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'Big Can Be Beautiful': Ensuring Regional Transboundary Conservation Supports Local Community Resource Management in the Proposed Okavango/Upper Zambezi TFCA, Southern Africa

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Murphy, Carol; Suich, Helen; Slater-Jones, Sandra; Diggle, Richard
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Conf. Date: August 9-13
Date: 2004
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/2367
Sector: Forestry
Wildlife
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
conservation--case studies
resource management
community participation
boundaries
transboundary resources
NGOs
wildlife
parks
Abstract: "There is global recognition that political boundaries can hinder conservation objectives, particularly in areas where wildlife is highly migratory, as these boundaries often split river basins, watersheds and other ecosystems between countries, as well as dividing human populations. Transboundary conservation initiatives are being heralded as an opportunity to promote biodiversity conservation, bring local socio- economic development and facilitate peace and co-operation. In southern Africa, potential transboundary conservation areas are being given increasing support from a wide range of stakeholders including governments, non government organisations and donors. The Okavango/Upper Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (OUZTFCA) is one such area that encompasses parts of five countries (Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and is of global conservation significance as being, amongst other things, the home to the largest remaining concentration of free-ranging elephants. "However, risks associated with the present practice of transboundary conservation include top-down approaches aimed at securing wildlife habitat, lack of co-ordination of activities, and a negotiation scale that is mainly government-to-government or regional. These risks can prohibit meaningful and lasting local community participation. The challenge to successful transboundary conservation is to ensure that successful local conservation initiatives play a key role. "By reflecting on the development of two Namibian community conservation areas on the Chobe Floodplain within the OUZTFCA, the paper documents the way a field-based NGO has used the opportunity to shape the delivery of transboundary conservation interventions to suit the needs of existing local community based natural resource management. Activities to achieve this included: focusing international, transboundary funding at a community-scale and ensuring strong local participation in wildlife management and tourism planning. By doing this, the risks associated with international resource management and planning will hopefully be minimised, and a stable foundation on which to build future transboundary activities will be built, to ensure that big really is beautiful."

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