Monday, April 15, 2013
PUBLICATION: The politics of rights-based approaches in conservation
A new paper by Prakash Kashwan in the journal Land Use Policy:
Scholars and advocates increasingly favor rights-based approaches over traditional exclusionary policies in conservation. Yet, national and international conservation policies and programs have often led to the exclusion of forest-dependent peoples. This article proposes and tests the hypothesis that the failures of rights-based approaches in conservation can be attributed in significant measure to the political economic interest of the state in the tropics. To this end, the article presents findings from the empirical analysis of the Forest Rights Act of 2006 in India. Two key recommendations emerge from this analysis. One, the proposals for operationalizing rights-based approaches will likely be far more effective if they protect the inalienability of a minimal set of rights critical to the subsistence and well-being of forest people, as opposed to promising the protection of an expansive set of rights subject to the instrumentality of conservation. Two, the proponents of rights-based approaches in conservation need to guard against their actions reinforcing the institutional status quo of the state control of forests. This, in turn, requires international conservation groups to join hands with national forest rights movements.