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Conditions for Community-Based Governance of Biodiversity

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Type: Book
Author: Sandberg, Audun
Publisher: Nordland Research Institute
Location: Bodoe, Norway
Date: 1999
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/41
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Region: North America
Subject(s): biodiversity--policy
community participation
Abstract: "Endangered wild species are an important part of the international environmental discourse. This is institutionalized in a number of conventions and treaties, among them the Bern-convention, the Biodiversity Convention and the Washington convention (CITES). But also the health and life of domesticated animals are protected by international conventions like the European Convention for the protection of Animals kept for farming Purposes (European Council). In addition there are international conventions that protect the material basis for the culture and economic life of indigenous peoples and tribal peoples in independent countries: ILO-convention no. 169. "Taken together, these international environmental obligations places responsibility on the states that ratifies the conventions to protect both endangered wild animals and their natural habitats, to protect domesticated animals kept for farming purposes and to protect the material base for the culture of indigenous peoples. In the case of endangered species of predators, this places the modern state in a number of difficult dilemmas that, if not handled properly, undermines the legitimacy of both national and international environmental policies. Predators, like bears, wolves, lynx and wolverines are in their natural state opportunists who kill the most easily accessible prey. Among these are often sheep and reindeer kept by farmers in small and economically vulnerable mountain communities and by indigenous peoples who rely on pastoralism as the material base both for their economic and cultural life. It is quite obvious that it then is a serious dilemma for the modern state to protect the domesticated animals and the local and indigenous communities from the same predators that it is also protecting, in many cases from angry sheep farmers and reindeer herders who want to exterminate predators. The impotence of many modern states in providing solutions to these dilemmas also have the effect of antagonising the urban and the rural part of the environmental movement, and the growth of anti-environmental political factions. Paradoxically, a number of developing countries have had greater success with socially sustainable ways of conservation (IUCN 1997). "The report goes beyond this obvious political dilemma and searches for deeper reasons behind the growth of this type of conflicts. The motivation for this is that it is an important precondition for a continued meaningful environmental discourse to reach a deeper understanding of a number of similar or related processes at work in many localities in the world that has this character of 'environmental backlash'. If the social sciences cannot provide analytical tools that helps us to understand this phenomenon, they fail in their capacity to address contemporary social problems."

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