Conservation, Environment Justice and Cooperation in Developing Countries

In the contemporary polycentric world, poverty, inequality and sustainability continue to be major development challenges.  Reconciling environmental conservation objectives with the development needs of people in poor countries is one of the major areas where these three challenges intersect.  The rapid economic growth in many developing countries increases the urgency of designing policies that reconcile these objectives.  In the design of these policies, there is an increasing recognition that issues related to justice and fairness should be tackled.  The support for, long term sustainability and efficiency of conservation initiatives in developing countries depend on how just and fair the measures are perceived by people involved.  This panel will look at how poverty alleviation and environmental conservation concerns interact in developing countries drawing from case studies in Africa and Latin America.

The first presentation will look at payments for environmental services (PES) specifically drawing from a research project in Rwanda that used experimental PES around the Nyungwe National Park.  This presentation will focus on how poverty, inequality and conceptions of justice influence the implementation and outcome of the PES and will discuss policy implications.

The second will draw lessons from Latin American countries on the role of conflict in conservation and environmental justice.  This presentation will draw from many case studies in Latin America and emphasises the role of culture and cultural differences at the community level.  It also draws lessons from how environmental conflict can be transformed through inter-cultural relations.

The third presentation is based on research results from experimental games that capture aspects of individual behaviour.  Development initiatives including conservation projects will benefit some while hurting others and as a consequence a new form of inequality evolves.  How sensitive people are to inequality will have an important bearing on the success of development initiatives.  This presentation will explore these using information from experimental games.

All the three presentations are directly linked with the major themes of the conference – poverty, inequality and sustainability.  Particularly, they focus on issues of poverty, inequality and sustainability using specific case studies from developing countries.