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Rights and

The paper concludes with some of the ethical obli-
Integrating Human Rights in gations for conservation practitioners based on a
Conservation Programming respect for environmental human rights. These are:
Karin Svadlenak-Gomez ♦ To avoid or minimize harm, understanding that

conservation can lead to changes which may be
positive or negative for people, wildlife, and the
his brief is intended primarily for conser-
ecosystems which they share;
vation practitioners as a framework for consid-
♦ To work for the long-term conservation of bio-
ering and integrating human rights issues that
diversity and a functioning environment;
arise in biodiversity conservation contexts. It
♦ To involve actively and in a timely fashion indi-
purposely avoids an academic or legal treat-
viduals or groups (rights-holders), including in
ment of the subject. Rather, it provides a gen-
particular indigenous and local people, that may
eral introduction on human rights concepts
be affected by conservation practices and re-
and how they have evolved over time, and
search with the goal of establishing a working
then raises some of the human rights issues
relationship that can be beneficial to all parties
that may be of concern in conservation pro-
♦ To ensure that such involvement is meaningful
and equitable, and that existing inequities based
Reasons for integrating human rights concerns
on gender, social class or ethnicity are not inad-
into conservation programs are suggested, and
vertently reinforced;
different perspectives on environment-related
♦ To respect the rights and characteristics of local
human rights are explored. Although all hu-
and indigenous peoples, especially their acknowl-
man rights are inter-related and indivisible, the
edged rights to their lands, territories, resources
paper then presents an overview of a selection
and knowledge, which derive from their political,
of those rights most relevant in a conservation
economic and social structures and from their
context and discusses how conservation activi-
cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and phi-
ties may impact on and be impacted by the
rights of different rights-holders. It also brings
♦ To seek the free prior informed consent of vul-
up some of the trade-offs that are likely to be
nerable people and to provide them with oppor-
necessary when trying to uphold the rights of
tunities for comparable or enhanced livelihood
different rights-holders.
strategies where displacement from land or
natural resources is unavoidable.
As a way of addressing the issues, the brief in-
♦ To establish processes and mechanisms to bring
troduces elements of a “rights-based” ap-
conflicting interest and rights (for example the
proach, which transforms the concept of
rights claims of present generations for liveli-
“stakeholders” into the rights-based concepts
hood security versus the inter-generational
of “rights-holders” and “duty-bearers”.
claims for biodiversity conservation), into the
open and seek to resolve them.
Finally, the paper provides some suggestions
for incorporating rights into conservation prac-
The annexes provide further background on and
tice. This requires a consideration of the spe-
links to various human rights conventions and decla-
cifics of a place, its ecology, its history, and its
rations, suggestions for further reading, and a tenta-
political context and governance systems.
tive checklist for considering rights in conservation

Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 1
1. Introduction: Raising the issues they were shaped by socialist ideals growing out
of the period of early European and American
The purpose of this brief is to provide conservation industrialization. Thus what is written today in
practitioners a framework for integrating and plan- numerous human rights charters, covenants, and
ning for human rights issues in the conduct of their declarations can be seen as the result of a cumu-
work. This is not an academic treatment of the sub- lative historical process that has evolved, some
ject. It merely raises some of the prevalent issues might say progressed, over millennia.
and attempts to provide a malleable rather than pre-
scriptive framework for considering human rights The world's major religious and moral traditions
when making biodiversity conservation decisions. all acknowledge that people are entitled to live
Before honing in on human rights in the context of in freedom, justice, dignity and economic secu-
environment and biodiversity conservation, a brief rity.
background on the evolution of human rights is pre- “Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in
sented. the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human
rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and
1.1 The evolution of human rights – a brief in the equal rights of men and women and have deter-
introduction mined to promote social progress and better standards of
life in larger freedom… Now, therefore, [the] General
Today, as a general principle reflected in national Assembly, [p]roclaims this Universal Declaration of Hu-
and international law and policy, human rights are man Rights as a common standard of achievement for all
peoples and all nations…” (from the Preamble of the
considered inherent to the person and belong
UDHR, 1948)
equally to everyone. In other words, people hold
human rights simply because they are human. These
Out of many distinct yet complementary views
rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent, and
developed the International Bill of Rights2,
their realization requires empowerment, transpar-
which includes the Universal Declaration of
ency, accountability and participation. Their aim is
Human Rights (UDHR)3, the International
to uphold human dignity and freedom, and to ensure
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
political, social and economic equity as well as a sort
(ICCPR)4, and the International Covenant on
of communal solidarity.
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
(ICESCR)5. Developed by a multi-national, multi
This has not always been so. The concept of human
-ethnic expert group in the aftermath of the ter-
rights has evolved across the ages and experienced
rible human rights abuses of the second World
many setbacks. For example, the French Revolu-
War, these instruments reflect a broad consen-
tion, with its battle cry “liberté, égalité, fraternité”1,
sus on what human rights should confer to indi-
flaunted a set of universal human rights, but these
viduals. The UDHR states that everyone has the
were later rolled back during a nationalist reaction
right to life, liberty, and security of person, and
arising during the Napleonic wars. Different world-
guarantees to all people the right to a standard
views have repeatedly uncovered inconsistencies
of living adequate for health and well-being. It
within various human rights endeavors. Today one
emphasized the universality of
often speaks of human rights as “liberal”, and yet
rights, equality of all people, made human rights
a collective goal, and defined human rights
“… Men are born and remain free and equal in rights; … broadly in civil, political, economic, social and
The aim of every political association is the preservation of the cultural terms.
natural and inalienable rights of man; these rights are liberty,
property, security, and resistance to oppression. … Free com- However, the fact that the ICCPR and ICESCR
munication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious are separate convenants, also reflects historical
of the rights of man. … Society has the right to require of regional and political conflicts over what the
every public agent an accounting of his administration. … core human rights are. In addition to these
property is a sacred and inviolable right…” (from the French
global instruments, there are also regional ones,
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, 1789)
for example the African Charter on Human

TransLinks 2 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
and Peoples' Rights6 (1981), and national laws the development of the human rights concept. Fur-
that codify principles laid out in the universal ther suggested readings are, however, provided in
documents in a national context. the Annexes (on the history of human rights, see for
example Ishay, 2004; and Shiman, 1999).
Human rights declarations, while not in them-
selves legally binding, state agreed principles and It should be noted that rights come with respon-
minimum standards to allow human beings a life sibilities, or duties as they are more often referred
in dignity. Some, most particularly the Universal to in human rights language. “Rights-holders” are
Declaration on Human Rights, have been consid-
ered as de facto common law because of the
“Those who bear duties with respect to a human right are
wide acceptance of their provisions. Declara- accountable if the right goes unrealized. When a right has
tions are also called “soft-law” instruments. been violated or insufficiently protected, there is always some-
This means that they cannot be enforced, but one or some institution that has failed to perform a
they are useful as a moral standard. Cove- duty.” (UNDP, 2000)
nants, on the other hand, are treaties that are
legally binding (“hard-law” instruments) once a
country has ratified them. individuals and groups with valid human rights
claims, and “duty-bearers” typically are state and
Yet even now, there is not a unified world view non-state actors with corresponding obligations to
on human rights. Many controversies prevail, as rights-holders. Duty-bearers are said to have an
not all countries or cultures, or even individuals obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill human
within the same country, interpret human rights rights. States, corporations, organizations, and indi-
the same way. For example, in the United viduals can simultaneously be rights-holders and
States, the social and economic rights reflected duty-bearers. For example, local people are rights-
in Articles 16 (right to marry and to found a holders as far as access to a livelihood is concerned,
family) and 22 through 27 (right to social secu- and they may simultaneously be duty-bearers when
rity; economic, social and cultural rights; right to they are involved in co-management agreements for
work under just and favorable conditions; right protected areas. Similarly, beyond their obvious
to rest and leisure; right to an adequate stan- role as duty-bearers, conservation organizations and
dard of living; right to education; right to partici- governments also have rights, such as the right to
pate in the cultural life of the community) of the demand accountability.
UDHR, which are codified and further detailed
in the ICESCR, are generally not recognized as Where violations of human rights are alleged, duty-
human rights. Although in 1948 the United bearers may be taken to court. Human rights are
States signed the UDHR, it is one of the few linked to the exercise of “rule of law”, which em-
bodies the principles of equal treatment of all people
before the law and a constitutional guarantee of ba-
“The mark of all civilizations is the respect they accord to sic human rights, with access to fair judicial institu-
human dignity and freedom. All religions and cultural tra- tions and legal processes. Where the courts do not
ditions celebrate these ideals. Yet throughout history they function independently from other state powers, or
have been violated.” (UNDP, 2000) where governance systems do not allow easy access
to legal remedy, citizens are vulnerable to arbitrary
use of state authority and lawless acts of both or-
countries that has signed, but not yet ratified the ganizations and individuals. Conservation organiza-
1966 ICESCR, as subsequent administrations tions working in such countries may engage in nego-
have preferred to view economic and social tiation processes with both local communities and
rights as desirable social goals, but not as human institutions to ensure that they uphold human rights.
rights. In the process they may even end up contributing to
the shaping of the rule of law in countries with
It would go beyond the scope of this brief to “transitional democracies”.
provide a more extensive historical account of
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 3
1.2 Why should conservation practitioners again reaffirmed the linkages between protection
care about human rights? of the environment and protection of human
Human rights are inherently anthropocentric, but The emphasis in these declarations has tended
human civilizations are also inherently tied to the to be on a clean and healthy environment and
natural environment and the biodiversity it brings sustainable use of natural resources (including
forth. To understand the relationship between bio- biodiversity resources) to support human well-
diversity conservation and human rights, it may be being in one way or another. Intrinsic
useful to be aware of the evolution of human rights
thinking related to environmental aspects of human
wellbeing. “Whereas Civilization is rooted in nature, which has
shaped human culture and influenced all artistic and sci-
entific achievement, and living in harmony with nature
The emerging recognition by international policy gives man the best opportunities for the development of
makers of linkages between environmental quality his creativity, and for rest and recreation. … Every
and the enjoyment of basic human rights began to form of life is unique, warranting respect regard-
appear on the agenda of international policy debate less of its worth to man, and, to accord other organ-
in the late 1960s. The 1972 United Nations Confer- isms such recognition, man must be guided by a moral
ence on the Human Environment (UNCED) linked code of action. … The degradation of natural systems
the right to life directly to the environment. In 1982 owing to excessive consumption and misuse of natural
the United Nations adopted the World Charter resources, as well as to failure to establish an appropriate
for Nature7, which proclaimed that humans are economic order among peoples and among States, leads
part of nature and recognized that life depends on to the breakdown of the economic, social and political
framework of civilization… All persons, in accor-
the uninterrupted functioning of natural systems
dance with their national legislation, shall have
which ensure the supply of energy and nutrients. the opportunity to participate, individually or
with others, in the formulation of decisions of
Although it does not explicitly make the link be- direct concern to their environment, and shall
tween nature conservation and human rights, the have access to means of redress when their envi-
emphasis on the life-supporting properties of nature ronment has suffered damage or degradation.
imply, for example, recognition of an intact envi-
ronment supporting the human right to life. (Extracts from the Charter for Nature, 1982, at http://
Procedural human rights, such as the right of access
to information and the right to participate in deci-
sion-making are mentioned in the Charter. (existence) values of biodiversity and wilderness,
while not completely disregarded, are less at the
The Rio Declaration on Environment and Develop- forefront of public discourse at international fo-
ment of 1992 referred to the right to a healthy and rums concerned with poverty reduction or hu-
productive life in harmony with nature, emphasizing man rights. This does not, however, negate the
that the right to development must be fulfilled so as value that considering human rights can add to
to equitably meet developmental and environmental conservation programs, as can be seen in some
needs of present and future generations, and again of the case boxes that follow.
stressed the right of access to environmental infor-
mation and to participation in environmental deci- Focusing specifically on the links between biodi-
sion-making. Ten years later the 2002 World Sum- versity conservation and human rights, a central
mit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg question that can be asked is who benefits and
merely acknowledged the consideration being given who loses from the use of biodiversity, and,
to the “possible relationship between environment related to this, whose rights should be pri-
and human rights”. This was followed in 2003 by a oritized? Although the indivisibility of human
new resolution declared by the United Nations rights accords equal importance to every right
Commission on Human Rights: Resolution and every human being, in practice trade-offs
2003/71 on human rights and the environ- and priority setting are often inevitable.
ment8 as part of sustainable development, which

TransLinks 4 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
acrimony and jeopardize the effectiveness of conser-
vation programs. Multiple experiences have shown
that lack of community support can have a negative
impact on externally motivated efforts to conserve
biodiversity. (See Box 1.)

But even where conservation could be successful
without respecting and upholding local people’s
rights, moral obligation (or, put more strongly, du-
ties that arise from human rights) demands their

Box 1: Conserving Biodiversity in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo: The
Challenge of Participation

The story of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park situated in
© WCS/Ellen Brown

South Kivu in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of
the Congo (DRC) provides a prime illustration of the
confrontational dynamics that are sparked when two
contrasting approaches collide: that of the authorities
seeking to protect a fragile ecosystem from over-
exploitation, and that of indigenous people insisting on their
There are compelling reasons for considering ancestral rights over the territory. It also illustrates how
participatory communication can help to find common
human rights when planning conservation pro-
ground between opposing views and generate cooperative
grams, ranging from moral and ethical concerns action. …
to practical ones. Arguably, because the great-
est biodiversity is often found in areas of great Until very recently, efforts to impose the prescribed ban on
human poverty, when planning and implementing all exploitation of natural resources were met with stiff
resistance from local people, especially the pygmies for
conservation programs in these areas, it is im-
whom the park's territory has been their natural homeland.
portant to consider the rights of local popula- The presence of indigenous people in the zone, who
tions living in and around areas of conservation continue to pursue their traditional way of life, has tended to
concern, and in particular to their subsistence undermine conservation efforts, an effect exacerbated by
and cultural rights. Implicit in the position that uncontrolled poaching and the actions of armed militias. …
saving wildlife and wild places should be achieved
By the mid 1980s, it became clear that widespread local
in an ethical manner, is an obligation to respect opposition to the very existence of the park was a serious
the human rights of local and indigenous peoples obstacle to efforts to conserve its biodiversity. The
who live in these places. In the case of indige- authorities then recognized the need to hold discussions
nous peoples, this may also include group with the people concerned. …
rights (rights belonging to a collective), consid-
These discussions with local people revealed that, as with
eration of which goes beyond the traditional fo- other national parks in the DRC, the Kahuzi-Biega National
cus of human rights treaties on individual rights, Park had always been run in a way that excluded local people
but is equally valid from a moral point of view. from taking any part in its management. Not surprisingly, this
Thus effective wildlife conservation requires a exclusive model was found wanting. What was needed was
an alternative model for managing and conserving the park's
keen understanding of how human activities im-
resources. …
pact the ecological needs of non-human species,
but also how efforts to conserve biodiversity
impact human rights. Violating local people’s Case Study author: Pierre Mumbu. Full case study can be
downloaded from the IDRC website:
rights, for example by overly restricting their 104988-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html
access to natural resources, may foment local
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 5
© WCS/David Wilkie

Recently several of the large international conserva- ment accountability and reduced corruption.
tion organizations have begun to discuss working Although it is usually beyond the scope of work
together on a human rights charter that would pro- of conservation organizations, collaboration with
vide a common base from which conservation civil society organizations involved in such move-
NGOs could demonstrate their commitment to ments can sometimes counteract political back-
maintaining and respecting human rights in their ing for logging, mining or unsustainable wildlife
fields of operation. Although some conservation use.
practitioners may view human rights issues as an
unwelcome distraction from their ultimate goal of This brief also includes examples of benefits
preventing the further destruction of biodiversity, from using a rights-based approach in conserva-
conservation organizations have to be able to ad- tion planning and implementation and discusses
dress human rights within a conservation perspec- the specific issues that tend to arise.
tive. Because of the way this debate is now re-
ported in the media, conservation organizations can- 1.3 Different perspectives on human
not afford to neglect human rights. rights relating to biodiversity and
the environment
In addition though, the integration of a human rights
perspective can enhance the success of conservation Human rights related to the environment or
programs by lending them legitimacy in the eyes of “environmental rights” can be viewed from many
the concerned populations; and it can even lead to different perspectives and at different scales
new, sometimes community-initiated, conservation (global, national, local), leading to potentially dif-
initiatives by generating local support and awareness ferent strategies for biodiversity conservation
of the importance of conservation. Conservation and use. Conservation-minded people who view
success may also be enhanced by support to democ- biodiversity primarily as a global public good
ratization programmes that lead to greater govern- might emphasize the future generations’ right to

TransLinks 6 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
an ecologically sound environment that will meet Agency is bound by the Clean Air Act10, which is
their, as yet unknown, needs. On the other intended to protect public health and the environ-
hand, when natural resources are viewed as in- ment, to regulate greenhouse gases as air pollutants.
puts to further national development strategies,
people may espouse the right to development Environmental rights have been referred to as
for all citizens and stake a claim over the biodi- “emergent human rights” in that they surface when
versity found within a country for this purpose. threats to an ecologically intact environment emerge
At the local level, people may claim cultural and that are potentially harmful to humans, or when live-
livelihood rights over biological resources. lihoods or welfare are dependent on the access to
natural resources to a significant extent. Environ-
No matter how human rights are viewed, there mental rights are not the same as human rights, but
may be trade-offs, contradictions even, among they are linked. Relatively recently there have been
various rights and duties, depending on how they attempts to make environmental rights explicit,
are interpreted. When examining stakeholders’ rather than implicit components of broader human
rights, a long list of critical and often tricky ques- rights. One such attempt is the Draft Declaration
tions will no doubt appear, to which there are of Principles on Human Rights and the Envi-
no universal answers. For many questions the ronment11 proposed by an international group of
answer will be “it depends”; that is, it depends experts on human rights and environmental protec-
on the very specific local context in which con- tion that convened at the United Nations in Geneva
servation activities are planned. in 1994 at the invitation of the Sierra Club Legal De-
fense Fund and published in the final report of the
1.4 In a conservation context, what hu- UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Envi-
man rights are of concern? ronment. (Box 2).

