Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 21-33
The good, the ugly and the dirty harry's of conservation: Rethinking the anthropology of conservation NGOs
Peter Bille Larsen
Department of Anthropology, University of Lucerne, Luzern, Switzerland
Peter Bille Larsen
Department of Anthropology, University of Lucerne, Luzern
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|Date of Web Publication||20-May-2016|
| Abstract|| |
For the past decade, narrative portrayals of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) growing big, 'ugly', and business-minded have become common in both social science and public discourse. At a time when both engagement within NGOs as well as critical analysis from the outside has blossomed, how are the social sciences and anthropology in particular responding? This article suggests that a set of meta-narratives characterise much of the literature analysing conservation NGOs. Such narratives respectively position NGOs as doing good, turning ugly or acting pragmatically through what I label 'Dirty Harry' characteristics. While the critique of conservation NGOs offers a much needed 'reality check', it is time to revisit dichotomies of the 'good' past and the ugly present. The article reviews trends in the literature and offers a case study from the Peruvian Amazon. The final synthesis emphasises the need for a less essentialist perspective tracing heterogeneity and change of NGO activity over time.
Keywords: conservation NGOs, anthropology, neoliberalism, oil, protected areas, business, indigenous peoples, Peru, Amazon
|How to cite this article:|
Larsen PB. The good, the ugly and the dirty harry's of conservation: Rethinking the anthropology of conservation NGOs. Conservat Soc 2016;14:21-33
| Introduction|| |
”Are you in?”, I was asked in the email header from World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF),, a big conservation organisation, with whom I have collaborated over the years. “Do you care about a clean, healthy future for people and the planet?”, the mass mail continued. The following section “Our Pledge” noted how, “we believe our future should be powered by nature” emphasizing the need for “investments in clean and renewable energy”. “We choose to invest in solutions, not in problems”, the message ended. “Click 'yes' to sign our plea: seize your power”, it encouraged. Such power could either be seized through Facebook, Twitter or Google+, revealing the social media version of “signing up” to “good” solutions spearheaded by non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Conservation NGOs dedicated to biodiversity at large, today form a natural part of the institutional landscape and public space. NGO influence and presence grew exponentially in the years following the 1992 Earth Summit, leading to the expansion of field offices of Northern NGOs as well as the mushrooming of Southern conservation NGOs (Levine 2002). They have been particularly influential in shaping public opinion and policy in the North (Corson 2010) as well as in influencing policy terrains in the global South that harbour the highest concentrations of biodiversity.
Anthropologists have become increasingly active both in terms of working within as well as studying the work of conservation NGOs. Firstly, conservation NGO projects are increasingly present in 'ethnographic' field-settings due to the explosion of conservation initiatives across the globe. This has led to many projects hiring practising anthropologists. Secondly, conservation presence has led to tensions and dynamics with indigenous peoples and local communities triggering various forms of anthropological critique. Thirdly, a growing body of analysis has increasingly taken up conservation NGOs as an object of study in its own right. Anthropologists have portrayed local perspectives, where global narratives prevailed. They have undertaken global event ethnographies (Brosius and Campbell 2010; Corson and MacDonald 2012), site-specific analysis (West 2006) as well as comparative work (Brockington and Scholfield 2010). The discipline is also at the forefront of “elucidating institutional developments and the forms of environmental surveillance and intervention it promotes” (Brosius 1999: 50).
Yet, rather than resulting in a concerted anthropological conservation agenda, such engagement is pointing to a number of contradictions. Not only has the biodiversity crisis deepened in the same period that NGO activity has mushroomed, the very solutions conservation organisations propose are questioned, and according to some, even aggravating the problem (Igoe and Brockington 2007). Critical voices point to mainstream organisations, particularly of big international non-governmental organisations (BINGOs), dedicated to anodyne advocacy rather than activism. They observe technically-framed solutions and compromise replacing politics, corporate partnerships substituting critique, narrow environmental policy and single-issues predominating over broad-scale sustainability politics (Levine 2002; Chapin 2004; Barker 2010; MacDonald 2010; Holmes 2011). Furthermore, there have been attacks in the global South against international conservation NGOs, perceived as foreign enterprises that undermine rather than support national civil society organisations, whether through co-opting leadership or draining resources intended for local conservation work. Where problem analysis has long been part of the conservation toolbox and a source of NGO authority, critical voices conversely emphasise conservation NGOs as a problem in itself.
The title of this article derives from the polemic nature of the debate. I suggest that many debates can be understood through the lenses of three master narratives framing the significance of conservation NGO activity. Such narratives respectively position NGOs as doing good, turning ugly, or acting pragmatically through what I label 'Dirty Harry' approaches. I consider these as master narratives given their meta-discursive role in delineating and defining (Bamberg 2005) how conservation NGOs are perceived and understood.
The first involves the 'good conservationist', a master narrative often apparent in the foundational documents, public profiles and programmatic statements of conservation NGOs. 'Doing good', I contend, is an essential part of conservation NGO activity and legitimacy production where organisational identities and activities are framed as a matter of moral duty and grass-roots intervention.
The second master narrative, 'the ugly conservationist', has become increasingly apparent in the last decade reflecting the blurred boundaries between 'good' conservation and 'bad' states and corporations. This counter-narrative stresses how conservation NGOs have 'turned' big and ugly, distanced themselves from local constituencies and sided with power.
The third master narrative, the 'Dirty Harry's' of conservation emphasises pragmatic values and realism in response to the earlier critique. Partnerships and engagement with the 'bad' state and private sector are not considered problematic per se, but necessary to secure real-life change.
