Poverty, Inequity and Rights in Conservation: an IUCN-IUED-GIAN project

IUED, the Graduate Institute for Development Studies in Geneva, and IUCN, the World Conservation Union, with funding from RUIG-GIAN, the Geneva International Academic Network, implemented an innovative partnership on knowledge generation for pro-poor and equitable conservation.

Poverty, rights and inequity are fundamental challenges, which the conservation community has addressed with varying success. Ranging from Integrated Conservation and Development Projects to policy work, which seeks to incorporate environmental sustainability in poverty reduction strategies, the entry points are multiple.

Poverty, rights and inequity are integral to the very foundation and focus of Development Studies. IUED has a long tradition in providing critical analysis of both development thinking and practice. Linking such knowledge to the concrete context of conservation triggers both conceptual and methodological questions.

Seen separately, both conservation and development continue to quest both natural and social sciences, yet are bound to fail unless strong inter-linkages are built. Taken together, however, they pose immense challenges in terms of targeting research, harnessing inter-disciplinarity and identifying effective approaches.

What are the effective entry points to simultaneously address poverty, equity and rights in conservation? What are the important questions to be asked at the level of situation analysis? Where do we lack knowledge, which could significantly strengthen equitable and poverty-focused conservation? What is the role and impact of inclusive processes, participation and rights in conservation for poverty reduction?

By linking these two knowledge institutions, the project built a bridge between critical academic analysis in the development field with policy and practice in the conservation field. It made the link between conceptual and theoretical developments and the practical realities faced by governments and the wider conservation and development communities in terms of reconciling development needs and sustainable management of natural resources. Final project papers are available below.

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