Contributors: Flechter, Robert, Dr. (University for Peace, Costa Rica)
Robert Fletcher is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Environment and Development at the University for Peace in Costa Rica.
Scientific paper contribution: Beyond Tradeoffs: From Growth to Redistribution in Environmental Conservation"
Abstract: Recently a number of prominent conservationists have pronounced the past twenty years of global efforts to integrate conservation and development an overwhelming failure, identifying tradeoffs between the two priorities that cannot be reconciled. This conclusion, however, fails to problematize the neoliberal governance paradigm commonly underlying such efforts, which paradoxically depends on environmentally-destructive economic growth to redress poverty. Hence, the tradeoff thesis speaks less to the failure of integrated conservation and development efforts than of the capitalist market-based strategies widely pursued to achieve them. After all, despite their general failure to stimulate self-generating enterprises through market integration, conservation projects have often served as a de facto redistribution mechanism, effectively subsidizing both resource preservation and poverty alleviation in communities throughout the world. This reality, I suggest, could be acknowledged and built upon to scale up new forms of resource redistribution in support of more effective conservation beyond both markets and states.