The potential and pitfalls of global environmental governance: The politics of transfrontier conservation areas in Southern Africa

Rosaleen Duffy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the potential and problems associated with global environmental governance with particular reference to Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) in Southern Africa. By taking a political ecology approach, it reflects on theories and practices of global environmental governance through an analysis of transboundary environmental management. In particular, it examines the politics of the struggle over control of and access to key natural resources and how it impacts on the implementation of transfrontier conservation. In order to do this, this article includes an analysis of the complex role of local and global NGOs, the changing role of the state in relation to international actors, the importance of community based natural resource management, the commitment to tourism to make conservation pay its way and the problems associated with illicit networks of traffickers of wildlife products, cars and people. It is important to investigate the politics of TFCAs because they are part of a wider context of increasing forms of transnational management of the environment; such transnational forms of management are often deemed to be more effective than national level management because of the transboundary nature of environmental problems. This article argues that the assumption that transnational management can be neatly implemented needs rethinking. In particular, it highlights the ways that complex networks of actors constitute a significant challenge to global environmental governance. This in turn raises more general questions about the effectiveness of other forms of global environmental governance centred on managing problems such as climate change, pollution or trafficking of endangered species and tropical hardwoods. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-112
Number of pages23
JournalPolitical Geography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


  • Environmental management
  • Global governance
  • Political ecology
  • Southern Africa
  • Transfrontier conservation


Dive into the research topics of 'The potential and pitfalls of global environmental governance: The politics of transfrontier conservation areas in Southern Africa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this