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The Dynamics of Governing Natural Resources in Namibia's Conservancies and Community Forests: Implications for Empowerment, Equity and Sustainability

Mbidzo, Meed (2016) The Dynamics of Governing Natural Resources in Namibia's Conservancies and Community Forests: Implications for Empowerment, Equity and Sustainability. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.57651) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:57651)

Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only until 30 September 2025.
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This thesis presents an analysis of community based natural resource management (CBNRM) policies in Namibia, focusing on institutional and organizational arrangements. The analysis is based on case studies of two CBNRM institutions: the Conservancy, a community based wildlife management programme, and the Community Forest programme. First, I introduce the policies that made provision for the formation of conservancies and community forests, and examine the differences between local institutional arrangements that have resulted from these policies. The policies and institutional arrangements of the two programmes have important differences resulting in variations in how local communities can implement, participate, benefit and use resources at the local level. Second, I examine the performance of the two programmes at the local level in terms of stated programme goals. I use the enriched version of Ostrom's Institutional and Development (IAD) framework, thereby making it suitable for policy analysis.

Results suggest that at the local level, both the conservancy and community forest programmes have not satisfactorily succeeded in achieving their intended goals. First, the two programmes have not sufficiently involved the majority of households affected by their formation in decision making. Rather, the likelihood of a household to influence decisions in conservancy and community forest meetings was observed to be related to gender, age, wealth and financial benefits from the programme. Second, while conservancies have collectively generated high revenues, equity in benefit distribution is not currently being achieved and benefits reach only a few households. Forests on the other hand have been found to be contributing more to rural livelihoods through both subsistence use and sale of forest resources by many households. Third, results also indicate that compliance with new rules introduced by conservancies and community forests is low. Specifically, results indicate that rule enforcement was not effective in all three case studies due to several reasons and that illegal harvesting and hunting was still taking place.

Finally, based on the findings of this study, I recommend broad courses of action to the challenges encountered by common-pool resource institutions such as conservancies and community for effective governance of the resources. It is recommended that conservation programmes seek to better understand the communities they work with to ensure effective participation of all affected members. The issue of equity in benefit distribution needs to be clearly addressed in laws and operational plans to ensure the benefit of the poor segments of communities. In order for conservancies and community forests to work as development strategies and not only conservation strategies, there have to be mechanisms to enhance the amount of benefits and the distribution to a larger number of households. Lastly, there exist the need to strengthen existing rule monitoring and enforcement systems to ensure sustainable use of natural resources. In order to realize their goals, institutional arrangements in conservancies and community forests need to be re-designed on a site by site basis to reflect the varied socio-economic, cultural and institutional settings of local communities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.57651
Uncontrolled keywords: Common-pool-resources Institutions Namibia CBNRM Benefit-sharing Governance Participation Rules
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2016 15:00 UTC
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 07:05 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Mbidzo, Meed.

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