Decentralisation and community based natural resource management in Tanzania : the case of local governance and community based conservation in districts around Selous Game Reserve.
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The dissertation presents the results of a study of the role of decentralisation and community participation in natural resource management in Tanzania. It analyses whether the shift of central government power to decentralised government units and the participation of local communities at village level result in more effective and more sustainable management of natural resources, wildlife in particular. The study uses Songea District and the Selous Conservation Programme south of Tanzania as a case study. As the examination of the origins and meaning of community-based natural resource management and decentralisation and the analysis of international experiences show, both approaches have been adapted in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The government of Tanzania, with the support of a wide range of donors, is implementing an ambitious Local Government Reform Programme. The Selous Conservation Programme, jointly administered by the Tanzania Wildlife Division and GTZ, is promoting community-based conservation in villages bordering the Selous Game Reserve. The new Wildlife Policy, 1998, aims at the country-wide implementation of community-based conservation. Linkages between local government reform and improved environmental management are weak from insitutional, legal and technical points of view. On the other hand, the country has a policy environment that is highly supportive to decentralised environmental management and there is potential for improvement at both local and national levels. Songea District Council has defined the sustainable management of natural resources and the environment as one of its development priorities. Concerning the implementation of the Local Government Reform Programme, the district faces some problems and difficulties. Lack of human capacity and insufficient financial resources constrain the decentralisation process. Until now, up to about 50 villages bordering the game reserve have established their Wildlife Management Areas utilising their hunting quota. Due to insufficient and overdue legislation, the communities cannot fully make use and benefit from their wildlife resource. If remained uncorrected in the near future, the sustainability of community-based conservation programmes is threatened.