publication has been completed and we welcome its rigorous peer review.

More… Nov 22, 2012

Video - Natural Justice and Community Protocols

Biocultural Community Protocols: Articulating and Asserting Stewardship

Video from Natural Justice focussing on protocols developed by Indigenous peoples or mobile or local communities ("community protocols"). A useful means by which a range of peoples and communities can engage with others according to their values, and on the basis of customary, national and international rights and responsibilities.

More… Nov 21, 2012

The moral arc of conservation.

A personal reflection on conservation's evolving engagement with human rights. A contribution from Dr Kent H. Redford.

“Change also came about at the turn of the last century because of the issue of justice. The arc of conservation was bending with the realization that our moral argument for the value of conserving biodiversity was seriously flawed if we ourselves were acting immorally towards people. Seeking one justice did not justify abrogating another. So conservation entered the period of accommodation, of self-examination, and of change. It was clear that we needed to seriously consider how our actions, taken in pursuit of conservation goals, affected the rights of the people impacted by those actions.”

More… Nov 15, 2012

Common and Conflicting Interests in the Engagements between Conservation Organizations and Corporations

"Conservation is primarily not about biology but about people and the choices they make."

Abstract: The conservation community increasingly views the corporate sector as a positive force for con- servation. Collaborations between corporations and nongovernmental conservation organizations (NGOs) seek to mitigate the negative effects of corporate activities and augment positive conservation outcomes. I reviewed the establishment of corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies by corporations; the emerging fo- cus on environmental practices and sustainability; and the history of engagement between corporations and nongovernmental organizations. I considered the ethical and reputation vulnerabilities of these collabora- tions, which depend especially on the financial nature of the relationship and reviewed how CSR approaches have influenced corporate practices. I concluded that whereas CSR practices can act to mitigate negative environmental impact, to date they have had limited positive effect on biodiversity conservation.

More… Oct 14, 2012

Linking science and human rights: Facts and figures

S. Romi Mukherjee outlines human rights-based approaches to science, technology and development, and what they mean for policy and practice.

"Many international policy scholars argue that rights-based approaches help to re-orient NGOs and the UN system away from professionalised philanthropy and towards capacity-building; that they promise sustainable interventions and reduce dependency on aid; and that they help to redefine the responsibilities of governmental authorities, local actors, NGOs, and the UN system."

More… Oct 02, 2012