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Environmental governance as a gateway to rural security, justice and poverty alleviation

Time (GMT +01) 14:00 17:00


This workshop will examine how interventions in the environmental sector can be utilised as an entry point to improve security, justice, and democratic participation of civil society in fragile states. RSVP by 7 June to [email protected] to guarantee a place.

In isolated rural areas, local people often depend on natural resources for their well-being. However, when government institutions lack effective capacity, accountability and responsiveness, the natural resource base deteriorates, local economies fail, and rural areas become havens for corruption and lawlessness, breeding criminal activities such as illegal wildlife and timber trade, drug trafficking, and narcoterrorism, which further victimise local people and frequently involve them in illicit activities.

With support from DFID’s Governance and Transparency Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society and Global Witness have demonstrated that supporting environmental governance in rural areas can be used as a gateway to advance governance overall and improve livelihoods for the world's most remote rural poor. In fact, the approach has led to successes where other development projects have failed or were not efficient in terms of value for money.
Some of the impacts include:

  • Better monitoring of government performance within and beyond the forest sector
  • Recovery of misappropriated state land from drug traffickers and organised crime
  • More commitment to prosecution of high-profile criminal cases
  • Increased border security
  • Reduced corruption
  • Improved quality of life for isolated rural communities
  • Improved management and administration of local organisations
  • New legal norms which provide for a stronger voice in democratised decision-making over forest and other resources
At this workshop, WCS, Global Witness and others will provide examples of how they have supported participatory approaches to environmental governance in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, and how these projects have improved governance overall. WCS will describe how the Maya Biosphere Governance Programme has increased collaboration between resource owners, governments and civil society organisations to reduce environmental crimes, improve regional security, and increase the accountability of state agencies in Guatemala. Global Witness will describe how its Making the Forest Sector Transparent programme of report cards and advocacy has succeeded in strengthening accountability and improving policy and practice across the forest sector in Africa. Panellists will discuss the link between environmental governance and rule of law in fragile developing nations, and present on methods for measuring results and value for money.
DFID Conference Room (K.1.1), 22 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2EG