Application of a framework to assess wildlife policy and its implementation in Mocambique.
Wildlife management in Moryambique has had a troubled history. The end of civil war and installment of a democratic Government provided opportunity to redefine policy and implementation of conservation. Weakened by civil strife and with wildlife decimated in many areas, Government sought approaches to conservation that would promote participation by investors and civil society, particularly rural communities. The intention is to acknowledge the rights of rural people to resources and the benefits that can accrue from their use. Partnerships are seen as a way in which Government can bring the required financial and human resources to bear whilst at the same time engendering positive attitudes to conservation in general, and to policy in particular. The purpose of this research is to examine, using two case study conservation areas, the consequences of Government's attempts to implement its policy. The philosophical basis for the research is that policy reform and implementation should be envisaged as a complex system comprising many interactions and that when this complexity is not acknowledged and addressed systemically, it predisposes the process of policy reform and implementation to failure. A principal cause of failure is considered to be that assumptions are not made explicit and this results in development and application of an approach that does not accord with reality. Further, because of the networked nature of the system, failure at one point can be magnified as its consequences are propagated through the system. A conceptual framework for policy reform and implementation is developed. This exposes some critical assumptions about Government's capacity to implement policy and the ways in which implementation is experienced by stakeholders, especially local communities. Context is provided by tracing the evolution of approaches to conservation in Moryambique from the pre-colonial era to the present. The findings are that Government does not have the capacity to implement its conservation policy and this is shown to have serious implications for how local people perceive and respond to Government approaches to conservation. Causal factors are analysed and assessed. It is concluded that the process of policy reform and implementation is complex but that a systems approach provides a simple and easily comprehended way in which this complexity can be interpreted and taken into account with potentially very significant benefits. Perceptions are shown to be a powerful determinant of response to policy reform and implementation. As these are commonly a basis for destructive tensions between parties, it is suggested that research directed at defining the principles that should underpin management of perceptions and tensions should be encouraged.