Boundary-making in Conservancies: The Namibian Experience

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Community-based  natural  resource  management  (CBNRM)  programmes have spread rapidly in rural areas  of the developing world as part of inte-grated  conservation  and  economic development strategies  (Blaikie 2006; Brockington, Duffy, and Igoe 2008). These programmes take many forms but, in general, have been extensively criticised in the development literatures for failing to improve the well-being of rural residents living in or near national parks and  protected areas (Büscher  and Arsel  2012;  Büscher et  al. 2012; Dressler and Büscher 2008; Dressler and Roth 2011; Igoe and Brockington, 2007;  Schilcher  2007).  Namibia,  the  case  examined  in  this  chapter,  is generally  considered to  have  one  of the  more  progressive   approaches for involving local residents in natural resource management, enabling them to derive both  monetary and  non-monetary benefits  from their  participation in these efforts (Sullivan 2003; Suich 2010; Boudreaux and Nelson 2011). Since 1996, Namibian residents of communal  lands have had the right to establish  communal  conservancies - legally  established  CBNRM  zones. Once a conservancy is recognised by the government, local residents receive conditional rights to prot from wildlife and tourism in exchange for managing natural resources in  a  manner consistent with Namibian  conservation law and reporting  on  conservation outcomes  (e.g.  regular  wildlife  counts and monitoring of poaching) to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) (MET 1995; Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource  Management Support Organisations (NACSO) (NACSO 2009).

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