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The Infrastructure-Extractives-Resource Governance Complex in the Pan-Amazon: Roll Backs and Contestations


Denise Humphreys Bebbington ,

Clark University USA, US
About Denise

Denise Humphreys Bebbington <> is Research Associate Professor in the Department of International Development, Community and Environment at Clark University, where she was also Director of the Women and Gender Studies program (2012-2017). Previously she was Latin American Coordinator for Global Greengrants Fund and Peru Country Representative for the Inter-American Foundation. Her recent publications include “Resource Extraction and infrastructure threaten forest cover and community rights” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018, with A.Bebbington, L.Sauls and eight others) and Governing Extractive Industries: Politics, Histories, Ideas (OUP, 2018, with A.Bebbington, A-G. Abdulai, M.Hinfelaar and C.Sanborn).

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Ricardo Verdum,

Museu Nacional in the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro Brazil, BR
About Ricardo

Ricardo Verdum <> holds a PhD in the Social Anthropology of Latin America and the Caribbean from the University of Brasília and is currently attached to the Postgraduate Programme of the Museu Nacional in the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. His areas of academic interest and action include: the anthropology of statehood and public policies; development; indigenismo; rights and the self-determination of indigenous peoples; territorial management and environmental governance; and memory and forgetfulness. He is a member of the Committee on Indigenous Affairs (CAI) of the Brazilian Association of Anthropology (ABA). His recent publications include: Desenvolvimento, Utopias e Indigenismo Latino-Americano: um estudo sobre indigenismo e cooperação internacional (ABA, 2018), and Povos Indígenas, Meio Ambiente e Políticas Públicas: uma visão a partir do orçamento indigenista federal (E-papers, 2017).

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Cesar Gamboa,

Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales Peru, PE
About Cesar

César Leonidas Gamboa Balbín <> is Executive Director of Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales DAR (Peru). A lawyer, he is also a Doctor in Law and Political Science from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM) with further studies in human rights and constitutional law at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar de Quito, the Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales de Madrid and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He teaches at both the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM) and the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. He is a member of the Governing Council of the national forestry authority, SERFOR, the Consultative Commission of the Ministry of Environment, and the international boards of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the Bank Information Center and the Fondo Casa, Brazil.

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Anthony J. Bebbington

University of Melbourne, Clark University, AU
About Anthony

Anthony J. Bebbington <> is Australia Laureate Fellow in the School of Geography, University of Melbourne, and Higgins Professor of Environment and Society at Clark University. He is Professorial Fellow in the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester, Research Associate of Rimisp-Latin American Centre for Rural Development, a Director of Oxfam America, and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Books include: Governing Extractive Industries: Politics, Histories, Ideas (OUP, 2018 with A-G. Abdulai, D. Humphreys Bebbington, M. Hinfelaar and C. Sanborn), Subterranean Struggles: New Dynamics of Mining, Oil and Gas in Latin America (University of Texas Press, 2013, ed. with J. Bury) and Social Conflict, Economic Development and Extractive Industries: Evidence from Latin America (Routledge, 2012, ed.).

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Large-scale access and energy infrastructure projects, together with expanding investments in natural resource extraction, pose significant challenges to biodiversity conservation, forest cover, and the defence of forest peoples’ rights and livelihoods across the wider Amazon region. Following a period in which safeguards and forest dwellers’ territorial rights were strengthened under more permissive political opportunity structures, the current period has been characterized by efforts to weaken these protections and to facilitate large-scale private investment in previously protected lands. We describe these investment-based threats to forests and rights, and the nature of regulatory rollbacks in the region. We then discuss some of the ways in which social movement actors have responded to these pressures and the extent to which they have affected the policies driving these pressures on forests and rights. While in prior decades movements were able to exercise mediated influence on policy, at present the channels open to them are mostly indirect, though opportunities for collaboration between movements organizations and rights-defending government agencies do emerge periodically offering channels for mediated influence.


Resumen: El complejo de gobernanza de recursos, infraestructura e industrias extractivas en el Pan-Amazonas: retrocesos y respuestas

Los proyectos de infraestructura energética y de acceso a gran escala, junto con la expansión de las inversiones en la extracción de recursos naturales, plantean desafíos importantes para la conservación de la biodiversidad, la cubierta forestal y la defensa de los derechos y los medios de vida de los pueblos de los bosques en toda la región amazónica. Tras un período en el que las salvaguardas y los derechos territoriales de los habitantes de los bosques se fortalecieron bajo estructuras de oportunidad política más permisivas, el período actual se ha caracterizado por los esfuerzos para debilitar estas protecciones y facilitar la inversión privada a gran escala en tierras previamente protegidas. Describimos estas amenazas a los bosques y derechos basadas en la inversión, y la naturaleza de los retrocesos regulatorios en la región. Luego, analizamos algunas de las formas en que los actores de diferentes movimientos sociales han respondido a estas presiones y en qué medida han afectado las políticas que impulsan estas presiones sobre los bosques y los derechos. Si bien en décadas anteriores los movimientos pudieron ejercer una influencia mediada en la política, en la actualidad los canales abiertos a ellos son en su mayoría indirectos, aunque las oportunidades para la colaboración entre organizaciones de movimientos y agencias gubernamentales que defienden los derechos surgen periódicamente ofreciendo canales para la influencia mediada.

How to Cite: Humphreys Bebbington, D., Verdum, R., Gamboa, C., & Bebbington, A. J. (2018). The Infrastructure-Extractives-Resource Governance Complex in the Pan-Amazon: Roll Backs and Contestations. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, (106), 189–214. DOI:
Published on 18 Dec 2018.
Peer Reviewed


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