At a time where engagements, both within NGOs as well as critical analysis from the outside have blossomed, how do we address this narrative complexity? As a starting point, this article argues that such meta-narratives leave little analytical space to capture the complexity at stake. Firstly, there are obvious risks with taking the 'doing good' discourse for granted by performing complicit analysis without fundamentally interrogating the institutional challenges and constraints stake. Secondly, while the 'ugly conservationist' critique offers a much needed reality check of conservation NGOs, this arguably leads to an analytical impasse caught up in dichotomies of the 'good' intentions and an ugly present. As such, they leave social science poorly equipped to capture the shifting realities, roles and practices of actual NGO work. Thirdly, Dirty Harry narratives, while illustrative of evolving power dynamics and institutional strategy easily displace or render critical analysis “disobedient” (Igoe et al. 2010). The resulting malaise suggests a need to revisit the role of anthropological analysis of conservation NGOs. This article is divided into three major parts. The first part debates master narratives and claims in the literature of conservation NGOs respectively doing good, turning ugly and operating as Dirty Harry's. The second part subsequently debates the analytical implications and limitations of this critique through a case study from the Peruvian Amazon. The third part offers a synthesis of the argument arguing for the need to rethink anthropological counter-narratives from a less dichotomous perspective.
| Methodology|| |
The analysis is informed by a reflexive exercise based on long-term involvement with(in) conservation NGOs as a practitioner of what we might label “conservation anthropology,” as well as an observer of conservation NGOs as part of a broader research into environmental governance based on ethnographic fieldwork in Peru. Assessments of specific conservation NGOs often reveal how realities are often more complex and diverse than what appears in critical narratives. Where the latter may emphasise situations of top-down design, dispossession and social exclusion, there are just as many counter examples of NGO actors establishing new forms of alliances, breaking new grounds, and advancing social agendas, where government inertia prevails. Wholesale dismissals of monolithic NGOs do not capture such complexity prompting the need for rethinking anthropological analysis from the outside, alongside constructive engagement from within.
In order to effectively address and decipher the nature of NGO critique and compare it with the complexity of field realities, this research combines a literature review with the extended case study method. The literature review was employed to identify common narratives and explanatory arguments appearing both, in the moral justification of NGO action and to capture the discourses of its critics. It involved reviewing literature produced by conservation NGOs alongside public discourse and academic analysis, where critique has emerged within the last decade. The second methodological axe involved ethnographic methods, which have proven to be particularly productive in terms of capturing the slippery nature of NGOs as an object of study. The extended case study is based on ethnographic fieldwork stays in the Peruvian high jungle between 2007 and 2013 (Larsen 2015). The area has been a long-standing area of conservation efforts offering a pertinent case study to explore evolving roles, practices and perceptions of NGO activity. Field data is based on participant observation, document analysis and semi-structured interviews with NGO and local representatives.
The Good Conservationist and the Bad 'other'
A central master narrative among conservation NGOs couples the public environmental good with wider narratives of biological crisis (Escobar 1998: 56). A good example of such narratives of crisis and global action is the so-called “Morges Manifesto”, the founding document leading to the establishment of the World Wildlife Fund (later renamed as the World Wide Fund for Nature). Its title, We must save the World's Wildlife: An International Declaration, speaks for itself (Morges Manifesto 1961). As the Manifesto stated, using war metaphors, there were “skilful and devoted men and admirable organisations …battling at this moment on many fronts”. It was an “emergency” with “vast number of fine and harmless wild creatures losing their lives, or their homes, in an orgy of thoughtless and needless destruction.” In language resembling a humanitarian rescue mission, the “wildlife emergency” stemmed from “ignorance, greed, and folly.” Animals were being “shot or trapped out of existence…drowned by new dams, poisoned by toxic chemicals, killed by poachers for game, or butchered in the course of political upheavals.” In response, the World Wildlife Fund was set up to offer the public “an effective simple means” to save the world's wildlife, a new organisation with “easy channels for all who want to help”, “raise massive resources for the cause and distribute resources where they are most needed.” Advancing civilisation had to be stopped or as the title of 1969 album with Bee Gees, Beatles and others singing for the WWF went; “No one's gonna change our world”. On the album, the Beatles introduced “Across the universe.” Cilla Black sang “What the world needs now is love.” Rolf Harris sang about the “Cuddly old Koala”, Lulu interpreted “I'm the Tiger”, and Bruce Forsyth presented “When I see an Elephant fly.” Conservation NGOs were the moral guardians of the good in the “senseless orgy” supported by the latest tunes of public culture. This zeitgeist remains important to this day in the nature of conservation communication strategies.
Conservation NGOs are in many foundation narratives about the good against the 'bad other' undermining the public environmental good. Now, I may be criticised for being unfair, even incorrect, in exemplifying the 'good' of NGOs with the emergency language from the late 1960s. NGOs, their objectives and approaches have evolved, it may rightfully be contended. Contemporary versions of the 'good conservationist' are often found no longer in the alarmist moral condemnation of civilisation and species loss, but increasingly in the positive techno-solution realm of sustainability guidance (Larsen 2013). In effect, conservation NGOs are in a constant process of reinventing themselves, redefining mission statements and fine-tuning strategies into new forms of action. My purpose is, not here at least, to enter the particular battlefields of what constitutes a good or bad conservation strategy. I argue, however, that it is essential to recognise the importance of the 'good conservationist' narrative as a moral constitution and an unwritten social contract between conservation NGOs and broader society. Conservation NGOs, in this meta-narrative, represent the good conservation cause against 'bad reasoning'. It, as such, constitutes an existential reasoning based on moral grounds and values, on the one side, and technical competence and science, on the other. This link was best articulated by IUCN Secretary General Duncan Poore in 1977:
”The Union is concerned with values more, I would say, even more than with science. For science should be the servant, not the master of mankind. Our strategy must be firmly based in realism but it must move ahead with vision. We should be the architects of guided change (call it development if you will)—guided change in the direction of increasing the well-being of mankind—not only the standard of living but the good life—but (and the but is all important) in such a way that the potential of the biosphere to support this good life is not diminished (Holdgate 1999: 137).”
Central to this narrative is not merely agency outside the realms of the state, but more fundamentally the moral high grounds of technically sound agency above the temptations of realpolitik and short-termism. Corson (2010: 578), for example, speaks of conservation organisations capitalising through idealised visions of themselves as representatives of civil society countering private forces.
'Good conservationist' narratives are today no longer only about conviction and identity alone, but tied to carefully designed branding operations (Rodríguez et al 2007) and “the spectacle of capitalist conservation” (Brockington and Duffy 2010: 473). Conservation NGOs have become “super brands” with high levels of “consumer trust” (Laidler-Kylander et al. 2007) leveraged by both, NGOs themselves as well as interested third parties, through partnerships and alliances through spectacular accumulation (Sachedina et al. 2010). 'If you have the will, we will show you the way,' conservation NGOs tell the world through carefully orchestrated and competitive communication campaigns. Such narrative positions justified the spectacular growth of sustainable development funding to conservation NGO work after the 1992 Earth Summit. NGOs could deliver where states were absent offering more efficient and competent solutions. Just as development NGOs experienced their heyday as alternatives to the failure and pitfalls of conventional development schemes, conservation NGOs initially thrived on the conservation boom of the 1990s. Yet, where supporting conservation NGOs was, like voting in democracy, a natural reflex of concerned citizens, the picture has now arguably changed somewhat.
| The Ugly Conservationist|| |
An increasingly common narrative portrays NGOs, no longer only as small, beautiful and “doing good”, but turning big, 'ugly' and transnational. In particular, public debate and a growing body of literature have within the last decade thrown into question the mandates, roles, and effects of Northern NGOs. This critique is particularly launched against the BINGOs. Such organisations, critics voice, do not thrive only on a moral mission and merit against all odds, but increasingly rely on a capitalistic expansion of activities, public finance entanglements, and flawed corporate partnership projects threatening what they set out to protect in the first place. Descriptions, particularly of BINGOs, have moved from portraying an idealist independent activity towards describing professionalized, managerial and internationally financed institutions. This has led to a shattering critique eroding the moral premises of the 'good conservationist' narrative.
