The JUST CONSERVATION network is an open space for all who care about the conservation of our world and who want to see it achieved with justice, compassion, dignity and honesty.
It was launched on Facebook in September 2010 (www.facebook.com/justconservation) by a group of concerned academics and activists. It's purpose being to provide a platform to:
- Air grievances, concerns or experiences of conservation related human rights abuses;
- Allow conservationists to respond to those grievances, concerns or experiences;
- Review the material submitted to make it as robust as possible;
- Appeal for more information in areas of confusion and uncertainty.
We believe that conservation is vital. It protects life, ensuring that our water and air are clean and that our forests are vibrant.
For people living in places targeted for conservation it does not always look so positive. Sometimes people suffer as a result of conservation work. For some rural people conservation can cause conflict by imposing rules about who can and cannot use natural resources and can break long associations with places that are fundamental to people’s identities.
Poorly designed or badly managed conservation work can damage people's legitimate interests, and involve human rights’ violations.
This is a matter of concern for the communities where these violations occur, for conservationists, and for the general public. Typically, however, there are differing opinions about what has actually happened, who is responsible, and what should be done. In the rough and tumble of conservation disputes, good information is often hard to come by.
Those with concerns or information about such abuses often have difficulty knowing who to talk to or where to take their information. We want this website to be a safe place for anyone with such information to talk about it or post it.
Most conservationists take very seriously any abuse of human rights in their name. We want this website to make it easier for them to hear from people or organisations with important information to bring to their attention.
Who we are
Nick Winer: Over 30 years of experience in Africa, the Middle East and South America managing or consulting on Rural Development, Humanitarian Relief and Conservation programmes. Following a consultancy with Refugees International in Ethiopia in 2004 he began the process of working with many of the major conservation NGOs that resulted in the publication of the CIHR principles in late 2009. He is also the author of 'The Tethered Goat' a novel set in the Ethiopia of Mengistu’s regime of terror.
Dan Brockington: Dan Brockington is the Director of the Sheffield Institute for International Development at the University of Sheffield as of 1st November, 2015. He continues his work on rural livelihood change and conservation policy from there.
Sian Sullivan: Is Professor of Environment and Culture at Bath Spa University and researches issues of justice, self-determination and inequality as these can arise when diverse cultural values become displaced by strongly market-based approaches to conservation. She has conducted long-term research on conservation and cultural landscapes in north-west Namibia, most recently through the research project Future Pasts (www.futurepasts.net), and has studied financialisation processes in biodiversity conservation and environmental policy through the Leverhulme Centre for the Study of Value (www.thestudyofvalue.org).
Gordon Bennett: Is a barrister-at-law in Lincolns Inn, London. He has worked on tribal land claims in Guyana, Kenya and Tanzania among other countries. Most recently, he acted as lead counsel for 200 Bushmen in a successful action in the Botswana High Court to recover lands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve from which they had been unlawfully evicted.
Nicholas Stockton: Has worked in international development and humanitarian aid for over 30 years and is a specialist in programme quality and accountability systems. He was the Executive Director of the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP International) fom 2004 to 2010, during which the first international accountability and quality management standard and compliance scheme for humanitarian agencies was launched. Nick is currently an independent consultant.
Robert Hitchcock: Is an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico and a Professor of Geography at Michigan State University. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Kalahari Peoples Fund (KPF), a non-profiorganization that assists poor people in southern Africa. Originally an archaeologist, Hitchcock has worked on indigenous peoples’ land and resource rights, environment, and economic development issues in Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas since the 1970s.