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Keywords:

  • global environmentalism;
  • sovereignty;
  • neoliberalism;
  • Empire;
  • China

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is a new global conservation funding project created in 2000 through start-up funds from Conservation International, the World Bank, the Global Environmental Facility, and the MacArthur Foundation. It aims to protect the world's biodiversity hotspots, promote civil society, and assist in the Millennial Development Goals to eradicate poverty worldwide. This essay analyzes the CEPF through the making of the Mountains of Southwest China eco-profile and in light of Hardt and Negri's much-debated critique of globalization. While the CEPF imagines itself as a universal project with planetary ambitions, which move around the world empirelike, in China it has had to funnel its monies through a range of organizations connected to an increasingly anxious state. What results is a transformed global project, where the meanings of environmental activism, civil society, and grassroots resistance are up for grabs. The CEPF thus provides a window in the production of contested sovereignties in the bold new age of imperial sovereignty.