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Buzzing Too Far? The Ideological Echo of the Global Governance Agenda on Community Based Forest Management Initiatives: A Case of Mafungautsi Forest in Zimbabwe

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Büscher, Bram; Mutimukuru, Tendayi
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: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1738
Sector: Forestry
Global Commons
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
forest management--case studies
community forestry
forest policy
foreign aid
governance and politics
Abstract: "This paper focuses on how the neo-liberal global governance agenda echoes through into local level Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) practices in Zimbabwe. The ideologically charged concepts, or buzzwords that make up the global governance agenda, such as empowerment of the poor, community participation, good governance and the like, are alleged to subtly carve out managerial and governmental directions for a broad variety of processes, including that of the management and governance of natural resources. It is not yet clear, however, how far this influence goes and how to characterise the effects of specific global conceptual frameworks on local processes. In this paper we investigate the specific link between the global governance concepts and local forest management in Zimbabwe and see whether there is a relation and how it can be characterised. The research reported here is based on a case study approach in the Mafungautsi state forest in Zimbabwe, where a joint management pilot project was set up in 1994 by the Zimbabwe Forest Commission, in order to generate lessons for the scaling up of such initiatives to other state forests in the country. The way this forest is managed thus has direct impact on the way other forests in Zimbabwe will be managed in future. It is therefore crucial to critically analyse the (ideological) premises the forest management is based on. The preliminary results of research presented here will first focus on analysis of the theoretical and ideological roots of the concepts comprising the global governance agenda. Secondly, we will compare these with the historical and present ideological premises of policy and governance documents for forest resources in Zimbabwe and specifically the Mafungautsi Joint Management Pilot Project. The paper shows that CBFM needs to be offloaded of the discursive burden it carries, in order for communities to truly benefit from the resources they depend on."

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