HIGH LEVEL DIALOGUE ON THE PERFORMANCE AND PROSPECTS OF PARTICIPATORY APPROACHES IN ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE SOCIOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AND GOVERNANCE IN SOUTHERN AND EASTERN AFRICA
THEME: Clarifying the role and enhancing the effectiveness of CBNRM in sustainable natural resource use and economic development.
This is a meeting of stakeholders in CBNRM and related sectors in the region to officially close the Regional CBNRM Programme and launch the Southern African CBNRM Forum.
Deliberate focus is on the performance of CBNRM and the opportunities this rights based, empowerment and capacity building approach which has not been adequately tested presents. This situation should be seen in the broader context of rapid urbanisation, population growth, energy demand, climate change, land grabbing, poverty and continuing environmental and cultural degradation. The meeting will therefore showcase the performance of CBNRM over the past 20 or so years, examine linkages and justification within broader multi-sector national and regional level development frameworks, share future prospects and reaffirm a shared vision for developing CBNRM in the next 20 years. This has to be seen at the strategic level beyond specific projects, short time frames, and regional characteristics but holistically as an approach to sustainable development at the higher level.
The proposed meeting will also serve as the official launch of the Southern African CBNRM Forum (SACF) which is part of the exit and sustainability strategy of the 11 year NORAD/WWF Regional CBNRM Capacity Building Programme in Southern Africa.
The Southern African CBNRM Forum (SACF) is an institution comprising the seven (07) National CBNRM Forums in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, was agreed in 2005 but has since then remained a loose network. At its Annual General Meeting of 2012, a decision to register SACF in Lusaka was endorsed. In order to meet its objective of being the institution that preserves and develops the legacy of organising and mobilising CBNRM champions across sectors and traditional silos, it requires more support to grow as an organisation which in its simplest form replicates a learning, sharing and advocacy platform at regional level by playing a communication, coordination and advocacy role.
· Vision: Community based natural resources management as an agent for sustainable development in the SADC region
· Mission: A leading and responsive regional multi stakeholder network providing a platform for advancement of CBNRM best practices in the SADC region.
· Goal: Improved livelihoods at household level through sustainable management of natural resources by local communities in the SADC region.
· Purpose: Strengthened National CBNRM Forums for effective delivery of sustainable management of natural resources (including emerging issues) and improved livelihoods in the SADC region.
SACF has four key result areas namely 1) policy and advocacy, capacity building, networking and institutional development.
One of the key lessons of the Regional CBNRM Programme is that CBNRM is accepted as an approach in mobilising effective and beneficial community empowerment but its actual implementation is much more difficult.
Additionally, it has also been learned that unless principles of devolution, community participation, community empowerment and appropriate community based organisations are in place and preferably supported by policy and legislation, CBNRM will remain much talked about but much less implemented.
The successes of CBNRM in the region are there. Various authorities have recorded the number of community institutions involved in natural resource management and receiving benefits in various forms as an incentive for their involvement. Communities have been given institutional and policy space as co-managers or managers of the resources in their vicinity following a clearly laid down procedure and fulfilling statutory conditions for acquiring management rights. Communities are involved in tourism, cultural and natural products based enterprises that are generating income at household and community level in ways that were not possible 20 years ago. The initial wildlife focus, though still dominant has diversified to include forestry, water, conservation agriculture, natural products and climate change adaptation although these stories are not told loudly enough. CBNRM is no longer a project but a set of principles and approaches.
Equally, evidence of policy inadequacies or failure, aborted devolution, limited community capacity and lack of technical support, elite capture of the benefits and continuing environmental degradation in general and wildlife depletion in particular are also not uncommon. Some authorities have even observed that despite good intentions and much effort, CBNRM has not yet restored the social, cultural and economic integrity that protectionist conservation policies and approaches deprived communities of. In many areas, CBNRM has also not convincingly delivered on its conservation and rural development promises but, this is largely due to poor implementation than the approach itself.