Human rights are stated explicitly or implicitly in The following is an attempt to synthesis and summa-
a great number of national laws, international rize the majority perspectives on human rights as
human rights-related treaties and declarations they relate to the environment. All of these rights
(many of which are listed in Annex III), institu- are reflected in several of the above-mentioned dec-
tional policies and religious texts. larations (see also Annex III, which provides links to
the full text of the declarations). The list below of
Many human rights depend, at least in the long human rights that have a clear environmental link
term, on an ecologically intact environment. Nu- below is not exhaustive. It reflects those rights
merous national constitutions, laws, and policies most commonly cited in the literature on environ-
document the importance accorded to the right mental human rights. There are several other rights
to a clean and healthy environment and related for which environmental linkages could be con-
environmental rights, even if enforcement of structed, such as the right to food or the right to
such norms is often imperfect or, in some coun- clean air.
tries, blatantly absent. “Clean and healthy” are
of course subjective and vague classifications of
environmental integrity, and there are no univer-
sal indicators of what constitutes an “unhealthy”
environment or where the threshold between
healthy and unhealthy lies. On the other hand,
where obvious environmental degradation is
threatening to have an impact on human wellbe-
ing, such rights can justifiably be invoked. In less
obvious situations, conflicts are often fought out
© WCS/David Wilkie

in the courts where national laws that protect
citizens’ health exist. A recent prominent exam-
ple is provided by the US Supreme Court ruling9
that the country’s Environmental Protection
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 7
Box 2: The 1994 Draft Declaration of to industrial overfishing) and through some
Principles on Human Rights and the types of conservation activities (such as the
Environment protected area example above).
♦ The right to water: The right to water has
attained a lot of prominence in writings
In 1994 an international group of experts on human rights about environmental rights, probably be-
and environmental protection drafted the first-ever cause water is so essential to all life on earth
declaration of principles on human rights and the and because of the increasing scarcity of
environment. It describes environmental dimensions of
established human rights and the procedural rights and freshwater resources for human consump-
corresponding duties for their realization. tion and agriculture due to land degradation,
It states, among many other principles, that all persons have over-use and global warming effects. The
the right to a secure, healthy and ecologically sound provision of water must be adequate for hu-
environment. This right and other human rights, including man dignity, life and health. Availability of
civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, are
universal, interdependent and indivisible. … All persons clean drinking water is directly related to
have the right to an environment adequate to meet equitably human health and lack of it can cause serious
the needs of present generations and that does not impair illnesses. Lack of sufficient water for agricul-
the rights of future generations to meet equitably their ture can affect food security and as such also
needs. … All persons, individually and in association with directly impact human health. Pollution of
others, have a duty to protect and preserve the
environment. water bodies also affects ecosystem health
and wildlife directly, and, thereby, again indi-
Full text at rectly can affect human subsistence and
health, for example when local fisheries col-
♦ The right to life: This is perhaps the most ba- lapse because of industrial pollution in
sic human right and has extensive environmental coastal zones. For an extensive treatment of
links. Environmental disasters and industrial ac- this theme see the WHO publication The
cidents often take lives directly. Perhaps less Right to Water12 as well as the UNDP’s Hu-
obvious, industrial development, such as mining, man Development Report 2006: Beyond Scar-
oil exploration, or commercial logging, can de- city: Power, poverty and the global water crisis.13
prive indigenous and marginalized groups of ♦ The right to practice one’s culture:
their traditional means of livelihoods and cultural Most often cultural rights are taken to refer
rights by destroying and polluting their natural to the rights of indigenous and traditional
resource base and physical environment. On the peoples to pursue activities and rituals that
flip side, strict environmental protection can also are important to their cultural identity. Such
affect peoples’ right to a livelihood by overly re- activities tend to be based on hunting and
stricting access to natural resources they depend use of natural resources. Often taboos, folk-
on without providing viable alternatives. For lore and other social conventions determine
example, the political controversy now often and limit the use of a particular resource or
surrounding the establishment of strictly pro- restrict access to a site. When the natural
tected areas is due to observed or perceived environment of an area of importance to
negative effects on local people’s wellbeing when such traditional groups is destroyed, their
their use of previously accessible resources is cultural rights are violated. Cultural rights
taken away without adequate alternatives. are guaranteed in the International Covenant
♦ The right to health: Closely related to the on Civil and Political Rights and require gov-
right to life, this right is threatened mainly due ernments to take steps to protect the way of
to environmental pollution (air, water, soils), but life of whole groups. There are also cultural
also indirectly when livelihoods opportunities rights inherent to “non-indigenous” people.
are narrowed. It should be noted that such op- For example, in Europe the conservation of
portunities can be constrained both through en- “cultural landscapes”14 has become part of
vironmental degradation (for example the de- national conservation strategies.
cline of local fisheries due to the creation of ♦ The right to development: Sustainable
dead zones in polluted coastal regions and due development, which by the Brundtland Re-

TransLinks 8 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
port15 1987 definition "meets the needs of than a purely economic sense, by reducing hu-
the present without compromising the ability man vulnerabilities and strengthening capabilities,
of future generations to meet their own it becomes possible to conceive of a process
needs”, shares common ground with an that is respectful of both people and the envi-
ecologically sound environment. Its three ronment. For more on this subject, the Sustain-
pillars are economic and social development able Livelihoods Approach16 provides useful in-
and environmental protection. The sustain- formation.
ability concept brings in the issue of inter-
generational equity. Economic develop- ♦ The right to information: This comprises the
ment based on environmentally destructive right to obtain information upon request, the
processes does not produce long-term social right to be informed of impending environmental
or even economic benefits and is usually in- threats, and of the implications of certain natural
resource use paradigms as well as of the impacts
of planned activities (development or conserva-
tion). Of particular importance in the context of
biodiversity conservation and use is the notion
of prior informed consent (PIC), in particular
when it comes to the use of indigenous knowl-
edge and practices17. This is because traditional
knowledge has often been brought into play to
develop new products and techniques without
© Richard Carroll

the knowing involvement and consent of the

Box 3: The Addis Ababa Principles and
Guidelines on Sustainable Use of
equitable, with the burdens of a degraded Biodiversity
environment resting most heavily on the
shoulders of the poorest segments of society These principles were developed by the Secretariat of the
and future generations. Economic develop- Convention on Biological Diversity. They recommend,
among other actions:
ment has yielded many benefits for people,
but those benefits have not been equally dis- ♦ Identification of all relevant stakeholders and seeking
tributed and in recent decades income gaps their participation in planning and executing of
among rich and poor have widened rather management activities;
than narrowed. Where benefits have ♦ Delegation of rights, responsibility, and accountability to
those who use and/or manage biological resources;
reached people, they are likely benefiting
♦ Ensuring that an equitable share of the benefits of
the present generation at the expense of fu- sustainable use regimes remain with the local people (in
ture generations as long as development is the case of foreign investment), considering both
equated with economic growth alone. Eco- monetary and non-monetary benefits;
nomic growth tends to be based on the ex- ♦ Consideration of local customs and traditions, including
ploitation and often destruction of natural customary law;
♦ Training and extension services to enhance local
resources, and markets currently do not fully
capacity to effectively participate in decision-making;
account for the depletion of the earth’s natu- ♦ Implementation of constructive programmes that benefit
ral capital. So while development has been local communities, such as capacity training that can
acknowledged as a right, ill conceived imple- provide income alternatives (especially where use
mentation strategies (those which deplete reductions are necessary), or assistance in diversifying
the productive capacity of natural systems) management capacities and implementing sustainable use
can violate equity concerns, as well as human ♦ Providing adequate channels of negotiation so that
and environmental rights. When develop- potential conflicts arising from the participatory
ment is viewed more broadly as a process involvement of all people can be resolved.
that opens up opportunities to enjoy secure
livelihoods, to become “better off” in more
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 9
holders of such knowledge, and without sharing from participants. Interactive participatory
the resulting benefits. The principle of free, PIC methods respect participation as a right, not
is acknowledged in several documents on inter- just as a means to an end.
national human rights law. In a recent working
paper, the Commission on Human Rights at- Other important and related rights, which
tempts to shed some light on the meaning of the may not immediately come to mind when speak-
terms “free”, “prior”, “informed”, and “consent” ing of human rights, such as land rights and
in relation to development affecting indigenous natural resource access rights, can be
peoples’ lands and natural resources. Simply viewed as subsets of several of the above-
put, “free” here means without coercion or ma- mentioned rights. Some have suggested that a
nipulation; “prior” means sufficiently in advance land rights approach is more effective at provid-
of commencement of any authorization or activi- ing indigenous and local people with control
ties; “informed” means full disclosure of all rele- over their natural resources than a participatory
vant information in an accessible and under- rights approach, because in the latter weaker
standable format; and “consent” refers to agree- groups may be co-opted by more powerful play-
ment to specific activities or conditions by an ers. Of course, unequal participation (without
appropriate entity following a process of consul- real power to affect decisions) is not the kind of
tation and negotiation. Although the notion of participation envisioned in a rights-based ap-
PIC, as conceived in the Convention on Biologi- proach.
cal Diversity (CBD)18, where the word “free” is
not stated but implied, applies mainly to access Human rights practitioners tend to question the
to genetic resources19, the concept of PIC status of the rights of future generations. Hu-
can be extended to include informed consent to man rights analysis is usually applied to particular
various conservation planning initiatives and individuals or groups in the present. After all,
practices. The Bonn Guidelines on Access to future humans don’t exist yet, so they cannot
Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Shar- have a say in what rights they should hold. The
ing of the Benefits Arising out of their Utiliza- element of time is not yet well integrated in pre-
tion20, which reiterate that PIC for access to in sent rights policies and practices. If there is a
situ genetic resources shall be obtained from moral responsibility to pass on an intact world
Convention parties, also refer specifically to the to our children’s children (as conservationists
need to respect established legal rights of indige- invariably affirm), then environmental rights as
nous and local communities related to the ge- an emergent category of human rights clearly
netic resources or associated traditional knowl- pertain to justice across generations. This is
edge being accessed. Some procedures for ob- also reflected in many of the international trea-
taining prior informed consent are recom- ties and declarations mentioned earlier.
mended in these Guidelines.
♦ The right to participation: This is the right
to a voice. In the context of conservation activi-
ties, this usually refers to “stakeholder” (in this
context better called “rights-holder”) or
“community” participation. Participation, when
treated as a procedural right, is more than just
“consultation”. The gradient of participation
ranges along a continuum from passive participa-
tion (being told what is going to happen) to
various forms of functional participation. In the
© Richard Carroll

most meaningful scenario, participation is inter-
active in the sense that project proponents in-
clude stakeholders in project conception, plan-
ning, design and implementation and manage
adaptively based on regular feedback sought

TransLinks 10 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
The difficulty with this concept lies mainly in the
area of enforcement: Holding duty bearers ac-
countable, or even identifying them, for conse-
quences of their actions that may occur many
years or even decades into the future and where
outcomes are not completely predictable (such
as the ecological and social effects of the extinc-
tion of a species or destruction of a particular
ecosystem) could be very difficult. Yet one may
argue that in such situations the precautionary
principle21 (as also outlined in the Convention
on Biological Diversity) should prevail.

“Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and
adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality
that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears
a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the
environment for present and future generations.”

© Gilda Morelli
(From the 1972 Declaration of the United Nations Con-
ference on the Human Environment [emphasis added] at

Right-holders and duty-bearers exist at different
Another question is whether environmental geographical and temporal scales: local, national, and
rights should be understood principally as pro- global; and currently living as well as future genera-
cedural rights (i.e., the right of individuals or tions. They include indigenous and local communi-
communities to be heard and to have a say in ties, private landowners, local and global conserva-
decision-making processes that affect them), or tion and development organizations, local NGOs,
whether they should be construed as substan- the business sector, and of course national and local
tive rights (i.e., basic rights possessed by indi- governments, each with their own constituencies
viduals in an ordered society), as are civil and and with different interests and needs both among
political rights. and within these groups. Across these varied con-
stituencies it is important to remember that both
It may be useful to think of substantive rights as individuals and groups can be simultaneously rights-
the foundation that procedural rights aim to sup- holders and duty-bearers.
port, even if procedural rights are also intrinsi-
cally valuable. What is important is that there is When pursuing a primary goal of wildlife conserva-
broad awareness of the existence of different tion or, more broadly, biodiversity conservation)
types of rights and how they relate to conserva- considering the rights and responsibilities of differ-
tion issues. ent interested parties from sometimes far-apart
places is a challenge, because they are seldom con-
1.5 Whose rights are of concern? gruent. It becomes even more complex when at-
tempting to address the rights of future generations
In a particular conservation context, who holds (which is the very basis of the concept of sustainable
what rights and who has a duty to uphold them? development) because their needs and aspirations
With the right to an ecologically intact environ- are unknown, and there is typically so much pres-
ment comes the obligation to respect, protect sure to focus on the “here and now.”
and fulfill the various environmental rights of
present and future generations.
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 11
When considering environmental justice as a Box 4: The Price of Oil: In
subset of social justice (one of the goals of the Remembrance of Ken Saro-Wiwa
ICESCR and many subsequent declarations), what is
clear is that failure of duty-bearers to uphold the On November 10th, 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight
rights of those with just claims, is manifest as pow- other Ogoni men were hanged in the yard of Nigeria’s
erlessness and marginalisation, and usually Port Harcourt prison. Their only crimes: non-violently
translates into inequities in access to resources protesting against an oil company, and demanding
protection of the environmental and social rights of the
(natural or otherwise), greater vulnerability to the Ogoni people.
impacts of environmental degradation, as well as
not being heard, to matter. In the social justice Ten years on, a coalition of environmental and human
literature, the emphasis is usually on the fact that rights organizations is mounting a national tour on the
poor, marginalized groups tend to bear most of the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the execution of
Ken Saro-Wiwa and his colleagues. What had begun as
burden of environmental pollution and degradation, a call for the environmental and social rights of an ethnic
and with respect to conservation the concern is that group …, has become a catalyst for global movements
the weakest, most vulnerable groups are often the for Nigerian democracy, minority and ethnic rights,
ones physically or economically displaced for con- corporate accountability, and reduced dependence on
servation purposes. oil.

