The right to public participation in environmental decision making: a comparative study of the legal regimes for the participation of indigneous [sic] people in the conservation and management of protected areas in Australia and Uganda
posted on 2022-03-29, 01:26authored byRose Mwebaza
In recognition of the importance of public participation as a basis for good governance and democracy, Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary General to the United Nations, has noted that: "Good governance demands the consent and participation of the governed and the full participation and lasting involvement of all citizens in the future of their nation. The will of the people must be the basis of governmental authority. That is the foundation of democracy. That is the foundation of good governance Good governance will give every citizen, young or old, man or woman, a real and lasting stake in the future of his or her society". The above quotation encapsulates the essence of what this thesis has set out to do; to examine the concept of public participation and its application in environmental governance within the context of the participation of indigenous peoples in the conservation and management of protected areas in Australia and Uganda. The concept of public participation is of such intrinsic importance that it has emerged as one of the fundamental principles underpinning environmental governance and therefore forms the basis for this study. -- Environmental governance, as a concept that captures the ideal of public participation, is basically about decisions and the manner in which they are made. It is about who has 'a seat at the table' during deliberations and how the interests of affected communities and ecosystems are represented. It is also about how decision makers are held responsible for the integrity of the process and for the results of their decisions. It relates to business people, property owners, farmers and consumers. Environmental governance is also about the management of actions relating to the environment and sustainable development. It includes individual choices and actions like participating in public hearings or joining local watchdog groups or, as consumers, choosing to purchase environmentally friendly products. -- The basic principles behind good governance and good environmental decision making have been accepted for more than a decade. The 178 nations that attended the Rio Summit in 1992 all endorsed these nvironmental governance principles when they signed the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (Rio Declaration) - a charter of 27 principles meant to guide the world community towards sustainable development. The international community re-emphasised the importance of these principles at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. -- The right to public participation in nvironmental decision making and natural resources management is one of the 27 principles endorsed by the nations of the world and is embodied in the provisions of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration.
Environmental decisions occur in many contexts. They range from personal choices like whether to walk or drive to work, how much firewood to burn, or whether to have another child. They encompass the business decisions that communities or corporations make about where to locate their facilities, how much to emphasise eco-friendly product design and how much land to preserve. They include national laws enacted to conserve the environment, to regulate pollution, manage public land or regulate trade. They take into account international commitments made to regulate trade in endangered species or limit acid rain or C02 emissions. -- Environmental decisions also involve a wide range of actors: individuals; local, state and national governments; community and tribal authorities such as indigenous peoples; civic organisations; interested groups; labour unions; national and transactional corporations; scientists; and international bodies such as the United Nations, the European Union, and the World Trade Organisation. -- Each of the actors have different interests, different levels of authority and different information, making their actions complex and frequently putting their decisions at odds with each other and with ecological processes that sustain the natural systems we depend on. -- Accordingly, this thesis aims to examine participation in environmental decision making in a way that demonstrates these complexities and interdependencies. It will explore the theoretical and conceptual basis for public participation and how it is incorporated into international and domestic environmental and natural resources law and policy. -- It will examine public participation in the context of the legal and policy framework for the conservation and management of protected areas and will use case studies involving the participation of indigeneous peoples in Australia and Uganda to provide the basis for a comparative analysis. -- The thesis will also faces on a comparative analysis of the effectiveness and meaningfulness of the process for public participation in environmental decision making in Australia and Uganda. There is extensive literature on the purposes to which participation may be put; the stages in the project cycle at which it should be employed; the level and power with regard to the decision making process which should be afforded to the participants; the methods which may be appropriate under the different circumstances, as well as detailed descriptions of methods; approaches and forms or typologies of public participation; and the benefits and problems of such participation.
However, there is not much significant literature that examines and analyses the meaningfulness and effectiveness of the contextual processes of such participation. This is despite the widespread belief in the importance and value of public participation, particularly by local and indigenous communities, even in the face of disillusionment caused by deceit, manipulation and tokenism. Accordingly, the thesis will use case studies to demonstrate the meaningfulness and effectiveness or otherwise of public participation in environmental decision making in protected area management. -- Increasingly, the terminology of sustainable development is more appropriate to describe contemporary policy objectives in this area, with an emphasis on promoting local livelihood and poverty alleviation within the constraints of ecosystem management. However, the domestic legal frameworks, and institutional development, in Australia and Uganda tend to reflect earlier concepts of environmental and natural resources management (referred to as environmental management in this thesis). There are some significant differences between a North (developed) nation and a South (developing) nation, in terms of the emphasis on economic objectives, political stability, resources and legal and administrative capacity. The thesis intends to explore these differences for the comparative analysis and to draw on them to highlight the complexities and interdependencies of public participation by indigenous peoples in environmental decision making, natural resources and protected area management.
Comparative study of the legal regimes for the participation of indigenous people in the conservation and management of protected areas in Australia and Uganda
Table of Contents
Abstract -- Candidate's certification -- Acknowledgements -- Acronyms -- Chapter one -- Chapter two: Linking public participation to environmental decision making and natural resources management -- Chapter three: The right to public participation -- Chapter four: Implementing the right to public participation in environmental decision making : the participation of indigenous peoples in the conservation and management of protected areas -- Chapter five: The legal and policy regime for the participation of indigenous peoples in the conservation and management of protected areas in Australia -- Chapter six: The legal and policy regime for the participation of indigenous peoples in the conservation and management of protected areas in Uganda -- Chapter seven: Implementing public participation in environmental decision making in Australia and Uganda : a comparative analysis -- Chapter eight: The right to public participation in enviromental decision making and natural resources management : summary and conclusions -- Bibliography.
Bibliography: p. 343-364
Thesis (PhD) , Macquarie University, Division of Law
Department, Centre or School
Division of Law
Year of Award
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Copyright Rose Mwebaza 2007.