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Globalization of Conservation: A View from the South
In this Policy Forum opinion article from the August 12 Science Magazine, 21 scientists argue that successful global strategies for biodiversity conservation will require strong local leadership and major investment in local capacity and engagement.
The authors, (from universities and institutions in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela) argue that large international and non-governmental organizations are increasingly setting the global conservation agenda. In the past decade, these organizations have been exceedingly successful at fund raising - in some cases increasing their funding and expenditures by 30 - 60% in just five to ten years. This increased funding has "helped offset declines of ~50% in government and multilateral investment in biodiversity conservation", but it has also considerably expanded the global influence of a handful of conservation organizations.
When these circumstances lead to "globalized conservation approaches" imposed on developing country governments and communities, these approaches often fail to link their broad agendas and global values to the concerns of local policy-makers and citizens. Successful conservation solutions require local involvement and ownership, and engagement with "extremely diverse natural, socio-economic and cultural systems."
In some cases, large international nongovernmental organizations are increasingly registering in developing countries, making them more accountable to national governments and citizens but also potentially competing with local NGOs for resources, niche and talented staff. Successful global conservation strategies will focus on bolstering local institutions, including civil society organizations, universities, and local government agencies.
Finally, the authors note that successful biodiversity conservation "continues to require improved integration with human welfare concerns." Conservation investment and intervention will be most effective where issues like socio-economic opportunity, equity, social justice, and good governance are also addressed by international, national, and local actors.
Read the whole article in Science Magazine here.
Posted By Megan Liddle at 9:11am on November 23, 2007
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