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Title:Understanding biodiversity conservation funding and the diffusion of transnational gender norms in Bhutan
Author(s):Devkota, Dikshya
Advisor(s):Miller, Daniel C
Contributor(s):Johnson, McKenzie F; Brooks, Jeremy S
Department / Program:Natural Res & Env Sci
Discipline:Natural Res & Env Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Conservation finance
conservation policy
aid allocation
gender principles
norm diffusion
norm localization
Abstract:International goals and policy discourses have long shaped conservation priorities and outcomes. One such global norm is gender equality. Although the process of normative changes at the international level is well studied, there is limited information on the diffusion of well-established norms in nation-states. Thus, I conducted a study to understand the conditions under which the transnational norm of gender equality has been adopted or resisted within biodiversity conservation in Bhutan via interviews conducted with 24 conservation practitioners in the country. I first analyzed biodiversity conservation funding in the country from 1980 to 2018 via desk-based research and field study to identify the key norm entrepreneurs in the sector. Results of the funding analysis show that a total of 243 projects amounting to US$ 233.7 million were funded in Bhutan, more than 90% of which derived from international sources. A large proportion of the total funding ($140 million) went to conservation projects that included specific development and gender components, suggesting the influence of international agendas. By contrast, domestic funding focused more strictly on conservation and capacity building without an explicit gender emphasis. While international organizations have introduced transnational gender norms in Bhutan, local socio-political dynamics play a crucial role in influencing the extent to which these norms are adopted in the country. Government support and instrumental benefits resulted in acceptance and adoption of transnational gender norms whereas, strong prior norms and the lack of adaption of foreign ideas to the local context led to their resistance in Bhutan. These findings provide new empirical insights into conservation investment and have relevance for donors, recipients, and policymakers to understand current conservation finance in Bhutan and inform future allocation decisions. Moreover, this study emphasizes the need for norm entrepreneurs and policymakers to build congruence between foreign ideas and local beliefs and practices for the successful diffusion of transnational norms in nation-states.
Issue Date:2020-07-13
Rights Information:2020 Dikshya Devkota
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-10-07
Date Deposited:2020-08

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