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Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) in Africa: A review

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 03:25 PM
Contributors: ARD-RAISE Consortium

SUMMARY: This compilation of case studies examines community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) experiences in Africa and analyzes the determinants of CBNRM adoption, success, and expansion. The trend toward greater CBNRM implementation is attributed to the changing nature and role of state institutions, the evolving relationship between the State and civil society, and the failure of the politically centralized approach. CBNRM is commonly not given official legal status because of lack of support from central governments and difficulties of integrating local customary rules and practices into a national legal framework. The authors suggest that the fundamental conditions for successful CBNRM include: Enabling or permissive political, legal, and institutional environment; A minimum level of social cohesion within the community; Control over resources with substantial value; Community access to technical, managerial and market information; Community access to financial resources. The review of country programs revealed the following trends at the community level: Willingness by rural communities to invest in the future at the expense of immediate benefits; A few cases of CBNRM profitability for communities and other legitimates stakeholders; Greater diversification and wider participation; Knowledge, attitudes and practices with respect to NRM are changing;Need for continued support in the areas of training, technical inputs, and financing. At the macro level, however, acceptance of community initiatives is counterbalanced by inconsistency or arbitrariness of official support for CBNRM and by the weakness of its legal foundation. The authors' review of the CBNRM experience in Africa suggests that stakeholders' perceptions of the value of resources and the potential benefits from co-management of natural resources has received little attention. Greater recognition of the value of natural resources at macro and micro levels is a fundamental condition for efficient resource management.The potential expansion of CBNRM depends on the extent and the quality of linkages between communities and other stakeholders. At the local level, the main issue is less the availability of resources to be co-managed than access by communities to the skills and information needed for shared responsibility in resource management. At the national level, successful CBNRM activities should inform and influence the environment and natural resources (ENR) policy environment. Recommendations for USAID and its partners are summarized as follows: Establish a more explicit understanding of interactions at the macro level, as a basis for country strategy and strategic objective definition; Gain a better understanding of macro - micro linkages in the ENR sector, and of approaches to resource valuation; Apply knowledge of interactions, analytical tools and information technologies to institutional obstacles; Retain flexibility within a wide portfolio of supporting activities; Seek a closer fit between strategies and programs that are necessarily limited in time and a vision consistent with the long-term nature of ENR work in Africa.

Author(s): ARD-RAISE Consortium

Publication Date: 2001

Location: Africa

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Date Created: Friday, April 3, 2015 7:18 PM

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