The African CSOs Biodiversity Alliance (ACBA) hosted a webinar on “How community based natural resource management (CBNRM) can deliver Inclusive, fair and equitable Conservation for People and Nature” on the 12th of March 2021.
The webinar aimed to help build a consensus position on how CBNRM can deliver on multiple elements of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) such as ecosystem-based adaptation and other effective conservation measures (OECMs).
In the run up to the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and in recognition of the 2050 Vision of “Living in harmony with nature”, it is crucial to have an increased understanding on the linkages and complexities of natural resources management in rural areas, particularly on sustainable use and how it contributes to mitigating some of the biodiversity threats.
Simangele Msweli, senior manager of the youth leadership program at the Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF) opened the webinar by stating that, “For conservation efforts to be successful, they need to serve both the needs of species, seascapes and landscapes, as well as the needs of the people, especially those that live near or within the high biodiversity seascapes and landscapes. Community Based Natural Resource management (CBNRM) is not just about exploiting resources but about managing them.”
“Namibia epitomizes all the foundational principles of CBNRM. In Namibia we are talking of fully devolved rights with the law, giving communities the right to receive 100% of income from hunting and tourism and its management”, said Dr. Shylock Muyengwa from Resource Africa. Reflecting on CBRNM initiatives in Southern Africa, Dr Shylock also noted that CBRNM has grown to more than just communities working on the ground, but also to a movement of communities advocating for equity at a regional and global level.
David Obura from CORDIO East Africa touched on marine ecosystems, stating that CBNRM is not restricted to terrestrial systems but also aquatic systems. He continued by elaborating CBNRM impacts on coastal and marine fisheries on communities in East Africa. Some of the impacts that David mentioned were thatCBRNM has led to improved fishery, tourism income and coral reefs management in Kuruwitu co-management area, noting that the process of empowerment has built social and economic assets improving community resilience.
Prof Mamadau Goita from the Institute for the Research and Promotion of Alternatives in Development stressed on the need for cohesion between local government and national policies, reflecting on various case studies from West Africa, he added that strong governance, capacity building and decentralized management is very instrumental for CBNRM to succeed.
In his intervention, Jose Monterio from the Mozambique CBRNM Network, pointed out that for CBRNM to work, project facilitators need to understand the aspirations of communities before imposing their ideas. And that there is need to provide necessary tools for successful implementation of the project.
In her concluding remarks as moderator of the webinar, Simangele Msweli noted that there was consensus that CBNRM delivers for both people and nature and that it is effective in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. All speakers agree that in order for CBRNM initiatives to be successful, there need to be an allowing policy environment, effective local governance structures, training and capacity building of community members, decentralization of power, collection and management of data and context specific benefit-sharing mechanisms. It was noted that CBRNM does have challenges but the benefits outweighs the costs and hence a need to invest in addressing those challenges.
The recording of the full webinar can be.