Why this change? The shift partly reflects a new empirical reality including the spectacular growth of conservation finance. Annual conservation funding is now estimated to be in the range of USD 19.8 billion (Waldron et al. 2013). NGOs are today not only among the biggest investors in conservation (Khare and Bray 2004), but equally central in the management and spending of these resources. Understanding contemporary NGO action cannot be understood outside this political economy. Challenging the idea that NGOs signal a strong civil society, wider analysis has pointed to the material pressures, institutional imperatives, insecurity and competition, potentially subverting NGO ideals (Cooley and Ron 2002). Such phenomena are equally present in the conservation NGO field, whose political economy is arguably distinct in at least two ways. On the one hand, NGOs have been prime receivers of post-Rio green finance becoming convenient alternatives, or rather even out-sourced flexible delivery mechanisms, to poor or downsized state arrangements. On the other hand, NGOs remain instrumental in setting up new funding schemes, shaping and channelling contemporary global conservation finance and flows. Both roles, as funding receivers or as gatekeepers, have today been problematised not least in the public space.
Naomi Klein and others have decried how “Big Green” relies on capital investments in publicly traded securities in energy, materials, and mixed assets. Environmental groups, she argues, have become “part-owners” of industry, furthermore proposing “false solutions” and dead-ends under the banner of “constructive engagement”. Specifically, Klein listed conservation organisations as the Nature Conservancy with a USD 1.4 billion endowment, trumping the Wildlife Conservation Society with only a 377 million endowment, and WWF US with a mere USD 195 million. Klein's (2013) message to Big Green is clear: “cut your ties with the fossils, or become one yourself.” Reporter Oliver Steeds wrote about “Conservation's Dirty Secrets”, whereas Canadian journalist Cory Morningstar spoke of the “non-profit industrial complex” and “its role to undermine, marginalise and make irrelevant, the People's Agreement ” Alliances were being made with the powerful, not the dispossessed, the narrative goes. Morningstar would end noting how “groups who continue to protect such interests must be considered complicit in crimes against humanity”. Mainstream conservation organisations were, by another observer, to be considered “perpetrators” and “worst offenders” not only limiting their work to trivialities, but in effect “legitimising plunder” (Barker 2009). Critical voices from the global South equally see NGO power in opposition to people's power. Arundhati Roy questioned the innocence of NGOs speaking of an “increasingly aggressive system of surveillance of increasingly hardening States” (Roy 2012). In Bolivia, NGOs have been accused of co-opting and making hungry clients out of indigenous organisations and networks through soft dominance. NGOs, the country's Vice President argued, were not non-governmental, but organisations of other governments (Linera 2012: 30). The language used is remarkably strong. Green civil society, it appears, was becoming uncivil, non-governmental become governmental, or, even worse, corporate. From this perspective, the acronym of NGOs might be recast as no good organisations, non-governed organisations, or even nature grabbing organisations following the recent literature on green grabbing (Corson and MacDonald 2012; Fairhead et al. 2012). Moral resentment (Fassin 2013) that NGOs were siding with power, having eaten of the forbidden fruit, threatened the underlying moral constitution of conservation NGOs. Their very social contract was under fire.
Critical scholarship has equally debunked the 'doing good' narrative replacing it with less flattering depictions of bigger, bureaucratised and capitalised organisations (Escobar 1998; Brosius 1999). Where NGOs may challenge the state, they may equally offer convenient stop-gap measures to neoliberal policy change (Lewis and Kanji 2009: 18). Conservation NGOs in this vein of thought no longer offer a moral alternative, but are either subdued by State operations or caught up in mundane struggles over rights, property, accumulation, and redistribution. A prime example, a decade ago, came from anthropologist Mac Chapin (2004), who created a storm in the conservation community by publishing an article entitled “A challenge to conservationists”.. It was a portrait of three conservation “giants” (WWF, Conservation International, and The Nature Conservancy) having grown “extremely wealthy and large”, while abandoning earlier commitments to collaborate with indigenous peoples. The attitude of conservationists was, Chapin (2004: 21) noted, “they have the money and they are going to call the shots”. Chapin described the spectacular growth of NGO funding, money dependence, and the creation of NGO “gatekeepers”. The anthropologist, in a sense, spoke truth to power, a position normally occupied by NGOs themselves. WWF responded that Chapin's analysis was “peppered with inaccuracies”, yet also resolved to corrective measures (Roberts and Hails 2005). CI spoke of the article being “fraught with errors and unsubstantiated assertions”. Nonetheless, it pointed to friction and tensions arguably omnipresent across the NGO scene.
Such critique undermined narratives of conservation NGOs as vectors of the good (against power), to portrayals of NGOs as creatures of power and hegemony (Corson 2010). NGOs were no longer only local and popular, but global and elitist (Holmes 2011). Such “grown-up” NGOs have, put in somewhat colloquial terms, moved away from the innocence of green youth to become seasoned business-driven and political, if depoliticised, movers and shakers. Igoe and Brockington (2007: 439), for example, note how big conservation NGOs control “billions of dollars, employing tens of thousands of people worldwide, and adopting increasingly corporate strategies, organisation and cultures”. The moving of professionals from NGOs to corporate or governmental jobs are, in these narrative orders of purity and danger, considered conspicuous. As Holmes (2011: 1) notes conservation elites interact at conferences and “the roles of NGOs, corporations, and the state are increasingly indistinguishable”. NGOs are seen as part of “inter-state and/or national power structures”, and “act increasingly like a morph between trans-national corporations and government development agencies” (Jepson 2005: 516). They have become part of a “transnational capitalist class” (MacDonald 2010: 542). Their failure to achieve conservation on the ground is seen as a result of their “generalised global approaches” (Rodríguez et al 2007: 755). The critique is particularly rehearsed in connection with market-based (”neoliberal”) conservation approaches (Igoe et al. 2010). Yet, also other “scaling up” and landscape approaches are considered as means of domination, further thriving in a neoliberal environments where conservation NGO boards are increasingly populated by corporate representatives (Corson 2010: 581; Holmes 2011: 6-7).
