Working Group: Natural Resource Governance, Inequality & Human Rights

The Natural Resource Governance, Inequality & Human Rights Working Group engages with the distributive consequences of extractive economies and the role of human rights in addressing the inequalities in authority, decision making power, benefit and risk exposure that arise in relation to natural resource governance. The group meets once a month to read and discuss texts on natural resource governance, human rights and economic inequalities. A list of themes and texts discussed in 2015-2016 is available here.

Friday November 20, 2015: Introduction – Human Rights and Environmental Justice 

Carmen G. Gonzalez “Human rights, environmental justice and the North-South divide,”  Anna Grear and Louis J. Kotze (eds) Research Handbook on Human Rights and the Environment (Edward Elgar, 2015)

Monday December 7, 2015: Human Rights and Climate Change

Climate change is increasingly recognized as raising multiple human rights concerns. This week, we look at this question, while also interrogating the representational problems in grappling with problems—such as climate change—that have multiple diffuse causes, where causality cannot be directly determined, and the violence of its effects is often naturalized.

  • Jane McAdam and Marc Limon, Human Rights, Climate Change and Cross-Border Displacement: the role of the international human rights community in contributing to effective and just solutions (Universal Rights Groups, August 2015) available here (please read the Executive Summary and Part I).
  • Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Harvard University Press, 2011), Introduction.
  • Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner ‘Dear Matafele Peinam’ Statement and poem, Climate Summit 2014, Opening Ceremony, available here.

Wednesday February 24, 2016: Climate Change and the Governance of Fossil Fuels

Wednesday March 23, 2016: Business and Human Rights 

This week’s readings engage with current debates around a new treaty for business and human rights, as well as providing historical context and critical perspectives on these debates:

Wednesday April 10, 2016: Corporate Social Responsibility 

Following on from previous discussion on business and human rights, this week’s readings further explore the dynamics of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and “stakeholder activism”. The readings for this week provides a legal overview of the CSR field as well as some different ethnographies of corporate social responsibility in the mining sector.

If you have time please also have a look at the following websites:

Wednesday May 18, 2016: Indigneous Peoples’ Rights and Free, Prior and Informed Consent 

This meeting will discuss debates around free, prior and informed consent and indigenous peoples’ rights in relation to extractivism. We will discuss two texts, a UN human rights report and an academic article:

It may be useful to quickly look over the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) and the International Labour Organization Convention 169 (1989) as background to these discussions.

Wednesday September 21, 2016: Human Rights and Nature Conservation 

The relationship between environmentalism and the human rights of local communities is not uncomplicated. There has been a long history of conflict between community rights to land and conservation projects. This week we engage with some critiques of “coercive conservation” alongside a discussion of current processes of what has been called “green grabbing.”

Please read: 

Wednesday October 26, 2016: Marketized Environmental Governance of “Natural Capital” 

This session examines debates surrounding the economic valuation of nature and “ecosystem services” as well as the increased marketization of environmental governance by reading two text that critically engage with these trajectories.

Please read:

You may also interested in looking at one of the key reports advocating for the increased valuation of nature in economic terms, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB for Policy Makers: 2009).

Wednesday November 16, 2016: Contours and Contradictions of Neoextractivism

The readings for this week explore the contours and contradictions of what has been called neo-extractivism – the extraction and export of raw materials as part of a growth-orientated development strategy, looking particularly at South America.

Get Involved:

If you are interested in becoming involved with this working group, please email Julia Dehm.

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Project & Publications Type: Working Groups