Wildlife crime as an irreconcilable tension between divergent perspectives on nature : a study of appropriation, distribution, and governance of natural resources in international law

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Dimitrijević, Sanja
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Harms to wild flora and fauna, destruction of wildlife habitats, or unlawful exploitation of wildlife may all be considered a form of wildlife crime. It is believed to, inter alia, contribute to our planet’s biodiversity loss and outbreaks of zoonoses. Some forms of wildlife crime are ‘framed’ as transnational organised crime, potentially obscuring the underlying structural causes of wildlife crime. The thesis argues that wildlife crime is a consequence of an irreconcilable historical tension between divergent perspectives on nature. Perspectives of one part of the world have been elevated to the level of ‘universal’, and perspectives of ‘others’ excluded. Humankind’s relationship with nature has accordingly been constructed advantageously to one part of the world and unjustly to another. International law facilitates that relationship, transformation of nature into resources, and their distribution. Duality of international law is observable in tensions between exploitation and sustainability as the two conflicting approaches to nature. Conservation is a compromise often achieved by enclosing communal lands and turning them into privately owned protected areas as a ‘universal’ solution. Such conservation is compatible with (neoliberal) capitalism. ‘Others’ are dispossessed of resources, driven into poverty and conflict with nature. Widespread ecotourism and community-based conservation are imperfect solutions to wildlife crime as they do not address said underlying tension and related structural asymmetries. The thesis explores all these themes.
Second semester University: University of Helsinki
nature, natural resources, international law, environmental law, organised crime, international criminal law