The argument goes even further in terms of capitalist penetration. Rather than producing alternatives, the “conservation mode of production” produces images, enclosures and commodities ready for capitalist up-take. Conservation is no longer the bulwark against neoliberalism and the penetration of market ideology, but intimately tied to it (Igoe and Brockington 2007; Corson 2010). Brockington and Scholfield (2010: 554) thus argue how conservation NGOs are “constitutive of, and central to, the workings and spread of capitalism in sub-Saharan Africa.” “Conservation inc.” has essentially involved displaying how conservation has been capitalized and corporatised in terms of expertise networks, linkages with capital institutions and penetration. MacDonald (2010: 535-36), for example, emphasises how institutional enclosures have resulted in NGOs “visibly and legibly aligning...activities, capacities and objectives with the ideological and material interests of the dominant actors.” Corson (2010: 579), furthermore, argues how this relies on a separation of financing for conservation abroad from the driving forces of consumption back home. Not only are market mechanisms rendered unproblematic, partnerships with business are deemed essential to effective conservation. Organisations, from this perspective, are dependent on and ultimately shaped by resource allocation from an external environment driven by neoliberal premises. As this challenges the founding narratives of 'doing good', the poor reception is not surprising (Igoe et al. 2010).
Still, has such critique been overdone? Has critique of the ugly conservationist become comfortably radical, potentially misinterpreting, and in some cases, even closing or undermining potential spaces for social change prompted by NGOs? It is thought provoking that radical critique may appear side by side with government attacks on the NGO sector. The increasingly restrictive regulatory frameworks put in place to curtail NGO action in a number of countries is a real political challenge. How then do we prevent anthropological analysis from becoming stuck in a wholesale post-developmental critique of ugly conservation, not to say misreading NGO tactics? Need we not broaden the scope of critical analysis? Can the answer be found in the pragmatism of what I label the 'Dirty Harry' narrative often highlighted in the line of defence by conservation organisations?
| The 'dirty Harry' of Conservation|| |
Because the environmental issues facing humanity are massive and complex, we believe that the most effective way to find solutions is to work with other organisations, including corporations, governments and other NGOs. It is simply not sufficient to throw stones from the sidelines; we must work together to address the needs of a rapidly growing global population that is dependent on a fragile and already overstressed environment. (Seligmann 2011).
The quote above by Peter Seligmann, CEO and co-founder of Conservation International (CI), is from a blog post entitled “Partnerships for the planet: why we must engage corporations”. Whereas the “ugly conservationist” narrative portrays organisations caught up in big finance, corporate engagement, and neoliberal flirtations, what I call the 'Dirty Harry' narrative stresses pragmatic conservation operators in a world of money and power. In reference to the famous detective film starring Clint Eastwood, the criminologist Carl Klockars (1980) conceptualised the “Dirty Harry problem,” as the “moral dilemma” of whether to use “dirty means” for “good ends”. Where Dirty Harry, a San Francisco cop, tracks down a serial killer sniping random victims, the Dirty Harry of Conservation has become the conservationist transgressing the moral codex of the 'good conservationist' to secure effective conservation results.
The credo of the Dirty Harry narrative is that effective conservation requires discreet engagement, adequate resourcing and positive solutions. From a pragmatic conservationist perspective, increasing funds is a necessity in real world conservation. Where campaigners remain stuck in green utopia, the Dirty Harrys of conservation get their hands dirty by managing big budgets and remaining on speaking and operational terms with both government and industry.
The question is no longer about ideological identification with good conservation values, but how to get the job done. Gone are the NGOs as the rebellious outsider revolted against the system, yet without the means, connections and sagesse to make any real change happen. 'Yes, there is money involved', 'yes, there are contacts with corporate and government financing,' conservationists may retort. “^'Yes, conservation involves professionals and technical debates by professional staff members, rather than only volunteers,' they might add. What one on hand, may appear as a huge amount of resources as per observations of a “conservation industry”, is, from this perspective, a question of inadequate conservation finance dwarfed by other budget lines. David Cleary, an anthropologist working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), characterised Chapin's (2004) early critique as “incomplete, naive, and overstated caricature of a complex reality.” Instead, he argued, conservation organisations need big budgets to scale-up activities, operate against power behind the scenes, passing intelligence to campaigners, rather than aligning themselves with the poor in public . Should anthropology, in this sense, not get over its structural naiveté and come to terms with contemporary realities of the Dirty Harrys of conservation?
Many anthropologists have, indeed, pursued this pragmatic strategy through intimate engagements within conservation NGOs from local-level conservation board membership to active involvement as staff or advisors. Some have contributed to public debates around conservation policy and practice, while others have remained involved in “internal” discussions. Ranging from critique at the margins to mainstream policy support, such pragmatic engagements in practice reveal high levels of complexity problematising not only what NGOs do, but equally how they engage with the state and corporate actors.
In effect, NGOs may support or substitute governments and the corporate sector, as they may be financed, resisted, or prohibited by them. They may be curtailed or co-opted, as they may wrestle from within the system. Working around state control of NGO operations is part and parcel of smooth NGO operations in many places. Doane (2014) offers a convincing portrayal of the ups and downs of an NGO-supported community conservation initiative Mexico confronted with decentralised authoritarianism of state agencies working against autonomy-inspired conservation. Language and activities are often tailored and constrained to fit distinct spaces of action, not reflect buy-in altogether. States may accept and allow NGO activity in non-controversial fields, while restricting action in others (Gunte and Rosen 2012). At stake, from this perspective, is a different NGO culture, not co-opted by capital, but involving pragmatic operators working the system and market-based dynamics to build solutions from within rather than shining brightly from the outside. Nonetheless, such pragmatism comes with a cost. Still, rather than jumping to conclusions about “nature unbound”, of natural relations subjected to market dynamics, what studies in fact reveal are how growing organisations are being unbound and increasingly subject to the market place of conservation finance. This, in part, appears as legitimacy is framed as 'value for money' rather than only values per se.
