CBNRM is dead’: state intervention in community based natural resource management in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Authors: Emmanuel Mogende*,
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Natural Resources
Keywords: state, Ian Khama, CBNRM, wildlife, Botswana, hunting ban, land bank
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Delaware A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The shift from government to governance signifies the hollowing-out of the state in the context of resource governance. This process resulted in the devolution of power to local structures, mainly through community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). Decentralization has however been hindered by state dominance in environmental policy processes that have led to the reorganisation of CBNRM. This raises questions about the role of the state in community-based conservation. I use wildlife governance in Botswana to explore the ways in which local communities experience state environmental intervention and the factors that enable state intervention in CBNRM under the presidency of Lt. General Ian Khama. The analysis of this paper is based on a series of key informant interviews carried out in Botswana from April to August 2018. I argue that the Presidential decisions to allocate resource royalties in a national conservation fund, to suspend hunting, to establish the tourism land bank, and the moratorium on the issuing of tourism licenses highlight the strong hand of the state in managing and controlling wildlife. These decisions and the attendant shifting of authority have not only reduced local autonomy over wildlife but have also opened new avenues for private sector dominance in the wildlife sector. This study demonstrates that resource governance is a mirror image of the character of the state.

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