NRGF: Challenges and Opportunities in Eastern and Southern Africa
A Regional Scoping Synthesis of the Critical Natural Resource Governance Issues
While natural resources governance is not a new concept in the region of Eastern and Southern Africa, the NRGF seeks to heighten its applicability by providing a guide for assessing and strengthening natural resources governance at multiple levels in varied contexts. This paper on key issues for NRGF in the East and South African region is a preliminary in the process of scoping in the region. It draws on available literature (grey and published).
In reference to 12 NRGF selected principles to guide its work, the paper synthesizes seven key natural resource governance challenges within the region. These include: 1) weaknesses with Inclusive Decision-Making emanating from historical and current contexts. 2) Large Scale Land Acquisitions termed as “land grabbing” that lead to anti-people investment policies and changes in tenure frameworks that disenfranchise the majority of the population. 3) A mix of Land and Resource rights due to various reforms in the region, many of which marginalise vulnerable peoples’ access to common resources. 4) Devolution/CBNRM where the major challenge is insufficient transfer of power, competition for legitimacy for local governance, bureaucratic disincentives and inadequate local content. 5) Conservation and Equitable Benefit Sharing is faced with an enduring legacy that denies access to high value resources and is worsened by dispossession by powerful economic interests that deploy conservation narratives. 6) Locally-Driven Strategic Vision and Direction for NRM is undermined by outsider driven innovations, in addition to being increasingly market-oriented. 7) Diversity of Cultures and Knowledge of the region is insufficiently recognised, explored and supported; instead there is a greater reliance on biological science and thereby excluding a majority of the population.
The paper also presents some opportunities, which include the many existing organizations, local projects, and initiatives, which NRGF can learn from, build upon or collaborate with to further develop a relevant and applicable framework for the region.