Macquarie University
01whole.pdf (2.84 MB)

Collective legal autonomy concerning traditional ecological knowledge: the rights of indigenous peoples and their linkages to biodiversity conservation in Colombia and Australia

Download (2.84 MB)
posted on 2022-03-28, 02:34 authored by Natalia Rodríguez-Uribe
This thesis compares the legal status of biodiversity conservation and the recognition of the human rights of Indigenous peoples in Australia and Colombia. It argues that these two areas are legally protected interests that often collide. One interest cannot be sacrificed for the sake of the other and thus a Pareto optimal balance has to be reached. The aim of the research is to ascertain the most suitable model to achieve biodiversity conservation objectives in territories inhabited or otherwise used by Indigenous peoples. For accomplishing this aim, the thesis critically assesses the models of fortress conservation and community-based conservation (CBC), grounded in the discipline of international environmental law. It argues that the first model, based on the premise of keeping people separate to pristine wildernesses, evolved towards the more inclusive second model, which is currently considered best practice. Australia currently implements CBC and has co-management agreements with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for protected areas. The thesis challenges both of these models on the basis that they do not optimise both interests, and proposes a third human rights–based model, called the collective legal autonomy concerning traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). The collective legal autonomy concerning TEK is grounded in differentiated collective human rights entitled to Indigenous communities in their quality as peoples. By analysing the Colombian Constitution and the rulings of the Constitutional Court, along with case studies of Indigenous communities in the country, the thesis concludes that this human rights–based model achieves a Pareto optimal solution between the two legally protected interests of biodiversity conservation and the recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter I. Biodiversity and indigenous peoples’ human rights : framing the discussion on conservation -- Chapter II. Fortress conservation : separating people from nature -- Chapter III. Community-based conservation : issues with the recognition of indigenous peoples -- Chapter IV. Collective legal autonomy concerning traditional ecological knowledge -- Conclusions.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 329-373

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie Law School

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie Law School

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Carlos Bernal-Pulido

Additional Supervisor 1

Shawkat Alam


Copyright Natalia Rodríguez-Uribe 2013. Copyright disclaimer:




Colombia Australia


1 online resource (xiv, 374 pages)

Former Identifiers