As former Director of WWF, Jim Leape noted in a public lecture in Geneva (2012), that organisations like WWF “help crack the challenges, they (governments) can't crack alone.” He mentioned how his brother, reportedly working for Greenpeace, would complain about how they would “open the door and WWF would enter”. Where campaign organisations stand the grounds of conservation values, mainstream organisations get their hands dirty to get the job done. Engagement is by many environmental organisations framed as a prerequisite for being effective in today's world (Jepson 2005: 517; MacDonald 2010). Such pragmatism, shifting from protest and activism to professionalism and advice, has long been a trend in mainstream conservation. As a 1976 Editorial in the IUCN Bulletin noted:
While it may be repugnant for conservationists to divert their precious energies from conservation proper, or to be involved in development at all...unless we are involved much (if not all) that we have achieved in the past and hope to achieve during the coming years, will be destroyed by the efforts to survive of millions of poor and hungry—helped only by biologically prodigal development on the one hand and socially naive conservation on the other, and therefore not helped at all.
As the initial Morges Manifesto (1961: 2-3) noted, “success would depend …on winning the respect and backing of other interests, which must not be overlooked or antagonised.” Indeed, from Rio and onwards, the sustainability “bond” cemented NGOs as partners of action in a new bond of “No development without sustainability; no sustainability without development” (Sachs 2010: 28). From going against development, conservation NGOs had become efficient vehicles to achieve it.
Still, whether or not such non-antagonism ultimately is successful or in practice undermines NGO independence and conservation impact is under constant debate. Interestingly, as global trends of NGO engagement with the corporate sector has increased, CEOs reportedly perceive a declining significance of NGOs as trendsetters . Whereas 27% of CEOs in 2007 listed NGOs among their top three in terms of stakeholder groups influencing approaches to sustainability, this had fallen to 15% in 2013. Is the agenda-setting edge ability of NGOs eroding while they have grown in terms of size, budgets, and power? Answering the question is beyond the scope this article. Yet, clearly part of the answer will rely on careful assessments of the shifting politics and practices of conservation NGOs (Robinson 2012). The following section explores such questions through a case study of conservation NGO activity in the Peruvian Amazon.
| Doing Good in the Peruvian Amazon|| |
”We are like Don Quixote,” a conservationist exclaimed following yet another meeting about setting up a biosphere reserve in the central jungle area of Peru in early 2008. In the context of massive development pressures, he joked about the group of conservation players around the table on a noble quest to change the world. The image had a ring to it. The tireless group attempted to promote a biosphere reserve project, question the expansion of the electricity grid into a municipal nature reserve and otherwise get green issues on the agenda. Whereas Don Quixote regains sanity, these conservationists arguably pursued high goals and ideals against challenging development odds. They were, in the narrative sense, agents of the good. Many were NGO employees, others former ones. They were, I would argue, not merely acting through personal conviction, but also re-enacting NGO identity narratives of environmental avant-gardism and commitment to the public good.
A quarter of a century prior to his critique of conservation NGOs, Mac Chapin, then a Latin America advisor at United States Agency for International Development (USAID), facilitated one of the agency's first social and environmental impact assessments of a development project. Civil society critique, from anthropologists, indigenous organisations and their supporters had thrown into question government plans for road expansion and frontier settlements in the Peruvian Amazon (Smith 1982). USAID financing and conditionalities eventually led to protected area creation, land titling, and sustainable forest management projects. This re-oriented project space, with only nominal state support, carved out a distinct managerial vacuum ready for NGO support. The Fundación Peruana para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (FPCN) (Fundación Peruana para la Conservación de la Naturaleza=Peruvian Foundation for the Conservation of Nature), later recognised as ProNaturaleza (created in 1984) was the first national conservation NGO founded by key Peruvian conservationists  in response to the limitations of state action (Husock 1997). Protected area financing was not a public finance priority, and conservationists set up the foundation to receive international donor support. Whereas foreign support for conservation in the late 1970s, was “never more than 8% of state contributions” (Dourojeanni and Ponce 1978: 19), these figures would be reversed in the following decades.
Shawn Miller (2007: 194) spoke of “Latin American nature” generating “an unusually large share of first-world environmental anxiety”. Such anxieties after Rio translated into a managerial reconfiguration of problems as “technical” centred around renewable resources (Chatterjee and Finger 1994; Hajer 1995), consolidating the role of NGOs as mediators between the resource-rich North and the biodiversity-rich South. NGOs were among the key supporters, fundraisers and beneficiaries of the managerial paradigm and new finance mechanisms. Whereas debt swaps and international finance in late nineteenth century had fuelled the agricultural frontier in the Peruvian jungle, a century later Northern finance would (attempt to) render the region green . FPCN “became the means for international donors…to give meaning to Peru's protected areas” (Husock 1997: 4). Tropical forests predominated hotspot lists, and Oxapampa fitted the bill forming part of the tropical Andes, “the richest and most biodiverse hotspot on earth…the global epicentre of biodiversity” (Mittermeier et al. 1999: 69).
NGO action, in this period, was about filling the gap of an absent state. FPCN aimed to become a “centre of excellence” in conservation programmes and biodiversity projects (Husock 1997: 3). Founding logics were, in the language of this analysis, based on 'doing good' in technical terms initially replacing the absent State by providing protected area management. It was not an activist NGO, but a foundation structure managed by conservation professionals and former government staff, essentially developing a kind of parallel public structure. Peruvian industrialists were soon to be members of the board (Husock 1997: 5). Not only did the NGO itself manage parks, it organised training and workshops on management planning. Although no formal mandate was given, FPCN initially had a “gentleman's agreement” and later, through donor pressure, obtained a “compact of cooperation” (1986-1989) becoming like a de facto state protected area authority (ibid: 4-5). One of its first major operations, with USAID and TNC support, was the direct management of the Yanachaga National Park in 1987. By 1990, the NGO was administering all the protected areas in the province. A few years later, the NGO supported three fourths of the national protected area system, specifically in charge of 15 of them . FPCN would even co-sponsor the incorporation of a chapter on natural resources in the 1993 Constitution . This was obviously much more than 'doing good'.