(Source: EarthRights International
1.6 Trade-offs among different groups’
rights the_price_of_oil__in_remembrance_of_ken_saro-wiwa.html)

Although human rights are theoretically access with strong incentives for individuals to
“universal” (they apply to everyone) and mine the resource today and discount tomor-
“indivisible” (all rights are equally necessary for a row. Consumption of fossil fuels that have
dignified life), in practice conflicts exist among differ- powered the economies of many nations and
ent rights, and different rights-holders. benefited millions of people is resulting in
changes in climate that are adversely affecting
Conflicts typically arise because the actions of some the livelihoods of others. Similarly, distortive
individuals or groups, as they exert their rights, can policies and subsidies that accelerate the loss of
impinge on the rights of others. For example, the natural resources (for example for damaging ag-
unsustainable extraction of raw materials (mining, ricultural practices and fisheries), preference
oil, timber, fishing) may be undertaken in the name some groups’ rights over others’. Resource
of national development (advancing some society conflicts between subsistence economies (e.g.
members’ rights), but may damage ecological sys- coastal fishing communities in developing coun-
tems and thereby impair the livelihoods, health or tries that depend on fish as their primary source
cultural traditions of local people who depend on of protein) and market economies (e.g. industrial
them (violating another group’s rights). In the fisheries that vastly overfish the oceans for the
absence of enforceable laws or norms that regulate tables of distant consumers who have many
access and meter use, resources will remain open other consumption choices) illustrate how such
conflicts are rooted in inequitable power struc-

“Human rights are indivisible in two senses. First, there is no Under many circumstances the rights of some
hierarchy among different kinds of rights. Civil, political, eco- are infringed to secure the rights of others. In
nomic, social and cultural rights are all equally necessary for a fact, it is not possible for all rights of all in-
life of dignity. Second, some rights cannot be suppressed in dividuals and groups to be met simultane-
order to promote others. Civil and political rights may not be ously. Acceptance of the likelihood of trade-
violated to promote economic, social and cultural rights. Nor
offs implies that there may be winners and los-
can economic, social and cultural rights be suppressed to pro-
mote civil and political rights.” (UNDP, 2000)
ers, or at least compromises. Some claimants’
rights may be enforced, while others’ rights are
violated by this very enforcement. What is pos-

TransLinks 12 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
sible, however, is to ensure that all basic human The taking-away (violation) of rights is multi-
rights are met, such as those pertaining to life, faceted. On the one hand, failure to protect the
health and liberty. What is important then, is to environment and natural resources can constitute a
ensure that the minimum standards of hu- violation of human rights across spatial and temporal
man dignity laid out in human rights treaties scales. Since everyone, including future generations,
are upheld. has the right to an ecologically intact environment,
destroying our global patrimony constitutes a viola-
On the positive side, synergies among rights at tion of that right. Biodiversity loss and ecosystem
different levels are also possible and can be ex- destruction may lead to current and future loss of
ploited by conservationists, which will be made livelihoods, diminished health, and the loss of cul-
clearer later in this brief. tural traditions. On the other hand, conservation
(particularly stricter forms of protection) can force
Drawing from the collective wisdom of many the displacement of poor and marginalized
individuals and organizations figure 1 attempts to communities.
show some of the principal issues and potential
trade-offs associated with considering rights in a Displacement can be physical, as is the case when
conservation context. people are relocated, or economic, such as when
access rights to natural resources on which liveli-
1.7 Conservation-related impacts on hoods depend are limited or taken away. It may be
human rights that physical relocation takes place, or that farming
an area is denied, access to grazing is prohibited,
In the biodiversity conservation context, conser- gathering of fuelwood and medicinal plants and
vation actions will usually mean a restriction of herbs are reduced or banned, or access to sacred
or the taking of some people’s or groups’ sites is restricted. Such losses could take place in
right to access and use use a natural re- the present, or in the future.
source. At the global level and in wealthier
countries, the costs for such taking of rights (e.g. When the taking of rights occurs as a consequence
carbon taxes, fishing quotas, or outright use bans of conserving biodiversity or, in the opposite sce-
and restrictions such as CITES-listing) can be nario, because of unsustainable use of natural re-
borne by society relatively easily, and peoples’ sources, the question of whose rights take
livelihoods will generally not be severely af- precedence is exceedingly difficult to resolve.
fected. At the local level in developing coun- How do we decide, and who gets to decide?
tries, however, restricting access to an area or Whose loss should be preferenced? When do
resource may actually get in the way of people’s global or national societal rights trump local rights,
basic livelihood needs and make them worse off and vice versa? Is it acceptable that some groups
than they were before. may be harmed in the short run for the “greater
good”? Where local people experience a loss in the

Figure 1 - Issues and trade-offs

Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 13
name of conservation, can the argument be made proved policy and institutional options, including
that the human rights of the majority of people are, appropriate rights to resources, information ac-
in the long run, better served by conservation poli- cess and stakeholder participation. These fac-
cies? Are losers entitled to compensation, and tors can impact on the sustainability of ecosys-
when is compensation justified and feasible? Who tem management and determine who is im-
should bear the costs of compensation, not pacted in what way when ecosystems change.
only of conservation activities, but also of environ- Basic human rights, such as the right to life, the
mentally destructive development? right to make a living that enables a life in dignity,
How competing rights claims are arbitrated is a po- are sacrosanct. This implies that, rather than
litical process that reflects power relations. Asym- limiting the options of the poor, one must first
metries of power can exist between rights- look at restricting the power of the wealthy. It
holders and duty-bearers and among different rights implies protecting local rights to resource access
-holders. Take, for example, decisions made at the against diversion of resources for the benefit of
local level. Often it is the relatively better off within the rich. Yet, there are many situations where
a community that have the ability to claim rights and local natural resource use is unsustainable, even
secure rights. Costs may be shifted from the pre- though the extent may be small relative to indus-
sent to future generations, or from global to local trial scale resource use. When people eke out a
level and vice versa, or from wealthier populations living by endangering the very resource on which
to poorer populations. their livelihoods depend, the challenge is pro-
tecting natural resources while raising local in-
Related to this is the question who benefits from comes and making livelihoods more secure.
conservation outcomes. Conservation provides
important benefits, but these are not always equita- In situations where local access to a resource
bly shared. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment22 has been restricted by law, such as through the
(2005) notes that the fair and equitable sharing gazetting of protected areas, the way the law
of benefits from protected areas requires im- is enforced needs to respect all the above

© WCS/David Wilkie

TransLinks 14 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
human rights principles. For example, law
enforcers must avoid excessive force and physi-
cal harm to law breakers who are apprehended
when found breaking laws, even as the enforcers
themselves have the right to defend themselves

© Richard Margoluis
against violent attacks when undertaking their
duties. News media have reported both on con-
servation-related violence against local people at
the hands of government personnel, and of pro-
tected area wardens being harmed or killed by
armed poachers.
of conservation program planning and implementa-
There will always be difficult questions that don’t tion. The emphasis here is on process (i.e. proce-
have just one right answer. Trade-offs between dural rights), not merely on outcomes, although
development and conservation goals are some- process also influences outcomes. The rights of
times inevitable, as are the trade-offs between public participation and access to information and
the rights of different actors. Rather than just justice are provided in the Aarhus Convention23
hoping for the best, discussing conflicts (see Annex III). The literature on participation is
openly and honestly amongst all stakeholders extensive, and a detailed treatment of the subject
(rights-holders and duty-bearers), with appropri- would go beyond the scope of this issue brief. A
ate mediation, can make reconciliation possible. key message is that real participation takes time, a
In fact, compromise solutions that seem to lot more time than is often allowed for the devel-
yield less than perfect conservation outcomes, opment of new projects funded by donors. Many
but that are “owned” by all stakeholders, may in months, even years, may be needed to build up
the end achieve better results than exclusionary relationships of trust and to give people time to
approaches that can lead to open hostility to think about issues and to formulate their own
conservation projects. Additionally, they are opinions and ideas about addressing them.
likely to be based on a respect for stakeholders’
A big challenge is ensuring equitable participa-
2. Incorporating Rights into Conser- tion, by bearing in mind and moderating power
relationships among different groups and within
vation Practice particular groups. Poor communities, though
typically less powerful than wealthier actors, are
To what extent can conservation efforts be de- not homogeneous and have their own power hier-
signed to minimize conflicts and maximize re- archies, sometimes based on gender, relative
spect for human rights? wealth, age, or ethnicity. Addressing power imbal-
ances is critical, because it affects whose rights
There are clearly moral as well as pragmatic rea- count. Elite capture of participatory processes is
sons to take stakeholders’ rights into considera- one danger that should be counter-acted. Gender
tion. Though environmental human rights are equity is especially important because in many de-
universal and apply globally, most conservation veloping countries women deal directly with the
practitioners will have to tackle these issues at management of natural resources and the use of
the local level. biodiversity, and at the same time gender equality
is one of the rights that tends to be resisted by
2.1 Respecting and upholding rights some community members.

2.1.1 Ensuring participation Ensuring equity means that no stakeholder or
group of stakeholders is able to diminish or inhibit
The master key to a rights-based approach is the ability of other stakeholders to contribute to
broad-based participation at all stages and levels framing the issues and to proposing solutions to

Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 15
perceived challenges. For this to happen, a first sen- Box 5: Participation, Planning, Politics
sible step is to conduct a power analysis that identi- and Power: the development of a
fies different interests and scrutinizes both formal national biodiversity strategy action plan
structures and hidden dimensions of power. for India
This process helps avoid flawed assumptions, such In 2000, the Indian government accepted a proposal
as the belief that local “community organizations” from an Indian NGO, Kalpavriksh, to coordinate the
necessarily accurately reflect the interests of all design and development of a National Biodiversity
community members. Strategy Action Plan in a participatory manner. The
three year process of preparing the action plan
emphasized process over outcome: …The process itself
In conservation practice, community-based con- was meant to increase biodiversity awareness while
servation approaches and co-management empowering people through participation and inspiring
schemes for protected areas are attempts to re- local initiatives.
spect the right to participation and to benefit shar-
To obtain inputs from different sectors of society a
ing from conservation The track record of such number of participatory planning tools were used. …
schemes at achieving conservation, livelihoods and Tens of thousands of people were involved. ... In the
equitable participation is checkered. Though a de- end, though, the Ministry of Environment and Forests
tailed discussion of community-based conservation declined to approve and release the national plan.
is beyond the scope of this paper further readings
Why? The process emphasis on marginalised groups
are suggested in Annex IV. may have failed to get them heard by more powerful
groups, such as industry, landowners, trade unions and
2.1.2 Conflict analysis and management politicians. So while the process was successful in terms
of capacity development, awareness raising, and
Given that conflicts among various stakeholders encouraging local action by some of the most
marginalised sectors of society, the ministry was able to
with rival claims are likely, finding ways to manage suppress the plan because it did not have the buy-in of
and mitigate conflict is a key to effective conserva- these more powerful groups.
tion almost everywhere.
The lesson here is that there is little point in providing a
There are various methodologies for conflict analy- voice for the marginalised if that voice is still not heard.
If the aim is to come up with a viable strategy, then
sis and management, and this brief does not endorse relationships have to be built with all stakeholders,
any particular one. Readers may already have ex- including the more powerful and the hitherto powerless.
perience with some conflict management tools that
could be usefully applied. Some links to further (Source: Apte, T (2006) A People's Plan for Biodiversity
Conservation: Creative Strategies That Work (and Some That
readings on this subject can also be found in Annex Don't). Gatekeeper Series No 130, IIED, London

Often of equal importance is finding ways to reduce
human-wildlife conflicts. In many places wildlife flicts is a step to identifying ways to conserve
can have severe adverse impacts on people’s secu- rare and endangered wildlife species and avoid
rity and livelihoods, and as such have a bearing on infringing on the rights of people who live with
concerns for rights. Across the planet, growing hu- wildlife. The Annex contains an annotated bibli-
man populations continue to expand into wild areas ography with various downloadable publications
crowding wildlife into competition or conflict with about human-wildlife conflict that may provide
people for space some ideas.

and resources, and placing people in ‘uncomfortable’ 2.1.3 Dealing with displacement
proximity to wildlife. Moreover, as conservation
efforts successfully conserve and restore healthy Conservation-related displacement of local
wildlife populations, the needs of people and the populations has been an issue for a long time,
needs of wildlife will increasingly clash. Understand- but has recently received considerable media
ing who wins and who loses in human-wildlife con- attention, particularly in the context of the es-

TransLinks 16 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
tablishment and management of protected areas. law and practice of eminent domain are used by
People who inhabit and use areas designated for governments in ways that disregard the impacts on
protection have been evicted or restricted in the local people and that are not necessarily in the
traditional uses of their lands. “public interest”. Decisions made regarding the de-
sign, management, and establishment of proposed
Displacement can be physical, socio-economic, protected areas may not always follow due process,
or both, and often brings with it cultural dis- and may lack transparency or fail to provide just
placement and an unraveling of the social fabric compensation.
as well. For conservationists, displacement
causes an ethical dilemma, and, if not properly Ideally, displacement should be avoided. At the
addressed, can militate against attaining conser- 2003 IUCN World Parks Congress in Durban, par-
vation objectives and have far reaching repercus- ticipants agreed on a recommendation that referred
sions on the reputation and credibility of a pro- specifically to the involuntary resettlement of indige-
ject or of an entire organization. nous peoples in connection with protected areas.
The recommendation also called on governments,
The taking away of rights and property associ- inter-governmental organisations, NGOs, local com-
ated with the establishment of protected areas munities and civil societies to "cease all involuntary
has caused concern about its impact on local resettlement and expulsions of indigenous peoples
people. These impacts are most often felt where from their lands in connection with protected areas,
people do not have recognized ownership of, as well as involuntary sedentarization of mobile in-
and rights to use, resources, and when govern- digenous peoples." (Recommendation 2424) Another
ments do not recognize customary claims. In part of the recommendation resolves to further
these cases there is typically no legal foundation elaborate and apply the joint IUCN-WWF policy
or political willingness to compensate local peo- statement on Principles and Guidelines on Indigenous
ple for lost property or access. Government un- and Traditional Peoples and Protected Areas25. Most
willingness to require compensation for those recently, in September 2007, the UN General As-
hurt by state mandated or sanctioned changes in sembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of
land zoning and use is particularly true in places Indigenous Peoples26, which calls on countries to
where all land and resources legally belong to give more control to indigenous peoples over their
the state, and where the traditional lands and resources, and to return seized
state does not function as a territory, or pay compensation. This was approved
liberal democracy with an by 114 countries, but opposed by four nations with
independent judiciary and large indigenous populations (the United States,
constitutional rights to indi- Canada, Australia and New Zealand) because it was
vidual economic, political felt that it might conflict with national laws on land
and religious liberty and and resource ownership.
equal treatment under the
law. Where property In essence these principles (and others not ex-
rights are well defined, tak- tracted here) require conservation NGOs (and gov-
ing of property, through ernment agencies) to act as human rights duty-
eminent domain, and the bearers when implementing conservation activities.
loss of rights to access and
use the resources associated Realistically, resolving critical problems that threaten
with that property, typically key species and large, wild ecosystems around the
is accompanied by compen- world often involves regulating or modifying access
sation in the form of direct to and use of land and wildlife resources. If the con-
payments or a reduction in servation of high priority species or sites cannot be
© WCS/Amy Vedder

property or use taxes. This achieved without displacing previous legitimate ac-
is rarely the case in poor cess of vulnerable people to land or renewable re-
nations with developing sources, local and national authorities should make
economies. Sometimes the every effort to ensure that the free prior informed
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 17
consent of all displaced people is sought and that
they are provided with comparable or enhanced
livelihood opportunities or compensation. The
World Bank, for example, has an explicit policy on
involuntary resettlement27, and already in 1992, the
OECD’s Development Action Committee (DAC)
issued Guidelines on Aid and Environment (No.3)28 for
Aid Agencies on Involuntary Displacement and Re-
settlement in Development Projects, which call on
project designers and implementors to ensure that
the population displaced by a project receives bene-
fits from the changes and that it is re-established on
a sound productive basis. Most conservation or-
ganizations do not yet have an explicit displacement
policy (except for the above-mentioned IUCN/
WWF policy on indigenous peoples). WCS has just
developed and adopted an organizational dis-
placement policy.

