The research responds to the unprecedented emergence of global environmental norms intended to reconcile natural resource management with poverty alleviation. Prominent examples of such norms are the social safeguards included in global conventions and the human rights-based rulings of international courts. The norms possess the potential to transform development practice in the future, so long as they effectively support poor people’s claims on natural resources and rights to sustainable livelihoods.
The increasing significance of global environmental norms challenges research to develop new theory on the dynamics of environment and development that attends to cross-scale relationships between local environmental struggles, environmental mobilizations and global norms. This research employs an environmental justice lens to examine the effects of global environmental norms on poverty alleviation in the Global South through explorations of forests and water in Nepal, Uganda and Sudan.
This research expands the political ecology approach through attention to notions of environmental justice and cross-scale environmental politics. Notions of justice are at the core of many environmental struggles, as they inform people’s claims and practices in relation to natural resources. Justice conceptions are also an integral component of international environmental politics and global environmental norms. Thus ideas about justice are an integral element of environmental politics across scales, connecting local struggles to mobilizations at national and international levels as well as the conceptions informing global norms – or causing dissonances between them.