Nature is vital – there is unlikely to be much disagreement on that point.

However, the implications of that seemingly simple statement tend to become very complex very quickly: what kind of nature are we trying to conserve? Who makes decisions about what is to be protected, and how it is to be protected? Who or what benefits? Why are some conservation approaches more preferred than others?

In July 2019, the Sheffield Institute for International Development was privileged to have several colleagues with diverse expertise on conservation visiting from Tanzania: Christine Noe from the University of Dar es Salaam as well as Thabit Jacob and Wilhelm Kiwango from the University of Dodoma.

Together with two researchers working on conservation at SIID, Dan Brockington and Judith Krauss, we recorded a conversation on conservation which is now available as a SIID podcast, reflecting on the past, present and future of conservation. We discussed big trends in conservation around what understandings of nature and conservation have been prominent, who makes decisions and how the global level affects the local level. We ended on some ideas about what we would like to see happen in conservation going forward.

We hope you enjoy the podcast!

1 Comment

Iddi Mwanyoka - 09.09.19

I think that was a very useful discussion touching upon critical natural resources in Tanzania.

The issue of militarization of conservation came up time and again. This is an issue that needs not to be overemphasized. It is increasingly becoming an order of the day. Just recently the Minister responsible for natural resources stated boldly and publicly that he could kill (shoot) on the spot any poacher he would find in the protected area. A very shocking statement indeed!

Much as wildlife conservation is an important global agenda, using force and/or killing human being in the name of protecting these resources and particularly wildlife cannot be a sustainable way to address conservation challenges. Being proactive would be a better approach as opposed to being reactive – targeting the cause factors as opposed to dealing with symptoms is what should be underscored.

Militization seem to cut across sectors.
I am currently doing my PhD research on extractive industry with a specific focus on natural gas sub-sector. Possibly many of us recalls the magnitude of force used to quash down local community members who tried to express their views on how they would participate in the gas sector following the decision to lay down gas pipeline from Madimba, Mtwara to Dar esalam – the army was used to intervene.
Memories still remain in Mtwara and especially in the areas where gas activities are intensive.

Undeniably, local communities are the stewards of these natural resources and they are supposed to benefit from the these resources by having them on board as allies as oopposed to being adversaries will clearly make difference in terms of promoting harmony culminating into sustainable management of these resources.

We have policies whose provisions in the context of local community participation are ‘mouth -watering’.
However, to a large extent what is happening on the ground is not what these policies prescribe. This is where the challenge is.

As pointed out in the discussion, industrialization is the main agenda currently in Tanzania. However, this agenda seem to downplay principles of sustainable development and laws including the Environmental Management Act of 2004. Despite having policies and laws which advocates for sustainable development, often times ESIAs are ignored by the high-profile officials in the Government. In different occasions for instance, the head of the state has been quoted giving directives which are contrary to what respective laws provide, including insisting on ‘investments first” and EIAs later. Obviously such statements could have far reaching impacts in so far as environmental conservation and management efforts are concerned.

With regards to global frameworks one good question was posed in the discussion, that fine, we have the SDGs, but who makes them? This is a pertinent question, because if we are advocating for sustainable development which entails sound management of natural resources, what the role did the resource-rich nations play in developing the SDGs? If the advocacy is on participatory models for natural resource management, how inclusive and participatory is the process of developing global frameworks guiding natural resources management. Are resource-rich nations well fitted in the equation? Can’t give an answer but I think it is an area that requires articulation if ownership of the respective global frameworks by me member countries is to be fair.


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