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Women, Decision Making and Sustainability

A recent article by Lori Noguchi and Shahla Ali published in the Hastings Women’s Law Journal, entitled “Women Decision Making and Sustainability: Exploring the Experiences of the Badi Foundation in China” examines the question of how capacities for genuine participation in local decision making, consultation and collaboration are developed, and the important role of scientific understanding and empowerment in this process.  Beginning in 1994, international conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity have increasingly encouraged the use of collaborative processes at the local level to manage and protect community resources. Participation on the part of women in particular, in such decision making processes has been advanced and supported by the International Conference on Population and Development (1994), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), the World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002), and the 2005 World Summit. While such international conventions do not have binding legal effect, such instruments provide a moral force acknowledging the pivotal role women play in sustainable development and decision making at the grass roots. Such processes involve stakeholders from the public and private sectors who consult together in order to arrive at shared goals regarding resource use and planning. While much scholarship has focused on the requirements and parameters of such participatory decision making processes, little systematic attention has been given to the development of decision making capacity.  The article explores this question through a participatory research approach.

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