It is interesting to note that in some instances, such

© WCS/David Wilkie
as when people are living on marginal lands that are
prone to natural disasters, relocation may actually
enhance their security and respond positively to ad-
dressing their rights. However, even in this in-
stance, people may resist relocation because they
have an attachment to their homes, and fair negotia- to understand such differing perceptions, con-
tion of terms will in any case be necessary. servation managers, can help deal with rival,
overlapping claims and avoid or resolve resource
But who are the “local people”? How long a conflicts.
history of residence in an area do people have to
have to be considered local? Where land is not pri- 2.1.4 Compensation and restitution
vately owned and other forms of land rights have
not been formally granted, as is often the case in By ethical and moral standards, winners should
indigenous territories and communally held lands, compensate losers, but who decides who gets
determination of legitimacy may be tricky. In many compensated, when, and how much? Legitimacy
cases two or more groups may stake claims on the of those with lost or impinged upon rights is
same territory or resources. clearly a criterion, as is the absolute and relative
loss incurred. However, neither are easy to es-
The demographic history of an area is important in tablish.
establishing who are the legitimate claimants,
though, this alone is often insufficient to reconcile Conservation initiatives that result in the com-
rival claims. For example, in the Amazon, are only plete loss of the natural assets of vulnerable peo-
indigenous forest dwellers legitimate claimants, or ple clearly warrant compensation, whereas those
also 3rd or 4th generation poor farmers who prac- that make a small dent in an individual’s overall
tice slash and burn agriculture? Making an effort to income may not. Determining this depends on
study historical accounts, often representing outside the context and typically requires negotiation.
views, and listening to local perceptions of residence
history is important, though members of one group Where property rights are not formally or
may view themselves as having a long established clearly established, recognition of customary
history in an area and yet be considered claims (such as legal recognition of property
“newcomers” by another resident group. By seeking rights and titling of collective property if appro-

TransLinks 18 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
priate) will be an important first step in deter- potential use of biological diversity, while benefits
mining what compensation may be due. The are accruing to others (at national or global levels).
above-mentioned 2003 IUCN Recommendation
on Indigenous Peoples and Protected Areas also Under the umbrella of the CBD, the Addis Ababa
calls on the conservation community to Principles and Guidelines on Sustainable Use of Bio-
“establish and implement mechanisms to ad- diversity29 (refer back to Box 3) provide some guid-
dress any historical injustices caused ance on the equitable sharing of benefits from biodi-
through the establishment of protected versity conservation and sustainable use. The Addis
areas, with special attention given to land and Ababa Guidelines argue that sustainability is gener-
water tenure rights and historical/traditional ally enhanced and enforcement of regulations im-
rights to access natural resources and sacred proved when rights or “stewardship” authority of
sites within protected areas.” those people who use and manage the biological re-
sources in question are respected.
Some losses cannot be easily compensated,
while others conceivably can. For example, com-
pensating for the loss of access to traditional
hunting grounds may be possible based on the
loss of an important source of protein, but not
for the loss of the cultural status attributed to
hunters. Assigning value to the intrinsic worth Box 6: Benefits rooted in local rights: slow
of a species is also fraught with difficulties to appear, more likely to last?
Though there have been numerous attempts to
The rights of local people in southern Africa to make their
do that, many would argue that no price can be livelihoods from land or the wildlife on the land have evolved
put on the existence or loss of a species, such as rapidly over the last ten years, but in different directions in
a tiger, which is irreplaceable if it goes extinct. different countries. This contrast between experiences in
different countries highlights a number of issues.
Compensation for foregone use of certain natu-
While private ownership can deliver ecological and
ral resources could include direct payments, re- economic sustainability, and may provide some benefits in
duced property taxes and/or formalization of the form of employment, giving local communities rights to
land tenure. Even if just compensation can be manage wildlife does make management systems more
determined, deciding when this compensation sustainable in social and political terms. Similarly, it is not
enough for benefits to flow only from policy interpretation.
should be paid must also be resolved. For direct
If they are not firmly anchored in rights, the benefits from
payments, should it be a one-time payment, or a community-based management can be rerouted away from
series of payments contingent on certain types communities by policy change (as occurred in Botswana).
of behavior; and should the payment be made
immediately or should it coincide with the time Yet, while the achievement of rights facilitates the realisation
of benefits, this is often a long-term investment. In the short-
of the loss?
term, a strong emphasis on rights, often involving complex
equity-sharing models (as developed in South Africa), may
As with everything else when considering rights, deliver little in the way of material benefits. Investing in the
open discussion and negotiation of alternatives development of a division of rights and responsibilities which
will be necessary to find the fairest and most gives local populations a significant stake in wildlife
management has the potential to improve livelihoods, not so
effective solution for a particular situation.
much through a major increase in incomes as through
diversification and the reduction of vulnerability.
2.1.5 Benefit sharing
Case study author: Caroline Ashley, reprinted from Conway, Tim,
et al. Rights and Livelihoods Approaches: Exploring Policy
Benefit sharing, established as a right in the Con- Dimensions. 2002. Natural Resource Perspectives (Series). ODI,
vention on Biological Diverisity, is another criti- DFID. UK.
cal and hotly disputed subject. The issue is es- naturalresources/nrp78.pdf
pecially contentious when indigenous and local
communities are involved, because local people
often bear significant costs or forgo benefits of
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 19
2.2 Building on a foundation of rights to
further conservation goals

2.2.1 Cultural rights – a boon for conserva-

Cultural diversity and high biodiversity areas are of-
ten said to overlap. For indigenous people and tra-
ditional communities living in or around areas of
valuable biodiversity, the continued exercise of their
cultural traditions and traditional lifestyles depends
directly on safe-guarding local ecosystem functions
and species diversity. Indigenous cultures and biodi-
versity are both threatened by expanding industrial
development. This points to the importance and
utility of forming alliances between conservation ac-
tors and indigenous people. Indeed, there are many
instances of successful cooperation. See, in particu-
lar, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) work-
ing paper No. 25 on Natural Alliances between Conser-
vationists and Indigenous People and other references

© WCS/Bryan Curran
provided in Annex IV.

Cultural rights of course apply beyond indigenous
people to anybody with a distinctive cultural tradi-
tion or way of life. There may be opportunities for
achieving conservation objectives by incorporating
the cultural concept of heritage when working with There may also be situations where previously
communities, even communities previously hostile existing and functioning traditional institutions
to conservation initiatives. An example of this from have deteriorated, and where culturally-
the Amazon region is provided by Janis Alcorn et al. appropriate capacity building may play a role in
(see Box 7). strengthening such institutions that may also fa-
vor conservation goals.
Even though some motivations for conservation may
differ between conservationists and indigenous and
local people, often common ground can be found to 2.2.2 Advocating the right to an ecologi-
enable joint initiatives. What is important is that cally intact environment
different values and interests are acknowledged and
respected, and the role of politics and the political Beyond cultural rights, a state’s obligation to
process appreciated. Specific goals must be agreed safeguard environmental rights may be invoked
on and trade-offs negotiated. in situations where national development pro-
jects threaten environmental integrity that
Bear in mind, however, that there are also some would either harm local residents’ health
cultural traditions that harm the environment or through pollution and other forms of land degra-
overuse a local resource. Indigenous and local com- dation, or destroy local livelihoods that draw on
munities may have rights-supported development an intact natural resource base.
goals (derived from the right to development) that
are not necessarily in line with conservation goals. As we have already pointed out, different actors
In this instance too, respectful negotiation will be have very different capacities for staking environ-
needed. mental claims due to existing power relations.
Conservation practitioners can enhance the

TransLinks 20 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
2.2.3 Linking conservation and livelihood op-
Box 7: Promoting the cultural concept of
dynamic heritage for conservation action As mentioned earlier, the track record of projects
Through a rights-based approach the root causes of that try to link conservation and development (such
poverty and resource degradation can be addressed by as integrated conservation and development pro-
influencing the politics governing access to natural jects) is diverse. While win-win outcomes cannot
resources and justice. In 2003, Janis Alcorn and always be achieved, there is nevertheless evidence
colleagues initiated a regional heritage mobilization that given the right circumstances and approaches,
process in an anti-conservation atmosphere in the
Amazonian frontier of Pando, Bolivia– a high biodiversity conservation can benefit livelihoods. Without going
region the size of Costa Rica, which remains 90 percent deeply into this topic, on which a lot of academic
forested. They employed a strategy that used an and grey literature already exists, a few avenues are
assessment process to engage the political actor groups worth mentioning:
into engagement around shared interests, leveraged
local energies through group reflection on key issues,
and promoted public deliberation at various levels ♦ Direct incentives and Payment for ecosys-
leading to landscape scale decisions. A collective tem services (PES) is a relatively new ap-
Pandino vision for the future emerged which proach that tries to harness market forces for
emphasized the need for planned natural resource conservation through the use of market-based
management to improve livelihoods while conserving economic incentives to protect ecosystem ser-
their resources and cultural identities. The process
enabled local leaders to rely on their own heritage and vices. For example, in Costa Rica upstream farm-
construct a new institution that has the potential to ers are paid for watershed management services.
democratize local government as well as manage the In Cambodia, the WCS is paying members of
area. local communities directly for protecting the
nests of rare cranes.
As a result, in 2004, the people of western Pando chose
to declare their two municipios (1.5 million hectares) as
a protected area under local government control, united ♦ Natural resource based markets Well-
under the motto “Conservation with Development– known and often promoted examples are ecot-
Our Decision”. ourism and biodiversity enterprises based on
(Source: See
natural products, as well as, crafts, often for the
newsletter/PM14-Section%20V-part1.pdf for the full paper..) local tourism trade or for export, and some-
times for the local market. In Zambia, WCS has
helped form farmer cooperatives that allow
farmers to sell “wildlife-friendly” certified prod-
claims-making capacity of weaker groups vis-à-vis ucts at a premium and that have helped encour-
more powerful groups (e.g. industry, foreign in-
vestors) and assist them by building what is Box 8: The Green Belt Movement in Kenya
sometimes called “social capital”. This could
The Green Belt Movement (GBM) is a grassroots non-
mean providing access to information, leadership governmental organization (NGO) based in Kenya that
training, helping to strengthen local civil society focuses on environmental conservation, community
organizations and groups to enable them to put development and capacity building. Their mission is to
up resistance. Such capacity building approaches mobilize community consciousness for self-determination;
are useful not only in an environmental rights equity, improved livelihoods securities and environmental
conservation- using tree planting as an entry point. While
context, but are mandated by the procedural tree planting has always been the focal activity, GBM
rights mentioned earlier. programs have expanded to include projects in indigenous
tree planting, civic education, advocacy, food security,
There are many instances of civil society strug- greenbelt eco-safaris, and “women and change.” Through
gles to keep their local environment intact, and these projects GBM Kenya has succeeded in promoting
environmental consciousness, volunteerism, conservation of
we can support such struggles by emphasizing local biodiversity, self-empowerment, community
the right to an ecologically intact environment. development, and accountability.
One Such example is provided in Box 8.

Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 21
age sustainable farming methods and a reduction 3. Conclusion
in poaching of wildlife. (See Box 9.)
By actively considering human rights in conserva-
♦ Co-management of a landscape, protected tion planning and practice, government institu-
area, or other conservation project can be tions and NGOs can avoid past injustices and at
one way of respecting local peoples’ rights, but the very least make sure that conservation of
only if they are accorded equal stature and deci- biodiversity does not decrease human well-
sion making authority. What was said above on being. More positively though, applying a rights-
power imbalances in participatory processes ap- based approach can be viewed as an opportunity
plies here. A good example of such a co- to achieve conservation outcomes that are just
management scheme is the Kaa Iya national Park in more than one way: just to the people whose
in the Chaco, Bolivia (see Box 10).
Box 10: The Kaa Iya Co-Management
♦ Capacity development for better manage-
ment of natural resources by local communi- The development of the Kaa Iya National Park co-
management scheme was supported by USAID and
ties may be useful in situations where unsustain- WCS. Three indigenous peoples-the Isoseño Guaraní,
able practices can be made sustainable through Chiquitano, and Ayoreode-inhabit areas surrounding the
simple increases in efficiency or different natural Kaa-Iya National Park and participate in its management
resource governance systems. Box 11 provides committee. The three groups hunt for subsistence
an example of developing an Andean commu- purposes, fish, cultivate small-scale plots, and migrate to
seasonal labor opportunities in large-scale ranching and
nity’s capacity to knowledge necessary to farming enterprises. Cattle ranching is the principal
achieve sustainable management of the vicuña. regional economic activity, in addition to commercial
farming by Mennonite colonists and international agro-
Box 9: Community Markets for industry. A national land reform process is underway to
Conservation title all lands outside protected areas in the region to
indigenous groups, communities, or private land-owners.
The most important threats responsible for the degradation
of wildlife and other natural resources in and around WCS has been working with the Isoseño Guaraní
Zambia’s national parks are hunger, poverty, and the indigenous organization CABI since 1991. The project
emergence of commercial farming pressures. Over the past successfully negotiated a trust fund agreement with the
decade, law enforcement has generally failed to control the gas company GTP that operates a gas pipeline across the
harmful impacts that stem from some of these threats. protected area and indigenous lands. WCS is not only
engaging in research, but also aims to strengthen the
The COMACO program in Zambia seeks to address many local indigenous organization’s institutional capacity to
of the conservation challenges Africa faces in maintaining a manage the indigenous territory sustainably.
balance between rural people and the natural resources they
live with. COMACO takes the view that conservation can be (Source:
a source of solutions to problems associated with rural centralandes/bolivia_dryforests)
poverty if harnessed by the right kind of markets that
promote environmentally safe products and production
practices. livelihoods are most directly dependent on a
functioning and productive environment; just to
It operates through the community-owned non-profit the global “community”, and just to future gen-
Conservation Farmer Wildlife Producer Trading Centre.
Community residents benefit from this trading centre by erations.
receiving high market value for goods they produce and
having access to affordable farmer inputs and improved Based on this discussion, some of the ethical ob-
farming skills on the condition that they adopt land use ligations for conservation practitioners based on
practices that help conserve their area's natural resources. a respect for environmental human rights, are:
Specific land use practices required include conservation
farming, which helps maintain soil fertility, crops that help
reduce conflicts with wildlife or rates of land clearing, and ♦ To avoid or minimize harm, understanding
commitment to stop wildlife snaring or illegal hunting. that conservation can lead to changes which
may be positive or negative for people, wild-
life, and the ecosystems which they share;

TransLinks 22 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
Box 11: Community-based management ♦ To ensure that such involvement is meaningful
of the endangered vicuña in Chile and equitable, and that existing inequities based
on gender, social class or ethnicity are not inad-
The vicuña is a species of native camel from the Andean vertently reinforced;
high plains present in most Aymara communities. Unlike ♦ To respect the rights and characteristics of local
alpacas and llamas, vicuñas do not breed while in and indigenous peoples, especially their acknowl-
captivity. Although protected by law, poaching continues
to reduce vicuña numbers. edged rights to their lands, territories, resources
and knowledge, which derive from their political,
The Vicuña Management Project began in 1997, aiming economic and social structures and from their
to develop a sustainable management plan for the vicuña cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and phi-
with the participation of Aymara communities. Project losophies;
implementation focused on three aspects: the
attainment of knowledge necessary to achieve the ♦ To seek the free prior informed consent of vul-
sustainable management of the vicuña; a strategy to nerable people and to provide them with oppor-
approach Aymara communities and overcome tunities for comparable or enhanced livelihood
prejudices (vicuñas have little value as domestic animals); strategies where displacement from land or
and locating reliable markets for vicuña products. A link natural resources is unavoidable.
was promoted between the communities, NGO
representatives of Corporación Norte Grande, and the ♦ To establish processes and mechanisms to bring
state agency Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF). conflicting interest and rights (for example the
rights claims of present generations for liveli-
Once the technical aspects of management, herding, hood security versus the inter-generational
care, and shearing techniques were in place, the effort claims for biodiversity conservation), into the
shifted toward developing a marketing plan for vicuña
wool. The marketing process is now performed open and seek to resolve them.
autonomously by the community with entrepreneurs.
An organizational strengthening process allowed the Thinking about human rights poses ethical dilemmas
Andean communities to self-manage the project and and reveals complex issues. As for everything else,
continue marketing their product while independently planning for the integration of rights into conserva-
broadening production and markets.
tion programs requires a consideration of the spe-
Vicuñas are beginning to be considered useful as a cifics of the place, its ecology, its history, and its po-
source of income generation and are now a resource litical context and governance systems. Neverthe-
protected by the wildlife protection authority less, many of the rights-based principles listed in
(CONAF). This shift marks a significant advance in the Part II are broadly applicable and could probably be
area of conservation in the region. The project has
been replicated in Argentina, applied to vicuñas in an integrated into most programs.
environment similar to that of Chile.
It should also be noted that, while upholding and
(Source: This case study is reproduced in abbreviated form supporting human rights is critical, the recognition
from the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme publication
Community Action to Conserve Biodiversity: Linking of rights is not sufficient by itself to achieve the de-
Biodiversity Conservation with Poverty Reduction (2006). sired conservation outcomes supported by local
The full case study can be accessed online: http:// populations. An enabling legal and policy environ-
20-%20Vicuna%20Management%20Project.pdf) ment, appropriate governance systems (such as
delegation of management arrangements to the ap-
propriate level), and strengthening of local capacities
♦ To work for the long-term conservation of are all fundamental necessities. It is useful here to
biodiversity and a functioning environment; bear in mind that people rely on more than simply
♦ To involve actively and in a timely fashion natural resources for their livelihoods. Supporting
individuals or groups (rights-holders), includ- access to social, human, physical and financial assets
ing in particular indigenous and local people, are also key to providing people with sustainable
that may be affected by conservation prac- livelihood options. Which of these is most impor-
tices and research with the goal of establish- tant will depend on the local context and on stake-
ing a working relationship that can be benefi- holders’ culture, history, and current desires and
cial to all parties involved; needs.

Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 23
Some proponents of human rights-based approaches Endnotes
(see, for example, Alcorn and Roy 2007) suggest
that conservation organizations should go beyond a 1 French for “freedom, equality, brotherhood”.
focus on human rights in a management context re- 2
lating directly to the implementation of their pro- 4
grams and push for governance reform in national 5
institutions of countries that have not assumed their 6
duty-bearer responsibilities. Large conservation or- 7
ganization, they argue, have the ability to influence 8
politicians and national elites to which rural people tion_2003_71_Human_rights_and_the_environment.
do not have access, and should use their influence doc
to promote broader issues of good governance and 9
human rights, along the lines of development organi- 1120.pdf
zations such as Save the Children. Whether imple- 10 The federal Clean Air Act in the United States regu-
lates air emissions from area, stationary, and mobile
mentation of such a strong form of a rights-based sources. This law authorizes the U.S. EPA to establish
approach is feasible or seen as constructive for con- National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to
servation organizations would depend on the capac- protect public health and the environment. http://
ity and philosophy of the particular organization. . In this case
the EPA had argued that the Clean Air Act did not
authorize it to regulate carbon dioxide and other heat
First and foremost, it is important to actively seek -trapping gases because they were not ''air pollutants''
out stakeholders (rights-holders and duty-bearers), within the meaning of the law.
listen to their legitimate concerns and respect their 11
right to have a say in matters that are important to 12
them. Rights issues are all about negotiating fairly rtwrev.pdf
whose rights are privileged and whose are infringed 14
in any individual case. 15
© WCS/Peter Coppolillo


TransLinks 24 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
ANNEXES: Useful resources

Annex I: Check-list (what to keep in mind Annex III: List of hard law and soft law instruments
when thinking about human rights in a conserva- relating to human rights (human rights covenants
tion context) and declarations with web links to the actual docu-
Annex II: List of organizations dealing with hu-
man rights and principles as related to the envi- Annex IV: References and further readings on
ronment relevant topics

Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 25
ANNEX I human rights principles, accountability, par-
ticipation, non-discrimination, respected by
Draft Check-list state officials?
for considering rights in conservation C. Stake-Holder Capacity

This check list is adapted from Annex A. of a UNDP 1. Who are the right-holders? Which individu-
document: Emilie Filmer-Wilson with Michael als and groups require access to natural re-
Anderson. Integrating Human Rights into Energy and sources and energy services; which groups
Environment Programming: A Reference Paper. 2005. use these resources and services; which
UNDP, New York; Available for download at http:// groups are affected by environmental degra- dation or by conservation?
HR_Pub_environmentprog.pdf [accessed April 19, 2. Are right -holders aware of their rights and
2007] environment laws and standards enshrined in
international and national legislation?
3. Are there effective civil society organizations
1. Analyzing the Country Context to represent right-holders when decisions
A. Legal Framework over resources and services are made?
4. Do public authorities provide right-holders
1. What are the relevant international and regional with access to environmental information,
human rights Conventions and standards in this access to decision making affecting the envi-
context? What are the relevant environment ronment, and effective access to justice and
Conventions in this context? remedy?
2. Is the right to the environment enshrined in the 5. Who are the duty-bearers? Which are the
Constitution or other national laws? Are sub- actors or institutions responsible for making
stantive human rights related to environment, and enforcing the rules for using natural re-
such as the right to life, the right to health in- sources? Who resolves disputes over shared
cluded in national laws? natural resources?
3. What are the relevant traditional, religious and 6. At what level or scale: local, regional, na-
customary laws in this context? tional, or international, does the authority
4. Do constitutional provisions provide procedural over resources reside?
rights for citizens and NGOs to obtain informa- 7. What are the national and international obli-
tion participate in decision-making and have ac- gations related to environmental protection
cess to courts as enshrined in Agenda 21 and that the duty-bearers are supposed to meet?
Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration? 8. Do the duty-bearers have the capacity to
5. Are national standards, laws and judicial deci- perform their duties (including authority,
sions related to environment and energy issues data and resources)?
enforced? What are the main obstacles to en- 9. Do government officials (e.g. ministry offi-
forcing these rights? cials, judges, development planners), know
6. What are the indirect laws that affect people's and understand environment laws and stan-
access to and use of natural resources (e.g. dards?
property rights/land title, legal status )
2. Applying rights in the program context
B. Political Framework
A. Goals
1. What priority are environment and energy is- 1. What human rights are being supported di-
sues given in national and local policy and budget rectly and indirectly by the program?
decisions? 2. Are stakeholders involved in defining pro-
2. What is the level of rights awareness among gram goals?
state officials and the population as a whole? Are

TransLinks 26 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
B. Indicators 2. Which groups are the most vulnerable to envi-
1. Are human rights standards reflected in ronment degradation/ and or which groups are
baselines and indicators? Are qualitative as- most disadvantaged in regards to access to clean,
pects of human rights, such as accountability affordable and sustainable energy services?
and empowerment, reflected in indicators? 3. Are steps taken to address the cultural, legal,
2. Are stakeholders involved in designing ap- institutional, and political causes behind why
propriate indicators to measure program these groups are disadvantaged?
progress? 4. Are vulnerable groups, (e.g. the poor, indigenous
groups, minorities, women, the old), specifically
C. Human Right Principles targeted in program strategy?
5. What steps are taken to imrpove gender equal-
Does program design and implementation incor- ity in the program?
porate human rights principles as set out in in- 6. Are these groups actively engaged at all stages of
ternational and regional Conventions? the programming process?

Participation Accountability
1. Do both duty-bearers and claim-holders 1. Is the program process transparent?
participate in the program design, imple- 2. Do monitoring and evaluation arrangements of
mentation, and monitoring and evaluation programs involve stakeholders?
process? Is the management adaptive, al- 3. Has the program established accessible and ef-
lowing for participant input at all stages of fective mechanisms for redress in case of stake-
holder conflicts with program activities?
the process?
2. Do stakeholders have the capacity to Indivisibility and Inter-dependence of rights
participate meaningfully in the program Are there possibilities to address various human
process? (e.g. do they have sufficient and rights by linking conservation programs to other
accessible information on and understand activities?
the issues being addressed; do they have
experience in participatory processes; do D. Rights-holders and duty bearer capacity
they possess communications and nego- Does the program build the capacity of both the
tiations skills?) right-holders and duty-bearers?
3. Was there fair and equal representation?
4. Are strategies included in programming
to enable program beneficiaries to deliver
and manage natural resources them-
selves? (e.g. are they trained in the re-
quired technical and management skills?)
5. Is partnership building with local community
organisations developed as part of program-
ming strategy to achieve local implementa-
6. Are community-based organisations and local
NGOs strengthened through the program?

Non-discrimination and attention to vul-
nerable groups
1. Has thoroughly disaggregated data been de-
veloped to identify the groups most disad-
vantaged in regards to access to energy and
environment services and resources?

Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 27
ANNEX II Hrandenv - Information exchange on human
rights and the environment (http://
Organizations dealing with human
The Human Rights and Environment list is open
rights and environmental rights and unmoderated. It provides a forum for indi-
viduals and organizations working on or inter-
The following list was compiled by the Carnegie Council ested in issues at the intersection of human
and further expanded drawing on various other sources. rights and the environment to network, share
The original Carnegie Council list can be found here information, coordinate programs and activities, and react to new events.
dialogue/2_11/readings/4976.html (accessed March 26,
2007). It makes no claim to completeness, but it con- Founded in 1999, the Center for Human Rights
tains several key non-governmental and governmental and Environment (CEDHA) (http://
organizations that deal with environmental rights. Par- is an Argentina-based or-
ticularly for the intergovernmental organizations when ganization that seeks to raise awareness of the
the mandate is human rights or environmental problems link between the environment and human rights,
broadly, the specific environmental rights focus is high- and increase the developmental capacity of state,
lighted. civil society, and private sector actors. CEDHA's
primary focus is on research, capacity-building,
Nongovernmental Organizations: legislation strengthening, and litigation.
Begun in 2000, the American Association for the
Advancement of Science's three year project enti- The Center for International Environmental Law
tled "Science and Human Rights" ( (CIEL) ( is a non-
hrenv/overview.html) aims to develop and promote profit organization working to use international
the multiple connections between human rights and law and institutions to protect the environment,
environmental protection, to the benefit of both. promote human health, and ensure a just and
The project seeks to incorporate environmental sustainable society. Through its Biodiversity and
concerns into international human rights instru- Wildlife Program, CIEL promotes the develop-
ments, and also to bridge knowledge gaps between ment and enforcement of an international frame-
environmentalists and human rights advocates. The work of law and policy that supports conserva-
AAAS runs three related mailing lists: tion and sustainable use of living resources, in-
cluding biodiversity, wildlife, forests and fisheries.
SHRPlist - AAAS Science and Human Rights Pro- Seeking to identify and develop connections be-
gram Mailing List ( tween international environmental law and hu-
listinfo/shrplist) man rights law, to integrate the theoretical and
The Science and Human Rights Program e-mail list advocacy approaches of the two movements,
provides news and announcements about events, and to promote a more just, equitable and sus-
publications, and other activities. This list is "low tainable approach to natural resource manage-
traffic," with only a few e-mails sent out each month ment issues, CIEL started a Human Rights and
. Environment (HRE) Program in 1998.
AAASHRAN - AAAS Human Rights Action Net-
work ( Founded in 1971, Earthjustice (http://
aaashran) is an American nonprofit
AAASHRAN uses email and the Web to inform sub- public interest law firm dedicated to environ-
scribers of cases and developments deserving special mental conservation and defending the universal
attention, and to coordinate scientists' efforts to right to a healthy environment. It has achieved
appeal to governments on behalf of their colleagues. landmark legal victories involving air, forests,
Two or three alerts are circulated each month, with health and communities, public lands, water, and
all the information necessary to take action pro- wildlife. Though primarily focused on the United
vided in a succinct bulletin. States, Earthjustice does limited international

TransLinks 28 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
American Commission has its headquarters in
Formed in 1995, Earth Rights International (ERI) Washington, D.C and was created in 1959, while the
( is a nonprofit Inter-American Court is located in San José, Costa
group of activists, organizers and lawyers with Rica and was created in 1969. These bodies pro-
expertise in human rights, the environment, and mote the observance and the defense of environ-
corporate and government accountability. Lo- mental rights by hearing petitions, carrying out on-
cated in the United States and Southeast Asia, site investigations and raising consciousness about
ERI organizes, documents, litigates, teaches, and the violations of these rights.
advocates around environmental rights. It is re- The United Nations Commission on Human Rights
sponsible for the much noted campaign and law- ( is
suit against the UNOCAL pipeline in Burma. composed of 53 states and has met annually in Ge-
neva since 1947. Over 3,000 delegates from mem-
Inter-Governmental Organizations: ber and observer states and from non-governmental
The African Commission on Human and Peo- organizations participate. The Commission exam-
ple's Rights ( came into ines, monitors, and publicly reports on human rights
force in 1986 after its adoption by the Organiza- situations in specific countries or on major phenom-
tion of African Unity. It is charged with uphold- ena of human rights violations worldwide. The
ing the African Charter on Human and People's Commission has working groups on the right to de-
Rights, which was groundbreaking in its guaran- velopment and on indigenous rights, which have re-
tee for all peoples to the have the right to a gen- peatedly dealt with issues of environmental rights.
eral satisfactory environment favorable to their The United Nations Development Program
development. ( began as the U.N. Special Fund in
The Commission on Sustainable Development 1958 and is now the United Nation's global develop-
( ment network that advocates for change by con-
csd12.htm) is a functional commission of the necting countries to knowledge, experience and re-
U.N. Economic and Social Council. It was cre- sources to help people build a better life. Its Energy
ated in 1992 to ensure effective follow-up for and the Environment program addresses environ-
the United Nations Conference on Environment mental degradation and lack of access to clean af-
and Development and to monitor the implemen- fordable energy services, as well as global issues
tation of the Earth Summit Agreements, includ- such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and
ing the Framework Convention on Climate ozone layer depletion by helping countries to
Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity strengthen their capacity to address these challenges
(, the Rio at global, national, and community levels.
Declaration, the Principles of Forest Manage- The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP)
ment, and Agenda 21, a 300-page plan for (, founded in 1972 and based in
achieving sustainable development in the 21st Kenya, is the voice for the environment in the U.N.
century system. With divisions and offices that span the
The European Court of Human Rights (http:// globe and exhaust the gamut of current environ- was instituted in 1998 as a mental issues, UNEP is arguably the world's largest
means to systematize the hearing of Human intergovernmental body specific to the environment,
Rights complaints from Council of Europe mem- in both scope and method.
ber states. The court's mission is to enforce the
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights
and Fundamental Freedoms, ratified in 1953. The
Court has decided numerous cases that have
upheld the environmental rights of Europeans.
The Inter-American Commission and Court on
Human Rights ( are
autonomous organs of the Organization of
American States responsible for the promotion
and protection of human rights. The Inter-
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 29
Annex III tion and the preservation of cultural sites by rec-
ognizing that cultural identity is strongly related
Relevant Treaties and Declarations to the natural environment in which it develops.
African Charter on Human and Peoples'
The following list was compiled by the Carnegie Rights (1981) (
Council (the original can be found here http:// humanrts/instree/z1afchar.htm)
dialogue/2_11/readings/4976.html) and further ex- Written by the member states of the Organiza-
panded drawing on other sources. Divided by their tion for African Unity, this charter seeks to pro-
classification as treaties (which have been ratified) mote and protect human rights in Africa. It
or declarations (which have not), the list below states that "all peoples shall have the right to a
represents the key treaties and declarations pertain- general satisfactory environment favorable to
ing to environmental rights. For those that relate their development."
more broadly to the concept of human rights, their
The Additional Protocol to the American
contributions to environmental rights have been
Convention on Human Rights in the area
highlighted. The list is chronological to emphasize
of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
the development over time of the connection be-
(1988) (
tween human rights and environmental degradation.

