Sustainable Development Through a Rights Based Approach to Conserve Protected Areas in China

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CONFERENCE: Global Environmental Law at a Crossroads

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He, Miao
Environmental Law
conference paper description
Protected areas are the world’s most effective tool for biodiversity conservation, and their role in helping mitigate and adapt to climate change is also increasingly recognized. However, neglecting internationally and domestically guaranteed rights can be a trigger for protected areas destruction. The crossroads of protected areas conservation on the one hand and human rights protection on the other is an urgent issue. A rights-based approach to conservation meets the need to better balance the human rights protection and protected areas conservation and can make an important contribution to sustainable development.Protected areas in China, with a total surface of 1,562,257km², play a very important role in the world. Unfortunately, protected areas with a high biodiversity value are usually the economically poor place. The conflicts between conserving protected areas and protecting human rights seems to be inevitable in China. Hence, how to adopt rights-based approach to conserve protected areas in China becomes an important problem. However, there is little literature paying attention to this problem. With the aim of adopting rights-based approach to conserve protected areas and to meet the need for sustainable development in China, this paper tends to fills the gap within three layers. Firstly, it will establish what the main conflicts are in China between protected areas conservation and human rights protection. It will briefly analyze the two main conflicts in China, viz. right to information and right to participation. Secondly, why a rights-based approach can help to solve the conflicts, it will explain its advantages and challenges, especially in the Chinese situation. Thirdly, it will explore how to adopt a rights-based approach to protected areas conservation, in order to solve the conflicts in China. This will contain four parts: (a) empowering rights in legislation on protected areas; (b) safeguarding rights in the enforcement of legislation on protected areas; (c) assessing rights when evaluating the enforcement; (d) providing legal remedy. When these four steps are implemented, they might help to solve the conflicts and to achieve harmony between protected areas and human rights.