Women, Decision Making and Sustainability: Exploring the Experience of the Badi Foundation in Rural China

By: Lori Noguchi* and Shahla Ali**

President, Badi Foundation. Dr. Lori Noguchi has twenty years of experience in China. Fluent in Mandarin and Japanese, she has expertise in developing social and economic development programs and conducting courses and training. Her areas of specialization include gender, participation, education, and curriculum/program development. 


**
Shahla Ali Assistant Professor and Deputy Director, LL.M. in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution, University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Law. Special thanks to the University of Hong Kong Research Committee for its support of this research.

Excerpt:  22 Hastings Women's L.J. 295 


Empowering women in rural communities to play a substantial role in decision-making processes is essential to sustainable development. In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development recognized that sustainable resource management requires empowering communities to make decisions affecting their own development interests. 1 Later, in 1992, the commission specified that this goal required empowering local women to participate in such decision making. 2 Subsequent international conventions, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, and the 2005 World Summit, have promoted local collaborative processes to manage and protect community resources, and have emphasized the importance of involving the women of those communities in those collaborations. While these international conventions do not have binding legal effect on nations, such instruments nevertheless constitute a powerful moral force acknowledging the pivotal role women play in sustainable development and in decision making at the grassroots level.

Such decision-making processes involve stakeholders from both the public and private sectors, who consult to arrive at shared goals regarding resource use and planning. There has been a great deal of scholarship on the requirements and parameters of participatory decision-making processes. 3 However, there is too little systematic attention paid to developing a capacity for meaningful participation in local decision making, to consultation and collaboration, or to the important roles scientific understanding and personal empowerment play in this process. This ...

 

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