I. Treaties Also known as the Protocol of San Salvador, this
protocol represents an attempt to take the inter
International Covenant on Economic, Social -American human rights system to a higher level
and Cultural Rights (1966) (http:// by recognizing the importance of economic, so- cial, and cultural rights. The protocol's provi-
Economic, social, and cultural rights include the hu- sions cover such areas as the right to work, the
man right to work, the right to an adequate stan- right to health, the right to food, and the right to
dard of living, including food, clothing, and housing, education. It also acknowledges the right to a
the right to physical and mental health, the right to healthy environment. It came into effect in 1999
social security, the right to a healthy environment, and has been ratified by Brazil, Colombia, Costa
and the right to education. They are part of a larger Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico,
body of human rights law that includes all economic Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and Uruguay.
and social rights, plus civil and political rights like the
Convention on Biological Diversity (1992)
right to free speech and the right to a fair trial.
These rights are deeply intertwined: for example, (
the right to speak freely means little without a basic The CBD was one of the major agreements
education. Similarly, the right to health means little if adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in
you are not free from persecution. 1992 and has been ratified by over 187 countries
Convention Concerning the Protection of the and the European Community. The three main
World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972) goals of the Convention are: the conservation of
( biological diversity; the sustainable use of its
components; and the fair and equitable sharing
This convention arose out of the General Confer- of the benefits from the use of genetic re-
ence of the United Nations Educational, Scientific sources. International agreement on the need
and Cultural Organization meeting in Paris in 1972. for a healthy environment and specific indicators
Recognizing that cultural and natural heritage are to measure environmental health is reflected in
increasingly threatened by development, the con- the Convention. The goals of sustainable use
vention seeks the establishment of a system for the and equitable sharing of benefits aim to guaran-
collective protection of cultural and natural heritage. tee that the protection of human rights to life,
One of the most significant features of the conven- food, work, sustenance, culture, information and
tion is its linking of the concepts of nature conserva- access to justice in the face of harm to and/or
TransLinks 30 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
commercialization of biological and genetic re- tional and equitable use of Mekong waters, state re-
sources. sponsibility for damaging activities, and environ-
mental integrity of the river. Thailand, Laos, Cambo-
In September 2003 The Cartagena Protocol on dia and Vietnam are all signatories, but China and
Biosafety ( Myanmar (the two Upper Basin countries) are not
default.aspx) entered into force as a component
parties to the agreement.
of the CBD. The Protocol was created to pro-
tect human health and biological diversity from Convention on Access to Information, Public
the potential dangers of genetically modified or- Participation and Access to Justice in Environ-
ganisms by establishing a legal structure for mental Matters, a.k.a Aarhus Convention
GMO transboundary movement. (1998) (
Convention on Civil Liability for Damage The UNECE Convention on Access to Information,
Resulting from Activities Dangerous to Public Participation in Decision-making and Access
the Environment (1993) (http:// to Justice in Environmental Matters was adopted on 25th June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus at the
Html/150.htm) Fourth Ministerial Conference in the 'Environment
for Europe' process. Also known as the Aarhus
Also known as the Lugano Convention, this Convention, this landmark treaty builds upon prior
document aims to ensure adequate compensa- texts and recognizes the right of every person to a
tion for damages resulting from activities dan- healthy environment and to protect and improve the
gerous to the environment and provides for environment for future generations. It also upholds
means of prevention and reinstatement. Fur- people's rights to access information, participate in
thermore, it seeks to uphold people's right to decision-making, and play a part in environment-
access information held by bodies with public related judicial matters. The convention is signed by
responsibility for the environment. thirty-five countries as well as the European Com-
North American Agreement on Environ- munity. The Aarhus Convention is a new kind of
mental Cooperation (1993) (http:// environmental agreement. It links environmental rights and human rights, acknowledges that we owe
an obligation to future generations and establishes
law_treat_agree/naaec/index.cfm?varlan=english) that sustainable development can be achieved only
Also known as the NAFTA Side Agreement, this through the involvement of all stakeholders.
treaty aims to conserve, protect and enhance
the North American environment through the II. Declarations
establishment of a permanent trilateral body Universal Declaration on Human Rights
called the Commission for Environmental Coop-
(1948) (
eration. This treaty is the first environmental
agreement that establishes a procedure for indi- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
viduals, organizations and corporations to com- (abbreviated UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the
plain about a state's failure to comply with envi- United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/217, 10
ronmental law. Entered into force in 1994, it is December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris). It con-
sists of 30 articles which outline the view of the
signed by Canada, Mexico and the United States.
United Nations on the human rights guaranteed to
Agreement on the Cooperation for the all people. It declares faith in fundamental human
Sustainable Development of the Mekong rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person
River Basin (1995) (http:// and in the equal rights of men and women, aiming to promote social progress and better standards of life
in larger freedom. Article 22 states that “Everyone,
The Mekong Agreement deals with the peaceful as a member of society, has the right to social secu-
resolution of disputes concerning the Mekong rity and is entitled to realization, through national
River in southeast Asia. The treaty covers such effort and international co-operation and in accor-
issues as freedom of navigation on the river, ra- dance with the organization and resources of each
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 31
State, of the economic, social and cultural rights in- Agenda 21 (
dispensable for his dignity and the free development Default.asp?DocumentID=52)
of his personality.”
A resulting document from the Rio Earth Sum-
Declaration on the Human Environment mit, Agenda 21 is a broad, 40-chapter statement
(1972) ( of goals and potential programs related to all
DocumentID=97&ArticleID=1503) areas of sustainable development. It addresses
Also known as the Stockholm Declaration, this social and economic issues (such as poverty and
document is the result of the work completed at population dynamics), and the conservation and
the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human management of natural resources (such as pre-
Environment in Stockholm. It is one of the first venting deforestation, promoting sustainable ag-
documents to clearly link human rights and environ- riculture and protecting the atmosphere).
mental protection by recognizing that people have a The Rio Declaration on Environment and
right to a protected and dignified environment. Development (
Declaration on the Right to Development Documents/Default.asp?
(1986) ( DocumentID=78&ArticleID=1163)
b/74.htm) This brief declaration from the 1992 Earth Sum-
This UN Declaration confirms that the right to de- mit is a statement of principles on sustainable
velopment is an inalienable human right and that development. Its key principles deal with the
equality of opportunity for development is a pre- right of humans to a healthy and productive life
rogative both of nations and of individuals who make in harmony with nature, the right of states to
up nations. It establishes people as the central sub- exploit their own resources but not to cause
ject of development and states that they should be damage to other states, and the importance of
active participants and beneficiaries of the right to eradicating poverty and reducing disparities in
development. worldwide standards of living.

European Charter on the Environment and The Statement of Forest Principles (http://
Health (1989) (
Policy/20010827_3) 3annex3.htm)

This non-binding declaration issued by the World Also a product of the Rio Earth Summit, this non
Health Organization recognizes the dependence of -legally binding agreement deals with the devel-
human health on a number of environmental factors opment, preservation, and management of the
and calls for all member states of the European Un- planet's remaining forests.
ion to take steps to reverse or reduce environ- Draft Declaration of Principles on Human
mental degradation that may pose a hazard to Rights and the Environment (1994)
health. (
United Nations Conference on Environment The draft is the first international instrument to
and Development (1992) comprehensively address the linkage between
The 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro was human rights and the environment. It declares
unparalleled for a U.N. conference in both the size that all people have the right to a secure, healthy
and scope of its concerns. Held twenty years after and ecologically sound environment. The decla-
the first global environment conference in Stock- ration was attached to the report of the Special
holm, this Earth Summit aimed to aid governments Rapporteur Madame Fatma Zohra Ksentini, of
in reevaluating economic development and find ways the U.N. Sub-Commission on Prevention of Dis-
to halt the destruction of irreplaceable natural re- crimination and Protection of Minorities, who
sources and pollution of the planet. was asked in 1989 to study the linkages between
environment and human rights issues.

TransLinks 32 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
UN ECOSOC Report on the Environment most open and participatory consultation process
and Human Rights: prepared by Mrs. ever conducted in connection with an international
Fatma Zohra Ksentini, Special Rapporteur document. The Charter is now increasingly recog-
(1994) nized as a global consensus statement on the mean-
ing of sustainability, the challenge and vision of sus-
( tainable development, and the principles by which
sustainable development is to be achieved.
Opendocument) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peo-
ples (2007) (
This document is the final report of a study enti-
tled "The problem of the environment and its
relation to human rights" launched by the U.N. This declaration was 22 years in the making. It calls
Sub-Committee on Human Rights in 1989. on countries to give more control to tribal peoples
over the land and resources they traditionally pos-
Draft International Covenant on Environ- sessed, and to return confiscated territory, or pay
ment and Development (2d ed. 2000) compensation. It was passed by the United Nations
( General Assembly in September 2007 with 143
countries voting in favour and 11 abstaining. Austra-
EPLP31ENsecond.pdf) lia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States
Prepared by the International Union for the voted against on the grounds that customary law
Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources should not be given precedence over national law.
(IUCN) Commission on Environmental Law, this
is a proposed draft of a binding global agreement Human Rights and the Environment in the
on environmental conservation and sustainable Americas 2001, 2002, 2003 (http://
development. It is intended as a starting point
for debate on the content of such a possible in- These brief declarations, passed by the Organiza-
strument. tion of American States (OAS) in 2000, 2001, and
Human Rights and Environment Resolu- 2003, acknowledge a growing awareness of the
tion (2000) ( need to manage the environment in a sustainable
manner to promote human dignity and well being.
rights/IUCN.asp) They promote institutional cooperation in this area,
This brief resolution, drafted in 2000 at the particularly between the Inter-American Commis-
World Conservation Congress held in Jordan, sion on Human Rights and the OAS Unit for Sus-
recognizes the interconnectedness of environ- tainable Development and Environment.
mental degradation and human rights violations.
It supports the role of grassroots movements in Johannesburg Declaration (2002) (http://
holding governments and multinational corpora-
tions responsible for violations of environmental WSSD_POI_PD/English/POI_PD.htm)
rights. This declaration resulted from the World Summit
The Earth Charter (1992/2000) (http:// on Sustainable Development held in South Africa in
2002. The Summit was monumental in its launching of more than 300 voluntary public-private partner-
The Earth Charter is an authoritative synthesis ships designed to support efforts to implement sus-
of values, principles, and aspirations that are tainable development. These partnerships are in-
widely shared by growing numbers of people, in tended to provide a built-in mechanism to ensure
all regions of the world. It is the product of a implementation, since progress in implementing
decade long, worldwide, cross-cultural conversa- sustainable development has been extremely disap-
tion about common goals and shared values. The pointing since the 1992 Earth Summit.
drafting of the Earth Charter has involved the
Commission on Human Rights, Resolution
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 33
2002/44, The Right to Restitution, Compensa-
tion and Rehabilitation for Victims of Grave
Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms (2002) (
This short resolution, drafted by the U.N. Commis-
sion on Human Rights, requests that the interna-
tional community respect the right of victims of vio-
lations of international human rights law to restitu-
tion, compensation, and rehabilitation.
Norms on the Responsibilities of Transna-
tional Corporations and Other Business En-
terprises with Regard to Human Rights
(2003) (
This resolution, approved by the U.N. Sub-
Commission on the Promotion and Protection of
Human Rights, discusses the obligations of corpora-
tions to protect the human rights of workers and
consumers as well as to protect the environment.

TransLinks 34 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
Annex IV tions can undermine local conservation efforts when
(1) local institutions' conservation traditions and lo-
Further Reading and References cal knowledge are ignored or undermined, (2) local
people's traditional rights are ignored and they are
excluded from newly declared protected areas, and
Thinking in this paper has been informed by nu-
(3) Big Conservation allies itself with national elites
merous papers, articles in the academic and the
who share interests with loggers and other resource
grey literature as well as the popular press.
miners. She then outlines the history of the commu-
References and suggestions for further reading
nity-based conservation movement, drawing on her
are listed below, sorted by topic.
experience with WWF.
Benefit-sharing and free prior informed
Agrawal, Arun and Kent H. Redford. 2006.
Poverty, development, and biodiversity con-
servation: Shooting in the dark? WCS Work-
UN Commission on Human Rights. 2004.
ing Paper No. 26. Wildlife Conservation Soci-
Preliminary working paper on the princi-
ety, New York.
ple of free, prior and informed consent of
[accessed Feb 14, 2007]
indigenous peoples in relation to develop-
ment affecting their lands and natural re-
The authors found that the evidence on the success
sources that would serve as a framework
or failure of integrated conservation and develop-
for the drafting of a legal commentary by
ment programs and various community-based con-
the Working Group on this concept sub-
servation approaches is either anecdotal or uses in-
mitted by Antoanella-Iulia Motoc and the
dicators that are not directly comparable across dif-
Tebtebba Foundation. Economic and So-
ferent case studies. They argue that a new research
cial Council. E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/2004/4.
agenda is needed to explicitly document and test the
likely tradeoffs involved in pursuing specific poverty
This working paper presents some ideas on the
alleviation and biodiversity conservation goals, fo-
importance of free, prior and informed consent
cusing on the contextual details that make particular
in international and domestic legal instruments
outcomes more or less likely.
and attempts to explain what the terms “free”,
“prior” and “informed” mean in this context.
United Nations Development Programme/
Global Environment Facility (UNDP/GEF)
docs/wgip22/4.pdf [accessed 4/12/2007]
Small Grants Programme and the Equator
Initiative. 2006. Community Action to Con-
Community-based conservation ap-
serve Biodiversity: Linking Biodiversity Con-
servation with Poverty Reduction . UNDP.
New York, USA.
Alcorn, Janice B. 2005. Dances around the
fire: conservation organizations and com-
_case_st [accessed April 19, 2007}
munity-based natural resource manage-
ment. In: Brosius, J.P., A.L. Tsing, and C.
In this report the SGP and the Equator Initiative col-
Zerner. (eds.). Communities and Conser-
laboratively present thirty case studies from their
vation: Histories and Politics of Commu-
portfolio to document and draw preliminary lessons
nity-Based Natural Resource Manage-
from the successes of community-based biodiversity
ment. AltaMira Press, pp. 37-68
enterprises. While these cases are selected from
across Latin America and the Caribbean and initially
The author argues that conservation organiza-
emerged from an international workshop in Merida,
tions and local communities have common inter-
Mexico, they offer valuable lessons for a global
ests that bring them to “dance” together. She
contrasts Little Conservation and Big Conserva-
tion and argues that big conservation organiza-

Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 35
Hasler, Richard. 2005. The Institutional Para- Leach, Melissa, Robin Mearns and Ian
dox of Community Based Wildlife Manage- Scoones. 1999. Environmental Entitle-
ment. Presented at "The Commons in an ments: Dynamics and Institutions in Com-
Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks munity-Based Natural Resource Manage-
and Opportunities," the Tenth Conference of ment. World Development. Vol. 27. No.
the International Association for the Study of 2., pp. 225-247 http://
Common Property, Oaxaca, Mexico, August
9-13 Leach_et_al_1999.pdf [accessed April 2, 2007]
[accessed April 2, 2007]
While community-based natural resource man-
This paper examines the paradox of institutional de- agement (CBNRM) now attracts widespread in-
velopment for community based wildlife manage- ternational attention, its practical implementa-
ment in Southern Africa. It states that in the co- tion frequently falls short of expectations. This
management phase, powerful actors within the com- paper contributes to emerging critiques by fo-
munities may co-opt the process for their own pur- cusing on the implications of intracommunity
poses, and there is a risk that this may halt the dynamics and ecological heterogeneity. It builds
longer term devolution of management responsibil- a conceptual framework highlighting the central
ity to local communities. role of institutions (regularized patterns of be-
havior between individuals and groups in society)
Hutton, Jon, William M. Adams, and James C. in mediating environment-society relationships.
Murombedzi. 2006. Back to the Barriers: Grounded in an extended form of entitlements
Changing Narratives in Biodiversity Conser- analysis, the framework explores how differently
vation positioned social actors command environmental
ID=14432_201&ID2=DO_TOPIC [accessed April 2, goods and services that are instrumental to their
2007] well-being. It also includes a discussion on cus-
tomary and formal property rights.
The dominant approach to conservation in the 20th
century was the establishment of protected areas Western, David and Michael Wright, edi-
from which people were excluded. However, in the tors. Shirley C. Strum, associate editor.
1980s, decentralised, community-based approaches 1994. Natural Connections: Perspectives
to biodiversity conservation and natural resource in Community-based Conservation. Island
management began to spread rapidly. From the early Press. Washington D.C.
1990s, there has been a growing divide between Preview sections of the book here: http://
proponents of community-based approaches to con-
servation (particularly community-based natural re- hl=en&lr=&id=YJa0RlXk-BIC&oi=fnd&pg=RA1-
source management, CBNRM) and those advocating PA1&dq=Natural+Connections:+Perspectives+in
a return to more traditional preservationist ap- +Community-
proaches to biodiversity conservation. The authors based+Conservation&ots=FLsJBvlOrG&sig=dsS9
examine the growth of the community narrative and ppn7JdOfeN8P8_9uUZJQVZk
the subsequent revival of what we call the ‘back to
the barriers’ movement. They suggest that policy The book focuses on rural societies and the con-
debate needs to become less formulaic if outcomes servation of biodiversity in rural areas. It repre-
are to be positive. sents a systematic analysis of locally based ef-
forts, and includes a comprehensive examination
An interesting response to this article can be found of cases from around the world where the com-
here: munity-based approach is used. The book pro-
may06commentary.htm vides: an overview of community-based conser-
vation in the context of the debate over sustain-
able development, poverty, and environmental
decline case studies from the developed and de-
veloping worlds -- Indonesia, Peru, Australia,