It was NGO governance par excellence replacing the state, yet without having to deal with cumbersome national politics. Like many other NGOs, expansion relied heavily on a project economy, eventually becoming part of the multi-country “Parks in Peril  TNC flagship programme “transforming 'paper parks' into functional protected areas” (González and Martin 200 : foreword). TNC had, by then, grown from a small group of ecologists in 1950 to become a major conservation player. By 2005, TNC had more than USD 3.7 billion in assets, and an annual revenue of USD 800 million (Birchard 2005). For the Peruvian NGO, this entailed the emergence of a specific process of priority setting reflecting managerial prerogatives of the organisation. In the Selva Central, this went from park-oriented support in the period from 1991 to 1997 to a second phase supporting two other protected areas in the province. While much of the above, in isolation, illustrates the emergence of a conservation NGO doing good fuelled by international support, there was more to the story. Global conservation finance fuelled NGO-driven problem analysis rendering conservation systems the locus of environmental problem solving. In the following years, a series of projects around biological diversity, forests and fauna, nurtured a particular green vision of Oxapampa and its management needs. This led to an emphasis on natural forest management and protected areas, and less emphasis on agricultural production, soil conservation, and contamination issues.
| the Ugly Conservationist?|| |
The fuelling of green managerial power had social effects. The prior tying together of conservation and social rights, which had mobilised protests and enabled protected area creation in the first place, was being undone. Indigenous communities, who had fought against logging and road expansion, were distanced from protected area management. Where indigenous organisations and their supporters had supported indigenous communal reserves, conservationists put a stronger emphasis on conventional state-driven management responses (Larsen 2015). NGO staff channelled the bulk of funding to the uninhabited national park. “We had to prioritise,” as one conservationist explained (pers. comm.). NGO priorities shifted in 1997 when the government reclaimed direct management of the park. The state agency laid off all forest guards hired by the NGO, triggering a shift in role and perspective.
As the state focused all energy on the park, it left a residual project space for the NGO, by then renamed ProNaturaleza. Project attention was shifted to other protected areas, where the State still remained 'absent'. The NGO initiated capacity-building support and studies in the San Matías-San Carlos Protection Forest and the Yanesha Communal Reserve. As Steven Sampson (2002) has noted, “project life is a world with a premium on abstract knowledge, by which power accrues to those best able to manipulate key symbols and concepts.” Just like capital ventures are expected to generate yearly profits, conservation initiatives are expected to generate added value and success stories (Sachedina et al. 2010: 25). New capacity building roles, and importantly new projects, were defined targeting community organisations and local authorities. Yet, this project economy, like many others, also had unintended consequences.
By 2006, Pronaturaleza, promoting the idea of a “Central Selva Biosphere Reserve”, had lobbied to place the proposal on the agenda of a decentralised Ministerial Council meeting. While it received support from Alejandro Toledo, the country's President, alternative proposals stressing the need for more emphasis on the indigenous perspective emerged, eventually leading indigenous organisations to withdraw support . “Pronaturaleza received a lot of money, dollars, in our name,” one informant mentioned. “Money was not invested here, where it should have been, it went to another site…they would continue as usual, with millions of dollars...our situation wasn't changing,” another added (pers. comm.). Mistrust went beyond an individual project and was echoed by both indigenous leaders and local authorities on multiple occasions. While NGO work was appreciated and solicited, NGOs doing conservation good were equally seen as reaping benefits from environmental problems and leaving little behind. Critique was not least rehearsed and mobilized as part of local politics. NGOs were easy targets and scapegoats for action, but equally visible manifestations of deep-running inequities. “The NGOs see us as children,” one indigenous leader stated. “You (indigenous) aren't able to talk directly to the state..and the state equally thinks that as indigenous peoples, we aren't yet civilized.. The NGOs and the church should be in charge, so that the indios get civilised,” he continued. One indigenous comunero (comunero=commoner) even criticised his own leaders using this image of NGOs: “the presidents live big style, they have converted themselves into another ProNaturaleza”. NGOs representations featured 4-wheel driven project vehicles, high salaries and office space. They were, in one sense, “ugly” victims of their project success.
In the mean time, international support for conservation in the region was dwindling. Major projects came to an end, people were laid off, and offices left to their bare minimum. The organisation had gone through a major financial crisis. Funding was gone, except for some minor projects, and the NGO was no longer offering big-scale solutions to forest and protected area management. Big conservation, it seemed, was only a shade of its past. NGO advisors, instrumental in supporting protected areas, had become consultants for local authorities, moved elsewhere, or joined other institutions. Furthermore, despite long-standing critique, indigenous organisations were busy setting up their own NGOs. By 2013, the indigenous federation of the Yanesha, FECONAYA, had set up its own NGO. Where indigenous political organisations relied on voluntary involvement, NGOs required “professionals”, mirroring the evolution of national NGO culture in the 1980s and 1990s. Another indigenous organisation, AMARCY, with a protected area co-management mandate for the Yanesha Communal Reserve, was equally contemplating formal recognition as an NGO. As Yanesha leaders went from critique of NGOs to set-up their own NGOs, it was all about activating the power of a social form they had experienced. It also involved adopting practices and language of the ingenieros (ingenieros=engineers) characterised by ambitious project proposals, reporting, and PowerPoint presentations. As one Yanesha expressed, “if an NGO can fetch one million soles without consultation… It's time to turn the page and undertake direct negotiations.” “We want our own NGO,” another Yanesha told me. One of their first sources of funding had been project development resources from an oil company. Yet leaders were also coming to terms with the 'ugly' side of project funding and power politics. An indigenous leadership crisis had erupted in 2013 around the management of project resources. Funding from the oil company remained a major source of contention. NGO management was at the heart of the matter and dynamics were strikingly similar to the narrative of 'ugly conservation'. Yet, the case also illustrates the limitations of stereotypical dichotomies between big conservation and local communities. Whereas 'ugly conservationist' elements appeared at different moments, use was transitory, rhetorical and part of complex local politics. Rather than a stable property of conservation NGOs, it even re-appeared in the context of indigenous NGO creation. At stake, were complex interplays between state politics, indigenous representative organisations, corporate players and shifting funding schemes.
| Dirty Harry in the Amazon?|| |
”Through our role as a technical advisor, we aim for efficient socio-environmental management allowing for spaces of communication between the local population and the executing companies of extractive and construction activity,” Pronaturaleza (Dourojeanni et al. 2012: 195, translated from Spanish).
