Professor Rosaleen Duffy
Professor of Political Ecology of Development, Department of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London
Environmental governance: from global markets to global security
Emerging forms of Environmental governance are building on neoliberal approaches in ways that advance the agenda of the war on terror. Using the case of biodiversity conservation, this paper sketches out some of these recent conceptual and material shifts in environmental governance; my aim is to start to unravel and understand the dynamics involved. In recent years the debate around the intersection of neoliberalism and the environment has gathered pace. It is clearly discernible in the promotion of the idea of the green economy – linked in with notions of green growth and green jobs. The more general acceptance and promotion of market based approaches. (PES, natured based tourism, TEEB, to name a few) seems ubiquitous. This leaves critics to continuously argue for alternatives, while the UNEP, the World Bank, Conservation International (amongst others) trumpet this as the only way forward. Neoliberal approaches have become normalised because they neatly fit with a dominant capitalist framework. However, the neoliberal stage has arguably laid the foundation stone for the latest phase.
Taking conservation as an example, I argue that we have entered a new phase – environmental governance as global security. Water, energy supply, climate and food production have long been linked with security concerns; but these have been expressed in terms of conflicts over access rights or Malthusian inspired fears of scarcity. Using conservation I argue there is a new phase – borne of the specific security concerns in the post 9/11 world. This has been facilitated by the earlier neoliberal phase coupled with the desire to find new streams of funding and the extension of military technologies into a range of ‘non- military’ uses. This has allowed private military companies to market themselves on green credentials, prompted NGOs to argue that funding for anti-poaching serves a dual purpose of saving wildlife and defeating Al Shabaab, and encouraged governments to authorise the use of drones and other surveillance technologies. This is not confined to protected areas – it extends certain modes of environmental governance out into wider society. This paper seeks to unravel how and why wildlife is being reconfigured to become the latest ‘front line’, such that fortress conservation is being supplanted with war by conservation.