TransLinks 36 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
Zimbabwe, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom --
that present detailed examples of the locally act.html [accessed May 17, 2007]
based approach to conservation a review of the
principal issues arising from community-based Tribes in Suriname, Brazil, and Colombia are com-
programs an agenda for future action. bining their traditional knowledge of the rainforest
with Western technology to conserve forests and
Cultural, rights, and conservation maintain ties to their history and cultural traditions,
which include profound knowledge of the forest
Alcorn, Janice B., Carol Carlo, Julio Rojas, ecosystem and medicinal plants. Helping them is the
David Rothschild, Alaka Wali, and Alejo Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), a nonprofit
Zarzycki. 2006. Heritage, poverty and organization working with indigenous people to
landscape-scale biodiversity conservation: conserve biodiversity, health, and culture in South
an alternate perspective from the Amazo- American rainforests.
nian frontier. In PolicyMatters No. 14.
IUCN. Gland, Switzerland Igoe, James. 2004. History, Culture, and Con- servation: in search of more informed
newsletter/PM14-Section%20V-part1.pdf guesses of whether “community-based con-
[accessed April 2, 2007] servation” has a chance to work, Policy Mat-
ters Issue No. 13. 174-185 IUCN. Gland, Swit-
The rights-based approach holds that the root zerland
causes of poverty and resource degradation can Publications/newsletter/Policy%20Matters%2013.pdf
be addressed only by addressing political rela- [accessed April 2, 2007]
tionships that govern access to resources and
equitable justice. The authors offer a perspec- Drawing on a survey of national parks and indige-
tive gained by valuing the strengthening of the nous communities from around the world, this arti-
rights-based approach to incorporate the cul- cle identifies and discusses five historical and cul-
tural concept of dynamic heritage as a means for tural variables that exert fundamental influence on
“balancing the scale” when collaborating with the outcome of community-based conservation in-
communities for achieving conservation objec- terventions, including: 1) colonial histories and con-
tives in the landscape. servation encounters; 2) sovereignty and political
clout; 3) civil society and NGOs; 4) historically con-
Barrett, Kate. 2007. Kanak Traditions tingent attitudes towards conservation; 5) capacity
Guide Future Conservation. Conservation and indigenous environmental knowledge. The arti-
International (web site) cle concludes that effective conservation interven- tions will need to be flexible enough to recognise
frontlines/2007/02070701.xml [accessed April 2, and incorporate the complexity of these cultural/
2007] historical variables.

Kanak traditions are guiding efforts to more for- Redford, Kent H., and Michael Painter. 2006.
mally protect New Caledonia’s waters. With Natural Alliances between Conservationists
help from Conservation International (CI), and Indigenous Peoples. WCS Working Pa-
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the pro- per No. 25. Wildlife Conservation Society,
vincial government, and local partners, tribes are New York. [accesssed
playing an integral role in making the case for April 2, 2007]
designating the region as a UNESCO World
Heritage site. Both indigenous peoples and large natural areas are
threatened by forces associated with expanding in-
Butler, Rhett. 2006. Amazon Conserva- dustrial society. The survival of both indigenous
tion Team puts Indians on Google Earth peoples and much of what remains of nature lies in
to save the Amazon. the ability of both sides to find common ground.
However, parks and protected areas have become
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 37
the focus of conflict between conservationists and participation is about or for. This magazine fo-
indigenous peoples. In this paper the authors pro- cuses its analysis on the mainstreaming of par-
vide a case study illustrating how effective coopera- ticipatory rural appraisal techniques,
tion between indigenous people and conservation- drawing on experiences of development profes-
ists can be, using the example of the Kaa-Iya del sionals from across the world.
Gran Chaco National Park and Integrated Manage-
ment Area in Bolivia. Mumbu, Pierre. 2006. Conserving Biodi-
versity in the Democratic Republic of the
Participatory Approaches Congo: The Challenge of Participation. In:
Bessette, Guy (ed.) People, Land, and Wa-
The literature on different interpretations of partici- ter: Participatory Development Commu-
pation and participatory approaches is extensive. nication for Natural Resource Manage-
Listed here are just a few possible sources to draw ment. Earthscan/IDRC. London. Sterling,
on. VA.
DO_TOPIC.html#begining [accessed June 4,
Apte, Tejaswini. 2006. A People's Plan for 2007]
Biodiversity Conservation: Creative Strate-
gies That Work (and Some That Don't). The author presents the case of the Kahuzi-
Gatekeeper Series No 130. IIED. London Biega National Park in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. He argues that, unless an
[accessed April 24, 2007] effort is made to consult the people who have
always lived from those resources, and unless
India’s approach to preparing the National Biodiver- they are involved in the decision-making process,
sity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) is a unique conflicts are bound to arise and conservation
example of people’s planning for environmental gov- efforts are likely to be in vain.
ernance. Coordinated by a non-governmental or-
ganisation, the NBSAP was prepared via a large-scale Pretty, Jules N. and Simplice D. Vodouhê.
decentralised planning process across all states of 1997. Using rapid or participatory rural
India. The process helped to increase awareness of appraisal. Chapter 6 in Burton E. Swan-
biodiversity, empower people through participation son, Robert P. Bentz and Andrew J.
and inspire some local initiatives to begin implemen- Sofranko, eds. Improving agricultural ex-
tation of local plans. This paper reflects on some of tension, a reference manual on agricul-
the lessons that emerged from the process. tural extension. Food and Agriculture Or-
ganization of the United Nations (FAO).
The International Institute for Environment Rome, Italy.
and Development (IIED) issues a publication W5830E/W5830E00.htm [accessed April 19,
series called Participatory Learning and Ac- 2007]
tion, a journal on participatory approaches
and methods. This chapter focuses on participatory methods
search.php?s=PLA [accessed April 19, 2007] that are also applicable for conservation pro-
Institute of Development Studies (IDS)/
Participation Group. Pathways to Participa- Ramsar Convention Secretariat. 2004.
tion: Critical Reflections on PRA. IDS, Uni- Ramsar handbooks for the wise use of
versity of Sussex. Brighton, UK. http:// wetlands. Handbook #5 on Participatory Management. 2nd Edition. Ramsar Con-
path2part.pdf [accessed April 19, 2007] vention Secretariat. Gland, Switzerland.
The label PRA originally meant 'Participatory Rural lib_handbooks_e05.pdf [accessed April 19,
Appraisal', but has come to capture a range of differ- 2007]
ent practices and interpretations of what

TransLinks 38 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
This handbook relates specifically to establishing lysed to clarify the particular protection needs of
and strengthening local communities’ and indige- persons displaced by development projects and to
nous people’s participation in the management highlight accessible legal remedies.
of wetlands.
Brechin, Steven, Peter Wilshusen, Crystal
Human rights and rights-based ap- Fortwanger, and Patrick West (editors).
proaches 2003. Contested Nature: Promoting Interna-
tional Biodiversity with Social Justice in the
Alcorn, Janice B. and Antoinette G. Royo. Twenty-First Century. State University Press
2007. Conservation´s engagement with of New York. Albany.
human rights: Traction, slippage, or avoid- Book preview available at:
ance. Policy Matters Issue No. 15. pp.115-
139. IUCN. Gland, Switzerland vid=ISBN0791457753&id=e2GyFp3- LbYC&pg=PP1&lpg=PP1&ots=bXyuKK-
Publications.htm [accessed September 12, 2007] tYo&dq=Contested+Nature&sig=AOVzYL3v3jXfeZ
Human rights (HR) have become a smoking-gun
issue threatening conservation’s public legitimacy This book contends that effective biological conser-
and long-term funding. Globally there are rising vation and social justice must go hand in hand. How
frustrations that large conservation non- can the international conservation movement pro-
governmental organizations (NGOs) do not tect biological diversity, while at the same time safe-
seem to be collaborating with civil society move- guarding the rights and fulfilling the needs of people,
ments promoting democratization. They rather particularly the poor? Contested Nature argues that
appear to associate closely with governments to be successful in the long-term, social justice and
and other actors with poor HR records. In ad- biological conservation must go hand in hand. The
dition, conservation agents are increasingly per- authors argue that protection of nature is a complex
ceived as HR ‘duty bearers’ that do not fulfil social enterprise, and much more a process of poli-
their responsibilities. The author argues that tics, and of human organization, than ecology. Al-
many biodiversity hotspots overlap with poverty though this political complexity is recognized by
hotspots where HR abuses occur, and in such practitioners, it rarely enters into the problem
areas conservation organizations have an excel- analyses that inform conservation policy. Structured
lent opportunity to act towards addressing such around conceptual chapters and supporting case
abuses, guided by international and domestic studies that examine the politics of conservation in
law. This paper places unspoken issues on the specific contexts, the book shows that pursuing so-
table and encourages their open discussion, hop- cial justice enhances biodiversity conservation rather
ing to promote the positive changes essential for than diminishing it, and that the fate of local peoples
sustainable conservation. and that of conservation are completely intertwined.

Barutciski, Michael. 2006. International Brockington, Daniel and James Igoe. 2006.
Law and Development-Induced Displace- Eviction for Conservation: A Global Over-
ment/Resettlement. In Chris de Wet (ed.), view. Conservation and Society. Vol.4. No.3.
Development-Induced Displacement, Ox-
ford: Berghahn, pp. 71-104. 424.pdf [accessed April 2, 2007]
refu_forc/dewetdevelopment/ [accessed April Displacement resulting from the establishment and
18, 2007] enforcement of protected areas has troubled rela-
tionships between conservationists and rural groups
This is a chapter in a book on development- in many parts of the world. This paper examines
induced displacement/resettlement (DIDR). It one aspect of displacement: eviction from protected
explores the role of international law in DIDR areas.
situations. International legal norms are ana-
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 39
Brockington, Dan, James Igoe and Kai This paper summarizes the basic logic and tools
Schmidt-Soltau. 2006. Conservation, Human of livelihoods and rights-based approaches and
Rights, and Poverty Reduction. Conservation examines ways in which they might complement
Biology. Vol.20 (1), 250–252. http:// each other. Case study material collected during a DFID research project on ‘livelihood security,
[accessed April 2, 2007] human rights and sustainable development’ is
used to illustrate the arguments.
The authors see the dearth of information as a key
problem in moving the debate forward. Dramatic ODI also has a web site titled “Rights in Action”
claims and counterclaims have been made, for exam- with a subsection on rights, livelihoods and natu-
ple, about displacement and forced resettlement ral resources.
from protected areas. Better understanding is criti- What_we_do/Rights_Livelihoods.html [accessed
cal if we are to move beyond the sound bites and April 19, 2007]
the stereotypes and develop appropriate policy re-
sponses that minimize or mitigate the negative ef- DANIDA. 2004. Best practices for includ-
fects and maximize the positive. One clear re- ing indigenous peoples in sector pro-
sponse will be to better understand the ‘ecologies of gramme support (Toolkit).
coexistence’ – to make better use of those catego-
ries or protected areas that link biodiversity protec- DanishDevelopmentCooperation/ToolKit/
tion with human activity, rather than pursuing ideals tool_kit_gb.pdf [accessed September 12, 2007]
or wilderness, and to look beyond protected areas
to other biodiversity-rich landscapes in which peo- DANIDA has developed a detailed toolkit for
ple are an integral part. working with indigenous peoples, which includes
a section on human rights, as well as on sector-
Campese, Jessica, and Arnelle Guignier. 2007. specific experiences. Section 5.1 addresses is-
Human Rights – A Brief Introduction to Key sues relating to agriculture, natural resource
Concepts. Policy Matters Issue No. 15. pp. 10 management and the environment. Best prac-
-26. IUCN. Gland, Switzerland tices are also included.
Publications.htm [accessed September 12, 2007] Filmer-Wilson, Emilie and Michael Ander-
son. 2005. Integrating Human Rights into
Understanding the relationships between conserva- Energy and Environment Programming: A
tion and human rights is difficult in part because of Reference Paper. UNDP, New York.
the nature of human rights themselves. We provide
a brief overview of some (though by no means all) HR_Pub_environmentprog.pdf [accessed April
key concepts, debates, and contemporary instru- 19, 2007]
ments protecting international human rights. Given
the vastness and complexity of the issue, we aim This is a useful and comprehensive working pa-
only to provide a helpful overview for readers unfa- per on applying a rights-based approach to en-
miliar with the international human rights frame- ergy and environment programming written spe-
work. cifically for UNDP staff, but broadly applicable.

