Neoliberal Conservation A Brief Introduction

Igoe, J., & Brockington, D. (2007). Neoliberal Conservation A Brief Introduction. Conservation and Society, 5(4), 432-449.

In this piece Igoe and Brockington examine reasons why neoliberal conservation is an attractive means of environmental management to many people but point out the reasons why it would be unsuccessful. Neoliberal conservation promotes increased democracy and participation by local people. It tries to protect local communities by guaranteeing their property rights and helping them create businesses that are focused on conservation and it promotes green business practices by showing that they can also be profitable. Lastly, neoliberalism uses ecotourism to promote environmental awareness. Neoliberalism claims to be an easy solution to appease everyone: corporate investors, national economies, biodiversity, local people, western consumers, development agencies and conservation organizations. One of the main processes associated with neoliberalisation is deregulation, or the scaling back of states when it comes to environmental regulations and giving more power to local people. This also gives room for NGOs and BINGOS (big non-governmental organizations) to take more control over policy. These organizations are known for taking stands on environmental issues that are in the same interest as sponsors and board members. The authors conclude by saying that the outcomes of neoliberal policies can be beneficial but they can also be problematic. The impacts of neoliberalism do not automatically benefit local people and the environment. Sometimes consequences of these policies are beneficial but often times, they do not directly benefit rural communities. This article is important because it has a lot of good information on why some people choose ecotourism and other “green” business practices in efforts to conserve the environment. However, it is important to consider the negative implications which are further discussed in other articles.