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Communities and Government Jointly Managing Wildlife in Namibia: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a Monitoring and Communication Tool

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Tagg, Jo; Holme, Dorte; Kooiman, Andre
Conference: Voices from the Commons, the Sixth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Berkeley, CA
Conf. Date: June 5-8, 1996
Date: 1996
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1807
Sector: Wildlife
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
resource management
Abstract: "The aim of the Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Program in Namibia is to restore a form of communal control and management of resources such as wildlife to local people and to enable them to benefit directly from the use of the resources. CBNRM empowers local people to become active participants in a democratic process, rather than remaining side-lined as passive observers. The CBNRM Program in Namibia involves a partnership between communities, the Government (primarily the Ministry of Environment and Tourism) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The program is implemented in the most marginal and poorest areas of Namibia, the communal areas (e.g.: former homelands). "Participatory mapping has been initiated as a component of the CBNRM program to achieve the following objectives: To establish a picture of local areas that is acceptable, and understandable, to both the local community and central government. This picture can then be used as a basis of communication regarding: boundaries; rights of use and ownership; location of resources; management practices; and zonation models; To use this communication tool to jointly plan for the use of local areas; To use this communication tool to assist in the joint monitoring of the resources over time and space. "The methodological approach combines participatory rural appraisal with geomatics. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a systematically designed and spatially indexed approach for managing data. GIS presents a useful tool for storing, analyzing and displaying data which is collected by all partners. The gathering of data and output (e.g.: maps) represents a 'leveling of the playing field' as all phenomena, both in time and space, mean the same to all parties. GIS technologies allow for temporal analysis of data and thus can be a useful monitoring tool critical to the successful management of common property resources. Both communities and governments are able to articulate information that is important to them, including an area's natural resources and land uses, as well as social relations between individuals, groups, and resources."

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