Shifting Environmental Governance in a Neoliberal World: US AID for Conservation

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Abstract

Abstract:  By exploring the shifting and uneven power relations among state, market and civil society organizations in US environmental foreign aid policy-making, this article forges new ground in conversations about conservation and neoliberalism. Since the 1970s, an evolving group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has lobbied the US Congress to support environmental foreign assistance. However, the 1980s and 1990s rise of neoliberalism laid the conditions for the formation of a dynamic alliance among representatives of the US Congress, the US Agency for International Development, environmental NGOs and the private sector around biodiversity conservation. In this alliance, idealized visions of NGOs as civil society and a countering force to corporations have underpinned their influence, despite their contemporary corporate partnerships. Furthermore, by focusing on international biodiversity conservation, the group has attracted a broad spectrum of political and corporate support to shape public policy and in the process create new spaces for capital expansion.

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