Conservation, contraception and controversy: Supporting human rights to enable sustainable fisheries in Madagascar

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 11:59am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2019
Date published: 11/2019
Authors: Rebecca Singleton, Edward Allison, Charlotte Gough, Vinay Kamat, Philippe LeBillon, Laura Robson, Rashid Sumaila
Journal title: Global Environmental Change
Volume: 59
Pages: 101946
ISSN: 09593780

Environmental NGOs are increasingly called upon to respect human rights when undertaking conservation programs. Evaluating a family planning program running alongside marine management measures in Madagascar, we find that family planning services provided by an environmental NGO can support women’s reproductive rights. Family planning services allow the option of smaller families, and give more time to work, increased income and better health. These benefits do not translate into increased support for, or participation in, marine management, however, and women who are able to work more are typically fishing more. We identify patriarchal norms as a key factor preventing the family planning programme from manifesting in improved resource stewardship, limiting opportunities for women to participate fully in resource management meetings and diversify their livelihood outside traditional tasks, including fishing. We propose that a successful human rights-based approach must be more comprehensive, targeting multiple rights and challenging existing institutions and power structures.

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