During return visits toe Central Selvl in 2010 and 2013, earlier project activities by Pronaturaleza had been sharply reduced. Yet, programme activities in other parts of the country had grown considerably. The NGO was increasingly active in supporting environmental monitoring programmes for the oil and gas bonanza in the Peruvian Amazon (Finer et al. 2008). In 2001, ProNaturaleza had already begun to organize a community-based monitoring programme in the Camisea gas fields. The schemes were considered successful in terms of early detection of problems and preventing local conflicts in a “silent and routine form” (Dourojeanni et al. 2012: 152). In a decade, such schemes had grown to become a major programme activity. By 2013, the NGO was under contract to work on community monitoring with seven companies (five oil and two mining companies). The organisation described itself as a “technical advisory body” defining one of its four strategic lines of activity as, “searching for conservation and good land use in places where energy and road infrastructure projects are implemented through the reconciliation of corporate and local community interests” (Pronaturaleza 2013: 9). Monitoring was the technical means to achieve this. Such win-win language around the effectiveness of technicality illustrated a distinct NGO positionality 'outside' the political battlefield. The director of the NGO would present the objective of involvement in monitoring as securing high standards of environmental quality in extractive projects, reducing levels of social conflict, maintaining fluid communication alongside knowledge transfer and empowerment of communities (Dourojeanni et al. 2012: 7). Participatory and community-based monitoring schemes were evaluated as “overwhelmingly beneficial” in terms of offering “additional guarantees”, empowerment, and a deepening understanding (ibid: 147). Companies were even considered to benefit 'more'from the scheme in terms of “avoiding conflicts, and to their own surprise, help them in avoiding otherwise grave accidents” (ibid: 151). Whereas the NGO in its early years aimed at transforming paper parks into effective management, the role in extractive industry monitoring increasingly involved becoming a trusted, efficient and competent service provider (ibid: 186).
Had conservationist practice gone from civil society influencing State practice to become part of corporate project governance? Was it Dirty Harry conservationism in practice? The monitoring scheme, practitioners argued, specifically involved empowering indigenous communities to set-up their own monitoring bodies. Protests and denunciations, were from the NGO perspective, seen as “exaggerations” and distortions provoked by special or ideological interests such as the nationalist left (Dourojeanni et al. 2012: 16). 'Doing good' was not about open campaigning and advocacy against oil in certain areas and alternative land use, but demonstrating that the job could be done 'properly'. It was about getting hands dirty to secure clean technologies.
In Oxapampa, where Pronaturaleza had been a major conservation pioneer, oil exploration was taking place within or next to the protected areas, the organisation had pioneered. Local authorities were confronted with major challenges to effectively respond to potential social and environmental impacts (Larsen 2011; Larsen and Gaspar 2012). Yet, despite having a national programme on oil monitoring, the NGO remained surprisingly silent on the topic of exploration activities compared to other NGOs and protected area authorities. Lack of project funding appeared as the major reason, illustrating the fragile nature of NGO positioning on major development challenges. NGO staff were well aware of the conflicts at stake, yet also operated in project economy financing monitoring interventions elsewhere. Independent opinion was not absent per se, but was channelled through, and in some respects, replaced by positionality determined by the political economy of project funding and framed as technically sound project advice. As NGOs are made up of projects, projects in some respects made up the public face of NGOs de facto determining positionality. While this article was being reviewed, the NGO (described as an “environmental consultancy” by one observer) was hired by the oil company Pluspetrol to work in the neighbouring concession 108 to set up a monitoring programme and citizen environmental vigilance programme. The USD 200,000 project reported on the NGO web-site aimed to set up a programme with “adequate local representation” contributing to “improving the compliance of Pluspetrol in relation to commitments made in the environmental management plan.” In a controversial and politicised exploration operation triggering significant protests, indigenous leaders and NGO staff previously challenging corporate oil now offered local community members technical training to monitor operations and “improve compliance”.
The point here is that careful analytical attention is needed to consequences and social effects of 'Dirty Harry' approaches exploring the conditions and implications of engagement. This challenges analysis to look beneath the narratives of strategy documents, and work with a more fluid notion of NGO action crafted around actual practices of engagement and real-life project economies.
| Discussion: Approaching Ngo Complexity|| |
ProNaturaleza and other NGOs have at different moments been viewed as doing good, representing the ugly and engaged in Dirty Harry practices. NGO creation was, for example, largely framed around 'doing good' by substituting or supporting an absent state. Fuelled by international finance, the NGO grew rapidly, yet not without reactions. Local criticisms of NGO projects and distance to communities echoed the master narrative of 'ugly conservation'. Finally, NGO re-positioning as a technical advisory body to extractive industry projects evoked the master narrative of 'Dirty Harry' conservation. Still, such master narratives provide only a very partial picture of the complex dynamics involved.
Firstly, the historical perspective rehearsed in the Peruvian case study revealed major organisational changes within a short time-span. Conservation NGOs are rapidly evolving rather than stable organisations and fields of activity. While it is well-recognised that NGOs are diverse (Igoe et al. 2010: 6), far more attention is needed towards to the internal heterogeneity, the highly unstable terrains of conservation NGOs and evolving conditions over time.
Secondly, the case points to the significance of changing waves of donor finance. NGO roles were closely tied to evolving conditions from levels of government involvement, resource politics to specific finance opportunities. NGOs may indeed be conceived not as self-contained, but as entities, which rely on external environments:
”It is this dependence on an external environment that not only makes the control of organisational behaviour possible but almost inevitable as NGOs need to be appropriately responsive to that environment to assure continued access to the resources they need to survive. (MacDonald 2010: 534).”
NGOs are, in this sense, not organisations with a pre-defined agenda, but rather made up of embedded projects with implicit normative positioning. This raises questions not just about what NGOs do, but fundamentally about what they are. As Pinzas (1997: 6) has noted, “Many of the NGOs are actually not organisations, but rather a loose collection of projects run by a single agent which are not interlinked or mutually supportive—if one fails, the remainder continue; the unsuccessful die and the successful grow.”
While much attention is directed at NGOs themselves, this suggests far more analytical attention to surrounding social and political processes constraining or enabling particular forms of action. This is arguably at the heart of literature situating NGO practice in the wider context of a political economy framed around neoliberalism as well as literature emphasizing the determining role of donor priorities. Yet, this also needs to go beyond the totalising gaze of neoliberal critique, and address the broader picture of contextual dynamics and politics.
