From Noah’s Ark to ‘Nature+’: legitimating the International Union for Conservation of Nature

Lehmann, Ina
External Publications (2019)

in: Klaus Dingwerth / Antonia Witt / Ina Lehmann / Ellen Reichel / Tobias Weise: International organizations under pressure: legitimating global governance in challenging times, Oxford: Oxford Univ. Pr., 161-194

ISBN: 978-0-19883-789-3

The chapter reconstructs two major changes in the ways in which the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has legitimated itself. In the 1980s and 1990s, IUCN’s focus first shifted from conserving nature for nature’s sake to conserving nature for the sake of the people. This rise of human well-being norms was subsequently reinforced by the increasing emphasis of stakeholder participation, local knowledge, and, with some time lag, indigenous peoples’ rights. Since the early 2000s, we then observe the rise of a complementary legitimation strategy that centres around the economic benefits of conservation. Analytically, the chapter shows that changes in membership structures as well as in the ideational environment of international organizations provide windows for change, that these are used by strong norm entrepreneurs in the organization’s secretariat, and that normative changes have a tendency to be self-reinforcing, a phenomenon we term normative path dependence.

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Lehmann, Ina

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