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War, By Conservation

Duffy, Rosaleen (2015) 'War, By Conservation.' Geoforum.

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Abstract

In this paper I argue that there has been a critical shift towards war by conservation in which conservation, security and counter insurgency (COIN) are becoming more closely integrated. In this new phase concerns about global security constitute important underlying drivers, while biodiversity conservation is of secondary importance. This is a significant break from earlier phases of fortress conservation and war for biodiversity. In order to develop a better understanding of these shifts, this paper analyzes the existing conceptual approaches, notably environmental security analyses which seek to understand how resources cause or shape conflict, and political ecology approaches that focus on the struggles over access to and control over resources. However, this paper indicates the limitations of these existing debates for understanding recent shifts, which require a fresh approach. I chart the rise of the narrative I call poachers-as-terrorists, which relies on the invocation of the idea that ivory is the white gold of Jihad, a phrase which is closely associated with an Elephant Action League (EAL) report in 2012 which claimed Al Shabaab used ivory to fund its operations. This narrative is being extended and deepened by a powerful alliance of states, conservation NGOs, Private Military Companies and international organizations, such that it is shaping policies, especially in areas of US geo-strategic interest in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result conservation is becoming a core element of a global security project, with significant implications for conceptual debates and for conservation practice on the ground.

Item Type: Articles
Keywords: conservation, war for biodiversity, war on terror, environmental security, political ecology, Kenya
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Development Studies
ISSN: 00167185
Depositing User: Rosaleen Duffy
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2015 09:51
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/20931

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