The Earth Summit of 1992 ushered in art era of global environmental management based on conventions signed by governments, international panels of experts, global environmental monitoring centres, and interventions of international non-governmental organization (NGOs) working in collaboration with donor nations and aid recipient governinents. The framework for global environmental management articulated within the Report of the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development (UNCED) is based upon a conception of sustainable development which draws together strands of economic development based on neoliberal, free market development with environmental protection. Breaking with previous conceptions of environmental protection, as being dependent upon a transformation of world capitalist markets and a limitation of economic growth, it is argued that environmental protection is dependent upon sustained economic growth and the expansion of new technologies that make more efficient utilisation of natural resources possible without depleting the natural environment. The UNCED report is participatory and inclusive. It places a special emphasis on community participation in the management of resources within localities and addresses the needs of ensuring the rights of minorities to natural resources and to participation in environmental management, including the rights of worriers and people. This is clearly seen in the capacity building programme on promoting Sustainable and Rural Development of UNCED, which lists as its objectives; a) To promote greater public awareness of the role of people's participation and people's organizations, especially women's groups, youth, indigenous people, local communities and small farmers, in sustainable agriculture and development; b)To ensure equitable access of rural people, particularly women, small farmers, landless and indigenous to land, water and forest resources and to technologies, financing, marketing, processing and distribution; c) To strengthen and develop the management and internal capacities of rural people's organizations and extension services and to decentralize decision-making to the lowest community level (UNCED 1992:185) This marks a turning point away from earlier mainstream approaches to environmental management, which were essentially based on legislation and regulations enacted and implemented by specialised government departments. The new emphasis is on a greater participation of civil society in managing the environment, empowerment of women in environmental decision-making, and respect for the cultural integrity and rights of people and the sharing of experience and knowledge. But does this really represent the empowerment of rural and their increasing control over the management of natural resources and their associated production systems? Participation may also be a device through which are cajoled into implementing systems of environmental management which they have not made an input in determining and which do not reflect their immediate interests. As Henkel and Stirrat (2001: 1834 84) argue; The attempt to empower through the projects envisaged and implemented by the practitioners of the new orthodoxy is always an attempt to reshape the personhood of the participants... [P]articipatory approaches to development, far from marking a radical shift away from an ethnocentric concept of modernity are intimately part of the process of modernization itself. In fact, we argue, they might provide even more

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