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Sustainable Commercialised Use of Wildlife as a Strategy for Rural Poverty Reduction: The Case of 'Campfire' in Zimbabwe

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Muchapondwa, Edwin
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Globalisation, the Ninth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Conf. Date: June 17-21, 2002
Date: 2002
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/527
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
economic development
design principles
institutional change
Abstract: "The threat that uncertainty creates incentives for accelerated rates of use of environmental resources creates the need for institutions that constrain human actions. Ultimately, economic development depends on institutions that can protect and maintain the environment's carrying capacity and resilience. Zimbabwe faces an increasing incidence of poverty with the poorest areas being wildlife-abundant rural districts where the sustainable use of the wildlife and other natural resources could greatly reduce rural poverty. CAMPFIRE is a framework to conserve wildlife and fight poverty by giving rural communities, through their rural districts councils, the authority to manage and use local resources, particularly wildlife, to derive economic benefits. Despite the significant gains that CAMPFIRE has recorded, literature indicates that the current low levels of monetary benefit and local participation, among other problems, have not been significant in alleviating poverty. With reforms, CAMPFIRE could potentially reduce rural poverty. Elinor Ostrom carried out an investigation of the institutions that characterise some of the world's long-enduring communally owned resources and concluded that there is a set of design principles that they share. Our starting point in search for reform that should be made in CAMPFIRE is an investigation of the extent to which Ostrom's design principles are satisfied. Our investigation suggests that the direction of necessary reform of CAMPFIRE would be to encourage the formation of institutions that also honour the congruence between clearly defined resource and governance boundaries; congruence between appropriation and provision rules and local conditions; collective choice arrangements; and localised monitoring, increased local communities contestations. These principles could be taught as part of extension programmes with the hope that communities themselves will set in motion mechanisms for adapting them."

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