Conway, Tim, Caroline Moser, Andy Norton Hiskes, Richard. 2005. The Right to a
and John Farrington. 2002. Rights and Liveli- Green Future: Human Rights, Environ-
hoods Approaches: Exploring Policy Dimen- mentalism, and Intergenerational Justice.
sions. Natural Resource Perspectives (Series). Human Rights Quarterly 27. 1346–1364.
Overseas Development Institute (ODI), The Johns Hopkins University Press. http://
publications/briefings/naturalresources/nrp78.pdf human_rights_quarterly/v027/27.4hiskes.pdf
[accessed April 19, 2007]

TransLinks 40 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
This article develops an argument for intergen- Rights and the Environment: Proceedings of
erational justice within the language of human a Geneva Environment Network roundtable.
rights, specifically the human right to a safe envi- United Nations Environment Programme,
ronment. After acknowledging the difficulties as- Geneva.
sociated with such an argument, the author pre-
sents a new approach rooted in pragmatist phi- reportsRoundtables/Human%20Rights%20Env%
losophy that establishes environmental rights as 20Report.pdf [accessed June 1, 2007]
"emergent human rights."
This introductory article summarizes linkages be-
Ishay, Micheline. 2004. The History of Hu- tween human rights and various environmental di-
man Rights: From Ancient Times to the mensions.
Globalization Era. University of California
Press. Berkeley. Piron, Laure-Hélène and Tammie O'Neil.
Book preview at: 2005. Integrating Human Rights into Devel-
books?hl=en&lr=&id=Hd- opment: A synthesis of donor approaches and
sePZG_kkC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=The+History experiences (Executive Summary). Overseas
+of+Human+Rights:+From+Ancient+Times+to+ Development Institute (ODI). London. http://
h7U7ONRksEQ024T5limSQ8jSP0 humanrights_into_development_execsumm.pdf
[accessed April 19, 2007]
This book recounts the struggle for human rights
across the ages, synthesizing historical and intel- ODI study on donor approaches and experiences
lectual developments from the Mesopotamian with integrating human rights in development. ODI
code of Hammurabi to today’s era of globaliza- has recently completed an in-depth review and syn-
tion. The author illustrates how the concept of thesis of donor policies and implementations of hu-
human rights has evolved and develops a frame- man rights. This study was commissioned by the
work for understanding contemporary issues. OECD DAC Governance Network Human Rights
and Development Task Team, and presented at a
McElwee, Pamela D. 2006. Displacement GOVNET meeting in Paris in October 2005. It re-
and Relocation Redux: Stories from views the current situation in bilateral and multilat-
Southeast Asia. Conservation and Society. eral agencies, and identifies a number of forward
Vol.4. No.3. pp.396-493 http:// looking recommendations.
396.pdf [accessed April 2, 2007] Sachs, Wolfgang. Environment and Human
Rights. In Development. Society for Interna-
The author states that policies to impose new tional Development. 2004, 47 (1). http://
parks or strengthen enforcement at existing
ones, nationalisation of forest reserves, and im- v47/n1/pdf/1100016a.pdf [accessed April 2, 2007]
plementation of stricter conservation rules on
private lands for biodiversity or watershed man- The author argues for environmental human rights
agement have been resulting in significant reloca- as a fundamental prerequisite to end the “violence
tions and dislocations of people. She argues that of development”. He outlines the numerous con-
relocations do not necessarily result in better flicts over natural resources in the struggle for liveli-
biodiversity conservation, but that, instead, they hoods and argues for a transition to sustainability in
end up making the situation worse by opening up the more affluent economies, in both the North and
the protected areas to access by hunters and South, as a necessary condition for the safeguarding
poachers, immigrants, or business interests. of the subsistence rights of those whose livelihood
depends on direct access to nature.
Perrez, Franz Xaver. 2004. Key questions
concerning the human rights and environ-
ment debate: An introduction. In: Human
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 41
Sensi, Stefano. 2004. Human Rights and the to help people think about human rights in a
Environment : the Perspective of the Human broader, more inclusive manner. It strives to
Rights Bodies. In: Human Rights and the Envi- help us define issues like homelessness, poverty,
ronment: Proceedings of a Geneva Environ- hunger, and inadequate health care, not only as
ment Network Roundtable. United Nations “social or economic problems,” but also as hu-
Environment Programme, Geneva. man rights challenges.This book is part of the Human Rights Education Series, which is pub-
reportsRoundtables/Human%20Rights%20Env% lished by the Human Rights Resource Center at
20Report.pdf [accessed June 1, 2007] the University of Minnesota and the Stanley
This article summarizes how official international
human rights bodies have addressed environmental United Nations Development Program
human rights concerns. (UNDP). 2000. Human Development Re-
port 2000: Human rights and human de-
Sensi, Stefano. 2007. Human rights and the velopment. Oxford University Press. New
environment -- a practical guide for environ- York, USA.
mental activists. Policy Matters Issue No. 15.
pp. 27-40. IUCN. Gland, Switzerland hdr_2000_ch0.pdf [accessed May 31, 2007]
Publications.htm [accessed September 12, 2007] Every Human Development Report presents
agenda-setting data and analysis and calls interna-
This article analyses the links between human rights tional attentions to issues and policy options
and environmental protection, with a view to clarify- that put people at the center of strategies to
ing the way, and the extent to which, the mecha- meet the challenges of development today - eco-
nisms and procedures established by human rights nomic, social, political, and cultural. The 2000
instruments adopted at the universal and regional Report looks at human rights as an intrinsic part
levels may be used by environmental activists to of development and at development as a means
pursue protection of the natural environment. It to realizing human rights. It shows how human
provides an overview of the ‘environmental’ juris- rights bring principles of accountability and social
prudence of international human rights mechanisms, justice to the process of human development.
focusing on those human right provisions that are
more frequently invoked to address cases of envi- Vene Klasen, Lisa, Valerie Miller, Cindy
ronmental harm. The article argues that the recogni- Clark, and Molly Reilly. 2004. Rights-
tion of a substantive right to a healthy environment based approaches and beyond: challenges
is not necessary, and may not even be desirable. The of linking rights and participation. IDS
mechanisms and procedures set forth in interna- Working Paper 235. Institute of Develop-
tional human rights instruments already provide a ment Studies (IDS). UK.
useful tool to environmental activists challenging
State environmental policies and practices that pre- [accessed April 19, 2007]
vent or limit the enjoyment of the rights set forth in
human rights treaties. This paper attempts to clarify meanings, offering
some definitions of what seem to be critical
Shiman, David. 1999. Economic and Social components of the recently popular rights-based
Justice: A Human Rights Perspective. Human approaches, namely participation, rights, and
Rights Resource Center, University of Minne- power, and providing some practical experiences
sota. for realizing the potential of rights-based ap-
TB1.pdf [accessed May 31, 2007] proaches.

This book is intended to expand the conversation
about human rights. It provides background informa-
tion, ideas for taking action, and interactive activities

TransLinks 42 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
Wilkie, David, Kent H. Redford and Tho- Chapter 2: Conflict analysis describes what is, in
mas O. McShane. Taking of rights for effect, the central component of conflict sensitivity.
natural resource conservation: a discus- Building on a compendium of tools and the lessons
sion about compensation. Journal of Sus- learned from their application, the chapter presents
tainable Forestry. In Press key elements of conflict analysis, and guidance on
how to undertake it.
Protected areas are the defined spaces where
human societies seek to ensure the persistence Chapter 3: Applying conflict sensitivity at project
of those parts of nature that they value. As such, and programme level defines the project cycle, link-
they have changed through time. Different cate- ing the conflict analysis to each constituent step of
gories of protected areas provide different bal- planning, implementation, monitoring and evalua-
ance points between biodiversity conservation tion. The chapter describes how to undertake each
and human use, all require that norms are estab- step in a conflict-sensitive fashion, and the major
lished and enforced to control access to and me- challenges faced in doing so. It is composed of three
ter use of natural resources, and each offers modules: Conflict-sensitive planning; Conflict-
both opportunities and constraints on the active sensitive implementation; Conflict-sensitive moni-
involvement of local people in resource manage- toring and evaluation
ment. The authors argue that that building and
maintaining a robust multi-level constituency for Managing human-wildlife conflicts
protected areas requires honesty when charac-
terizing their benefits and costs, and a readiness The list of publications on human-wildlife conflicts
by those that reap the benefits to compensate below is excerpted from the web site of the People
those that incur the costs. and Wildlife Initiative, a partnership between the
Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU)
Conflict analysis and Born Free Foundation, and supplemented with
some references from additional sources.
There are many approaches to conflict analysius.
Listed here is just one resource on conflict index.shtml#general [accessed April 15, 2007]. This
analysis and management. web site also has additional links and publications.

Africa Peace Forum, Center for Conflict Decker, Daniel, Bruce Lauber and William F.
Resolution, Consortium of Humanitarian Siemer. 2002. Human-wildlife conflict man-
Agencies, Forum of Early Warning and agement: A practitioner's guide. Northeast
Response, International Alert, Safer- Wildlife Damage Management Research and
world . 2004. Conflict-Sensitive Ap- Outreach Cooperative. Ithaca, New York.
proaches to Development, Humanitarian
Assistance and Peacebuilding: A Resource 20Guide.pdf [accessed April 16, 2007]
Pack. London, UK. http:// Practical guidance on designing, implementing and evaluating wildlife management engagement proc-
[accessed May 24, 2007] esses.

This collaboratively produced publication aims Eriksson, Gunilla, Helge Sonntag and Kjell
to identify, synthesise, complement and enable Westerdahl. 2002. A guide to living with
conflict-sensitive practice in the fields of devel- large carnivores. The Large Carnivore Initia-
opment, humanitarian assistance and peacebuild- tive of Europe (LCIE) and the World Wide
ing. The focus of the initiative was donors, gov- Fund For Nature (WWF), Sweden. http://
ernments, INGOs and local civil society organi-
sations. Of particular interest might be chapters Livingwithlargecarnivores.pdf [accessed April 16,
2 and 3: 2007]

Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 43
A guide intended for environmental educators to vocal minority can undermine regional conserva-
use during lessons about the environment in a vari- tion initiatives.
ety of educational situations.
Muruthi, Philip. 2005. Human wildlife con-
Hoare, Richard. 2001. A decision support sys- flict: Lessons learned from AWF’s African
tem for managing human-elephant conflict Heartlands. AWF Working Paper. Nai-
situations in Africa. IUCN/SSC African Ele- robi, Kenya.
phant Specialist Group. IUCN. http:// files/3227_file_AWF_Human_Wildlife_Conflict. pdf [accessed April 16, 2007]
HECDecisionSupportSystemMANUAL.pdf [accessed
April 16, 2007] The paper provides an overview of measures
which have been applied to mitigate conflicts be-
A guide intended to give support to protected area tween people and wildlife in AWF’s program
managers, officials from wildlife authorities, technical area.
personnel or researchers from conservation or agri-
cultural agencies involved in human-elephant conflict Osborn, F.V. & G.E. Parker G.E. 2002. Liv-
management. It proposes a series of logical steps to ing with elephants II; A manual for imple-
arrive at optimal management strategies for particu- menting an integrated programme to re-
lar circumstances. duce crop loss to elephants and to im-
prove livelihood security. MZEP, Harare,
Hyngstrom, Scott E., Robert M. Timm, Gary Zimbabwe. http://
E. Larson, Editors. 1994. Prevention and Con-
trol of Wildlife Damage. University of Ne- LivingWithElephantsMANUAL.pdf [accessed
braska-Lincoln. 2 vols. April 16, 2007]
handbook/index.asp [accessed April 16, 2007]
This handbook details identification, control and This manual is designed to help communal farm-
management of over 90 North-American species of ers and wildlife managers mitigate the impact of
wildlife. The whole handbooks or individual chap- wildlife upon small-scale agriculture. The Mid
ters can be downloaded. Zambezi Elephant Project (MZEP) has developed
a two-stage integrated approach that reduces
Naughton-Treves, L., Rose, R., Treves, A. the impacts of elephant conflict upon farmers.
1999. The social dimensions of human-
elephant conflict in Africa: A literature re- Promberger, Christoph. 2001. The inte-
view and case studies from Uganda and Cam- grated management approach in wildlife
eroon. Report to the IUCN African Elephant conservation field projects. Large Carni-
Specialist Group. Gland Switzerland. http:// vore Initiative for Europe publication no. 3.
20conflict.pdf [accessed May 24, 2007] 20process/Manual%20for%20Integrated%
20Field%20Projects.pdf [accessed April 16, 2007]
The authors analyze the social and physical factors Designed as a manual for integrated field pro-
that shape local attitudes to African elephants. Their jects, based largely on the experience gained
aim is to provide a broader view of the sociopoliti- from the Carpathian Large Carnivore Project.
cal and ecological dimensions of human-elephant (pdf 966 KB)
conflict. They confirm that elephants pose a serious
threat to some members of farming communities, WWF. 2005. Human-wildlife conflict man-
but that in most cases, elephants’ regional economic ual WWF for a living planet. Wildlife Man-
impact on agriculture is negligible relative to other agement Series. Southern African Re-
vertebrate and invertebrate pests. Nonetheless, hu- gional Programme Office (SARPO), Ha-
man-wildlife conflict is a major obstacle to commu- rare, Zimbabwe.
nity support for conservation, and the hostility of a

TransLinks 44 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 Uganda.
WWFhuman_wildlife_conflictManual.pdf publications/technicalreports [accessed April 16,
[accessed April 16, 2007] 2007]

Designed to guide local communities, wildlife Crop raiding by wildlife can completely undo initia-
managers, policy makers, and other people in- tives that work with local people as it is a source of
volved in community conservation, in ways to great friction. This report is the result of a work-
reduce human-wildlife conflict. It provides some shop that brought together people from across Af-
background on the problem and gives specific rica who have been addressing crop-raiding and try-
examples of methods used to reduce human- ing to find solutions in a wide variety of cultural set-
wildlife conflict in Southern Africa. tings and habitats. The report synthesizes what
these people have learnt through their experience in
Livestock predation & attacks on humans dealing with this issue and provides guidelines for
protected area managers and researchers when fac-
Athreya, V.R. & A.V. Belsare. 2007. Hu- ing this problem. The appendices provide several
man-leopard conflict management guide- case studies which give more detail as to how crop-
lines. Kaati Trust, Pune, India. http:// raiding has been tackled in various countries.
Athreya%20and%20Belsare%20leopard% Osborn, F.V. and G.E. Parker. 2002. Living
20conflict%20management%20manual% with Elephants II: A manual for implementing
20INDIA.pdf [accessed April 16, 2007] an integrated programme to reduce crop loss
to elephants and to improve livelihood secu-
Practical guidelines to handle the problem of hu- rity. Zambezi Elephant Project, Zimbabwe.
man-leopard conflict management from an eco-
logical perspective; originally designed for the LivingWithElephantsMANUAL.pdf [accessed April
field officers of the Maharashtra Forest Depart- 19, 2007]
ment, India.
Designed to help communal farmers and wildlife
Rigg, Robin. 2001. Livestock guarding managers mitigate the impact of wildlife upon small-
dogs: their current use worldwide.IUCN/ scale agriculture. The guide presents an integrated
SSC Canid Specialist Group. Occasional approach to conflict mitigation, with methods that
Paper No. 1 [online] have been field-tested and designed to be replicated
occasionalpapers/ [accessed April 16, 2007] in different situations.

This report is targeted to wildlife managers, po- Parker, G.E. , F.V. Osborn, R.E. Hoare & L.S.
tential sponsors of livestock guarding dogs and Niskanen. 2007. Human-elephant conflict
human-wildlife conflict resolution projects, re- mitigation: A training course for community-
searchers as well as livestock breeders. The re- based approaches in Africa. Elephant Pepper
port presents the history and current use of live- Development Trust, Livingstone, Zambia,
stock guarding dogs to protect from depreda- and IUCN/SSC African Elephant Specialist
tion by predators. Includes description of the Group, Nairobi, Kenya. (Trainer’s manual in
breeds, and advice on acquiring and raising dogs English; Participants’ manual in English and
to be successful guardians. French).
hec/hectools.html and
Crop-raiding, other damage in rural areas ssc/sgs/afesg/hec/pdfs/heccombaptmen.pdf [accessed
April 16, 2007]
Hill, C.M., F.V. Osborn, and A.J. Plumptre.
2002. Human-Wildlife Conflict: Identifying Making extensive use of real-life examples and case
the problem and possible solutions. Alber- studies, combined with a strong practical element,
tine Rift Technical Reports Series Vol. 1. this training course aims to provide African wildlife
Wildlife Conservation Society. Kampala, managers and local residents with the basic tools
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 45
needed for effective community-based HEC manage-

The IUCN/SSG African Elephant Specialist
Group has a web site about assessing and
managing “problem elephants” with several
additional documents:
themes/ssc/sgs/afesg/hec/index.html [accessed April
16, 2007]

Defenders of Wildlife. 2004. Bear country:
Guidelines for protecting people, property,
and bears. Defenders of Wildlife. Washing-
ton, DC.
BearCountry.pdf [accessed April 16, 2007]

Short brochure with some practical guidelines for
avoiding conflicts with bears (specifically North
American bears).

The Fund for Animals. 2001. Living with deer.
Coexisting with Wildlife Fact Sheet #7. The
Fund for Animals. New York. http://
20Factsheet7.pdf [accessed April 16, 2007]

Detailed information and advice on means of avoid-
ing conflict and damage from deer. Includes a com-
prehensive listing of commercial deer repellents and
sources of further information (for a North Ameri-
can audience).

TransLinks 46 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007
Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007 TransLinks 47
TransLinks is a multi-year program funded by the
United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) designed to better
understand how linking poverty alleviation
(Wealth) with good governance (Power) and
sustainable management of natural resources
(Nature) can positively transform the practice of
development and biodiversity conservation. This
new program of the Wildlife Conservation
Society brings together a unique partnership of
NGOs and Universities with distinct but highly
complementary skills and experience in
conserving biodiversity, governing access to and
use of natural resources, and securing livelihoods
of the rural poor.

Dr. David Wilkie
Living Landscapes Program
Wildlife Conservation Society
2300 Southern Blvd.
Bronx, NY 10460 USA

This publication is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the
United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under the conditions of the
Cooperative Agreement No. EPP-A-00-06-00014-00. The contents are the responsibility of the
lead partner and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States

TransLinks 48 Human Rights and Conservation, September 2007