Thirdly, the case reveals the relevance of tracking NGO positionalities and relations, both over time and across space, in order to capture their situational and contingent nature. Narratives stressing powerful NGOs tied into corporate-Status nexus reveal only one side of the coin. Brockington and Scholfield (2010), for example, note how conservation NGOs only support 15% of the protected area network in sub-Saharan Africa, influence being unevenly distributed among specific regions, countries and specific sites. Changing relations of cooperation, partnership and competition are central features of NGO activity (For Guatemalan example, see Grandia 2010). NGOs are in a constant process of transforming relations and repositioning themselves whether in relation to internal or external factors such as international funding priorities (Grandia 2009). Rather than merely denouncing (lack of) interaction as “ugly conservation” or displaying “dirty harry” strategies, the question is whether and how strategies of 'rapprochement' are transforming conservation priorities and dynamics. Critical questions are under what conditions and with what results, conservation NGOs engage with the corporate sector, government and international finance. This presents NGO studies with the challenge of capturing how shifts in finance and projects enable or foreclose specific NGO positions and their ability to actually influence change. The rise and fall of NGO power, staffing and field presence over time, due to changing flows of finance, are fundamental dynamics in this respect. In a recent review, Robinson (2012: 975) found little empirical evidence of NGO engagements with the corporate sector leading to better conservation results even concluding not to “rely on corporations to meet conservation goals.” Portraying the variety of relations from dialogue to philanthropy and collaboration, his analysis specifically challenges win-win optimism based on voluntary measures and Corporate Social Responsibility.
| Conclusion: Rethinking the Anthropology of Conservation Ngos|| |
Academic attention to the nature and role of conservation NGOs is growing in parallel to the growth and transformation of the organisations themselves. Conservation anthropology has long interrogated the 'local' slot of conservation practice through problem analysis, field activities and policy work. The anthropology of conservation NGOs, in turn, has proved to be a productive reality check stressing the power and politics of conservation practice. Critical analysis, for example, points to the growing importance of corporate partnerships and state imbrications of NGOs forming part of sustainability problems and power fields, rather than merely observing challenges from the outside. The discrepancies between NGO self-representation and the tactics of professionalised bureaucracies of big and capital intensive conservation machineries, is a constant source of societal interrogation, yet need anthropological critique stop there? Has such critique of power become comfortably radical, and at times irrelevant, for the complex set of social battlefields making up non-governmental conservation action? Critical analysis may be more or less welcomed by the organisations themselves (Benjaminsen and Svarstad 2010; Igoe et al. 2010), but is arguably essential to foster a constructive debate about the role and contribution of civil society in addressing the daunting environmental challenges of our times. How is a critique of conservation NGOs maintained without throwing the baby, that of non-governmental or civil society action, out with the bathwater? How is anthropology neither comfortably radical at a distance, nor comfortably operational from within the 'social slot'? How are critical tools and findings better mobilized within conservation organisations to challenge working assumptions and modalities?
This article has argued that master narratives around the good, the ugly or the Dirty Harry's of conservation continue to frame the contours of the debate, yet provide only partial insights into the complex realities of conservation NGOs. Between 'the more NGO activity the better' and a wholesale critique, a critical middle ground of anthropological analysis is emerging. This middle ground is fundamental both to capture problematic spaces as well as alternative institutional forms and practice worthy of anthropological exploration (Lockyer and Veteto 2013). This may avoid the traps of meta-narratives equalling BINGOs with big, bad and business-minded or conversely idealizing small and beautiful Southern conservation efforts. The problematisation of NGOs has opened up for new avenues of investigation into the changing conditions, uneven nature and evolving practices at stake. Conservation NGOs, like many other NGOs (Lewis and Kanji 2009), face choices about who to engage with, where to prioritise activities and how to engage with the wide range of stakeholders impacting and benefiting from conservation. In practice, a panoply of 'hybrid' conservation NGOs, defying conventional dichotomies, are found with varying degrees of international financing, local ownership and corporate involvement. This also concerns everyday decisions about how capacity building is undertaken, how collaboration is built, and the extent to which vibrant local institutions are bolstered (Rodríguez et al 2007: 756). The question is no longer whether NGOs (can) make a difference, but indeed 'what' difference they make as well as when, where and how they make it. What in one context might appear as professionalisation, bureaucratisation, and monolithic power is countered by changing transformative politics, local alliances, and internal heterogeneity in other cases. This entails a less essentialist and more dynamic notion of NGOs rather than attributing them particular properties. Critical analysis need not limit itself to denouncing global power, corporate board membership and partnership language, but might further explore the specific trajectories of conservation impact, policy influence and long-term effects of such engagement. Considering that data on the effectiveness conservation and development NGOs is often scarce (Lewis and Kanji 2009; Robinson 2012), anthropological description paying attention to evolving NGO trajectories, shifting terrains of intervention and their social effects are among the most critical building blocks not only to the field of NGO studies, but equally so for NGO practice at large.
| Notes|| |
- This article was first presented as a paper at a panel entitled “the anthropology of conservation NGOs”, held in Chicago in December 2013. Thanks to other participants for stimulating discussions as well anonymous peer reviewers to insightful comments and suggestions.
- Group mail received on June 5, 2013.
- http://www.thefreelibrary.com/More+ responses+to+%22A+ Challenge+to+Conservationists%22.-a0130057621. Accessed on November 14, 2013.
- ”Sustainable Development: The Agenda After Rio+20”, Conference given at IHEID, October 9, 2012.
- Editorial Comment IUCN Bulletin, New Series vol.7, no.1, January 1976.
- http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2013/ sep/20/ngos-no-longer-set-agenda-development. Accessed on May 10, 2014.
- In Peru, Pro Defensa de la Naturaleza (PRODENA) was the first NGO to deal with environmental matters particularly in regard to natural resource management. A number of successive splits from this organisation gave birth to Fundacion Peruana para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza (known as PRO-NATURALEZA), Asociacion Peruana para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza (APECO) Asociacion de Ecologia y Conservacion (ECO) and other organisations which triggered the development of the environmental movement.(Soria unpublished).
- The three founders, Marc Dourojeanni, Carlos Ponce and José Rios were all La Molina Agrarian University faculty in the 1970s. Dourojeanni and Ponce had held key positions in the Directorate of Flora and Fauna.
- Where indebted Peru in the ninteenth century had offered British bondholders land in the Oriente, twentieth century debt-swaps offered German government and others protected area designation and management plans.
- http://www.pronaturaleza.org/pronaturaleza-cumple-25-anos/. Accessed on January 10, 2011.
- By 1995, FPCN had become Pro-Naturaleza, who co-sponsored the constitutional element with an environmental lawyer NGO (Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA)).
- This, mainly USAID, funded TNC programme covering Latin America and the Carribean ran for 17 years with projects for some USD104 million.
- The biosphere reserve proposal, later renamed as the Oxapampa Ashaninka Yanesha Biosphere Reserve would eventually take off again with stronger involvement and protagonismo of the indigenous federations. Largely supported by NGO actors in the province, it would be approved in 2010.
- http://pronaturaleza.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/nuestro-trabajo/promocion-de-la-responsabilidad-socio-ambiental/Pasco-Junin.pdf. Accessed on April 27, 2015.
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