Rights-based approaches: Exploring issues and opportunities for conservation

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The links between human rights and biodiversity and natural resource conservation are many and complex. The conservation community is being challenged to take stronger measures to respect human rights and is taking opportunities to further their realisation. ‘Rights-based approaches' (RBAs) to conservation are a promising way forward, but also raise a myriad of new challenges and questions, including what such approaches are, when and how they can be put into practice, and what their implications are for conservation.This volume gives an overview of key issues and questions in RBA. Rights and social justice related policies of major international organisations are reviewed. Case studies and position papers describe RBAs in a variety of contexts - protected areas, natural resource management, access and benefit-sharing regimes, and proposed reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) mechanisms. No one blueprint for RBA emerges. However, there are common themes: supporting both procedural and substantive rights, linking rights and responsibilities, equalising power relations, providing capacity building for rights holders and duty bearers, and recognising and engaging with local leaders and local people. RBAs can support improved governance but are, in turn, shaped by the governance systems in which they operate, as well as by history, politics, socio-economics and culture. Experience and dialogue will add to a fuller understanding of the promises and challenges of RBAs to conservation. The aim of this volume is to contribute to that discussion.

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