Improving the effectiveness of legal arrangements to protect biodiversity: Australia and Brazil

Marcia Dieguez Leuzinger, Solange Solange Teles da Silva, Paul Martin


Brazil and Australia are both mega-diverse countries that are currently suffering from a severe and serious loss of biodiversity. Whilst there are significant differences between the two natural resource governance systems, there are several common challenges that each jurisdiction faces in their attempt to protect biodiversity. This paper examines the effectiveness of biodiversity protection in Brazil and Australia by considering the legal mechanisms that are in place to implement their international commitments to biodiversity protection, empirical evidence of the effectiveness of these, and the causes of insufficient performance, and prescriptions for reform and improved implementation. Invasive species management in Australia and the protection of rainforests in Brazil are used as examples of natural resource issues where improved governance systems are required for more effective biodiversity protection. To improve the effectiveness of environmental laws, the authors suggest that more emphasis must be placed on the overall system of governance, including the meta-governance issues of transparency and integrity. The paper concludes by drawing attention to the similarities in the challenges faced by both countries in terms of institutional arrangements, economic and political pressures for farming expansion, behavioral effectiveness of biodiversity protection laws, political commitment and social justice issues.

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