And yet perhaps the broadest shoulders on which CBNRM is currently standing is the increased shared vision for organised local, national and regional civil society to work with the statutory authorities and the private sector in increasing technical capacity for improving citizen political and economic empowerment in diversifying economic activities and income sources. It also includes the improvement of agricultural practices and market access as well as improving the participation of more people especially women. In this reality, communities are legitimate stakeholders and business partners rather than subjects to pacify. In this growing dispensation, communities are contributing their land and manpower to the sustainable natural resource management effort and more than ever before, relations with different stakeholders have improved. Diversified income and livelihood sources improve resilience to extreme and sudden climatic events and improve household food security. Improved participation of members through organisational development contributes to democratisation while increasing community participation in nature based primary and secondary economic activities increases the number of livelihood options including jobs that are based on sustainable use of natural resources.
These advances, however, require consolidation, justification within broader parameters and linkages, communication and more importantly to be recognised, incorporated and institutionalised in national development planning frameworks so that they are seen not to accelerate environmental degradation. It is time, as a critique put it, not to clean the past but to reach the future having adequately learned from our experiences.
The general objective of the meeting is to promote high level dialogue on the role, status and future of CBNRM as an approach guided by a set of principles, policies and practices to demonstrate CBNRM as a viable alternative or complementary land use option to agriculture alone. The meeting will also seek to promote investment in SACF. Specific objectives of the meeting are as follows:
· To launch the Southern African CBNRM Forum (SACF)
· To share lessons and experiences from the NORAD/WWF Regional CBNRM Capacity Building Programme in Southern Africa
· To profile the role and contribution of CBNRM to climate change adaptation, green economy, governance, food security, gender, NRM and citizen empowerment
· To identity policy and capacity bottle necks and solutions that will inform the CBNRM agenda in the next 20 years
· To develop a common stakeholder driven and policy enabled vision for CBNRM in the region
In order to initiate and sustain the proposed dialogue, a process of identifying issues, mobilising stakeholders and convening an appropriate gathering will be employed.
It will comprise two specific components namely a two day regional meeting in Lusaka Zambia for 50 delegates and a pre-meeting consultative process to achieve a good agenda and approach to achieve the desired result. A combination of presentations, case studies and short comments by panels will be used. The delegates and presenters will be selected to ensure a balance between people directly involved in the programme ad those who are not. This is intended to ensure adequate introspection and external constructive criticism.
A copy of the proposed attendance list is attached as appendix one
4.2 Documentation and soliciting of pre-meeting commitments
· Invitations and background information will be developed and circulated in good time
· Prior discussions will be held with key stakeholders to obtain commitments and cooperation that will inform the dialogue.
The final programme will therefore depend on the feedback from item 4.2 above.
An agenda is proposed which seeks to highlight the desired level of content and approaches to stimulate debate.
The proposed topics are intended to reflect the current and topical issues in CBNRM discourse and are arranged to inform the stakeholders on one hand and engage them in debate on the other hand. In other words, participants should be informed about the current status of CBNRM from critical reviews and be challenged to describe what kind of future direction they see from their perspective.
A copy of the proposed programme is attached as appendix two.
6. EXPECTED OUTCOMES
The expected outcomes are crucial to the main objective of the meeting. They are expected to inform the general and specific steps towards the desired future. Clarity and objectivity is required. These are:
· CBNRM approaches, principles and institutional arrangements profiled and enhanced through selected case studies
· Strategic vision for the potential and prospects of CBNRM shared with key stakeholders
· National CBNRM Forums profiled and promoted among key stakeholders
· SACF profiled and promoted as a stakeholder driven regional learning and sharing platform
· Pledges of financial and technical support announced
7. DATES OF THE MEETING
The meeting is proposed to take place in late October or early November. The earlier proposed dates of 7-9 October 2014 coincide with the CBD COP which will affect the availability of delegates.
Core funding from the 2014 Regional CBNRM Programme budget of US$35,000 allocated. Initial discussions for co-financing have been held with WWF CEAGI, RESILIM and WWF ZCO Additional discussions to be held with The Nature Conservancy and the Government of the Republic of Zambia.
A proposed budget of US$72,000 is attached as appendix three creating a deficit of approximately US$37,000. It is anticipated that up to US$20,000 will be raised from the proposed co-financing. This is expected to be confirmed before the end of August. Approximately US$22,000 still needs to be sourced.