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Resource Entitlements of Indigenous Minorities, Their Poverty and Conservation of Nature: Status of Australian Aborigines, Comparisons with India's Tribals, Theory and Changing Policies Globally

By Clement A. Tisdell


Considers the relevance of A.K. Sen’s theory of entitlements to the situation facing indigenous tribal people, its relationship to institutionalism, and to theories of property rights. Changing world views about the resource entitlements that should be given to local communities are outlined concentrating on the views expressed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). These changing views have relevance for the resource entitlements of indigenous tribal communities and are reflected in differences in the policy approaches inherent in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the more recent Convention on Biological Diversity. The latter embodies the view that provision of greater resource entitlements to local communities can provide economic incentives for nature conservation. There is a case for Indigenous Australians to be given greater rights to market the natural produce from their lands. Despite progress with land rights, they are not entitled to market much of the natural produce from their land. The socioeconomic status of Australian Aborigines is outlined. Their standard of living and their life expectancy are low by world standards and in comparison to other Australians. This is partly a result of historical events that have restricted their rights. These events are outlined briefly. Views differ about the appropriate development paths for Indigenous Australians and these are assessed. Concern on environmental and economic grounds is expressed about the view that the economic development of Australian Aboriginal communities would be accelerated by replacing their communal land titles by private land titles and encouraging Western-style agriculture and commercial development of their lands. Some comparisons are also made with the situation of India’s Tribals.Environmental Economics and Policy, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy,

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