WHP Logo

The White Horse Press

Environmental Values

Contents of Volume 21

Other volumes of EV

Environmental Values

Indigenous Peoples' Participation in Global Conservation: Looking beyond Headdresses and Face Paint

Nels Paulson, Ann Laudati, Amity Doolittle, Meredith Welch-Devine and Pablo Pena

Environmental Values 21 (2012): 255-276. doi: 10.3197/096327112X13400390125894


This article explores the meaning of inclusive participation in global conservation decision-making processes. It draws on data collected in collaborative ethnographic research of the latest World Conservation Congress (WCC) held in 2008 in Barcelona, Spain. We argue that despite a discernible shift towards the incorporation of indigenous rights and indigenous peoples' representatives within the conservation equation, many challenges to full participation still exist for both indigenous peoples and other local resource users who may be affected by conservation governance decisions. Several conditions exist at a global scale that limit democratic participation, including the unequal power relations between indigenous peoples and the global north, which limits the space for indigenous inclusion, the democratic deliberation that is often treated as a checkbox item, the limited resources to facilitate broad inclusion (in terms of both monetary and cultural capital), and the political challenges of legitimacy for some at more local scales, such as the concern of who represents whom at the global scale. We recognise effort has been given to expanded participation in global conservation governance, but inclusive and deliberative participation is still limited within IUCN and among other conservation NGOs.


Indigenous rights, international conservation, conservation governance, World Conservation Congress, IUCN

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Conservation and 'Nature+'. Mark Whitehead

The Need for Indigenous Voices in Discourse about Introduced Species: Insights from a Controversy over Wild Horses. Jonaki Bhattacharyya and Brendon M.H. Larson

Unsettling Reconciliation: Decolonial Methods for Transforming Social-Ecological Systems. Esme G. Murdock

Download full text (PDF format) from IngentaConnect. Access is free if your institution subscribes to Environmental Values.

Subscriptions and back numbers of Environmental Values.

Other papers in this volume

The Old Vicarage, Winwick
Cambridgeshire, PE28 5PN, UK
Tel: +44 1832 293222