Critical capacity development towards inclusive and participatory governance of coastal resources in Paraty, Brazil

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2016, 2017, 2017
Bockstael, Erika
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Environmental Science and Policy
World Development
International Journal of the Commons
The research took place in Paraty, Brazil, situated in the Atlantic Forest region on the south-east coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro, with a focus on the coastal community of Trindade. A protected area, Serra da Bocaina National Park (PNSB), was established by the Federal Government in 1971, but not enforced until 2008. The study area is perhaps representative of conservation-development issues in Brazil: how to implement conservation in an area where the local people depend on natural resources for their livelihood. The project investigated the development trajectory of the community of Trindade in relation to environmental governance, and implemented a capacity development initiative in conjunction with community members. Participation in governance, conservation and development, the capability approach, and capacity development, are the theoretical areas explored in this thesis. The research was conducted as interdisciplinary action research, designed to be responsive to changes happening in the community, around issues that were important to people. The research brought together action and reflection, to help find solutions and improve the wellbeing of people and their communities. The study design was flexible and iterative and was adapted to the local context, with the participants largely determining the capacity development topics and methods. The qualitative research approach used mixed methods: narratives, interviews, focus groups, group interviews, participant observation and workshops, involving a total of 75 participants. Four cross-cutting themes were identified, representing the contributions of the thesis to the literature: (1) Decolonizing conservation and development approaches, (2) Moving from co-management to co-jurisdiction with Indigenous peoples, (3) The nature and context of "meaningful" participation", and (4) Marine protected areas as a form of "coastal grabbing". The findings have policy implications as Brazil has been shifting to a focus on local participation in decision-making, with a commitment to speed-up establishment of marine protected areas. These policy developments in Brazil have been positive, but the analysis shows that changes are still necessary, and major challenges exist when considering broader aspects of the social-environmental policies. Thesis findings have relevance to important issues far beyond Brazil; the four cross-cutting themes emerging from the study connect to international conservation-development dilemmas.
Protected Areas, Capacity Development, Indigenous Peoples, Brazil, Coastal resources, Capability Approach, Conservation & development, Participation, Environmental management, Natural Resources, Atlantic Forest, Trindade, Paraty
Bockstael, E., Bahia, N.C.F., Seixas, C.S., & Berkes, F. (2016). Participation in protected area management planning in coastal Brazil. Environmental Science and Policy, 60: 1-10.
Bockstael, E. (2017). Critical Capacity Development: An Action Research Approach in Coastal Brazil. World Development, 94, 336-345.
Bockstael, E. & Berkes, F. (2017). Using the capability approach to analyze contemporary environmental governance challenges in coastal Brazil. International Journal of the Commons, 11(2), 799-822.