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This initiative aimed to enable emerging farmer organisations to reach their full fair trade potential by providing the necessary institutional and capacity support while coordinating necessary implementation structures to ensure sustainability; Developing communities’ sense of entrepreneurship, through the establishment of community-based projects for income diversification and generation; Addressing social and economic impacts of HIV/Aids on their communities. The project was implemented in Limpopo and Mpumalanga. ResourceAfrica has built strong relationships with constituent local communities and other partners in these provinces.
This project aimed to identify, introduce, adapt and report on mobile phones and their integration with other Information and Communication Technologies (such as mobile phones) in support of conservation and sustainable development in Southern Africa. The project aimed to bridge business and biodiversity by enabling corporations, government bodies and civil society to work together for direct conservation gains. The project also aimed at achieving indirect conservation benefits through improved access to technological and other resources in rural areas, and engagement with ecotourism initiatives.
CODEOSUB is the acronym for “Conservation and Development Opportunities from the Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity in the Communal Lands of Southern Africa”. This project was focused on promoting Community-based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) projects within southern Africa and building the capacity of communities and NGOs who are involved. The project targets eight southern African countries that have ratified the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Of interest is the implementation of the CBD work programme for the arid and semi arid ecosystem thematic area using tools such as the Biodiversity Strategies and Actions Plans (BSAPs), the National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS) and CBNRM.
This project was funded by the Ford Foundation and is exploring the concept of payments for environmental services as a tool, model, concept and/or lens through which issues of empowerment, equity, access and benefit-sharing for communities who interact with, affect and are affected by the environment, can be better addressed in the African region.
With funding from IUCN the European Commission, ResourceAfrica, IUCN, TRAFFIC and FFI has run a two three year programme to provide guidance on best practise for application of the Precautionary Principle in conservation and natural resource management. Precaution – the “precautionary principle” or “precautionary approach” – is a response to uncertainty, in the face of risks to health or the environment. Precaution is now an established principle of environmental governance, prominent in law, policy and management instruments at international, regional and domestic levels. However, the meaning and application of precaution is highly contested. Controversy has surrounded the perceived ambiguity or impracticality of the precautionary principle, the potential for its operation to conflict with development, trade or economic priorities, cost implications of its adoption, the wide discretionary leeway it allows decision makers, and the potential for this leeway to allow imposition of particular environmental values or disguise trade-protectionist abuse.
Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a plant found prmiarily in semi-arid areas of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. Its tubers contain active ingredients with anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects and it can be used in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism. There has been a growing trade to Europe in recent years particularly from Namibia. The harvesters of Devil’s Claw are amongst the most marginalized and impoverished people in southern Africa. A significant proportion of them are San and typically they receive very low prices for the tubers. ResourceAfrica has worked with local partners in the region to discover more about both the socio-economic aspects of the trade in Devil’s Claw and its impact on the conservation status of the plant.
ResourceAfrica worked on a project with IUCN, TRAFFIC International and FFI to examine the context in which the regulation of the international trade in wildlife takes place. Global trade in all goods has expanded enormously and trade liberalisation – both globally and regionally – has become the order of the day. The understanding of the causes of biodiversity loss, and the place of international trade in that process, has improved. New concepts, such as the precautionary principle, have been popularised. There is a greater appreciation of the importance of equity and governance issues in conservation. Yet it is not clear that regulators and enforcement agencies have caught up with these changes. While some trade measures are becoming more flexible and sophisticated, many regulations fail to achieve their ultimate goal of promoting wildlife conservation. Too often this failure is simply put down to insufficient enforcement and no further questions are asked. This project brought together regulators, enforcement agencies, trade specialists and conservationists to reassess existing models of regulation and enforcement, and to identify new directions. It has resulted in a major publication: The Trade in Wildlife: Regulation for Conservation.
ResourceAfrica was awarded a grant from the UK government’s Darwin Initiative to support the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Nigeria. Afi Mountain is situated within the rainforest block in the border region of southeast Nigeria and southwest Cameroon, which is one of Africa’s biodiversity “hotspots”. Because of its mountainous, rugged terrain, much of Afi Mountain has never been logged and farming is limited. Thus the mountain’s vegetation has survived relatively intact compared to much of the surrounding lowland forest areas, however, the Sanctuary is in tension with surrounding villages who need access to natural resources. This project was developed in conjunction with FFI, one of ResourceAfrica’s partners as the first step towards long-term conservation solutions, which take into account local needs. [if !supportLists] [endif]Support to Campfire Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources in Zimbabwe: From 1993 until 1997 ResourceAfrica supported the Campfire Association with the management of an information and communications strategy. This work included the production and dissemination of information, a range of monitoring activities as well as advocacy work in the USA and Europe.
ResourceAfrica has, for several years, been helping to raise awareness amongst NGOs and CBOs in southern Africa on the way that international policy and regulation affect their development programmes as well as building capacity amongst communities directly to influence these issues. This has involved both training and extensive networking in the region including gaining access to expert resource persons.
From 1998 until 2001, ResourceAfrica managed a project mobilising rural community groups in five of South Africa’s nine provinces, providing technical and capacity-building services to help in the establishment of natural resource-related projects. This also served as a platform for dialogue between communities and Government structures with regards to CBNRM policy and related issues. In this project ResourceAfrica supported the development of forums for communication, consultation, capacity building and planning, providing a channel of communication between Government and communities.
Between 1998 and 2001, ResourceAfrica ran Project SECURE, a three year EC-funded campaign in Europe to raise awareness of, and support for, programmes of community-based conservation and development in Africa. This was a joint project with the Zimbabwe Trust, WWF-Germany and Suedwind, Austria. European attitudes and policy directly and indirectly influence the markets for wild products which drive many community-based programmes.
ResourceAfrica ran a unique regional initiative that drew upon theatrical and other artistic traditions from within African communities to enhance communication within and between communities at both national and regional levels. This COP project was designed to compliment and promote conservation and community development initiatives throughout southern Africa. ResourceAfrica’s COP team worked principally in the Limpopo and North West Provinces dealing with issues identified by the communities, including problem animals and land tenure. ResourceAfrica then assisted in the identification of performers for the creation of an ongoing ‘commercial’ theatre group. The COP team also participated in an inter-country exchange that involved Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland.
Through ResourceAfrica‘s experience in CBNRM across Southern Africa, a platform was created to facilitate a study tour in South Africa for Nigerian Policy Makers who at that time were involved in the development of a the Nigerian National Environmental Management Policy and other resources management related policy instruments in Nigeria. ResourceAfrica facilitated meetings and dialogue sessions between the Nigerian Delegation and key government role-players and communities involved in CBNRM related activities.
Focusing almost exclusively on CBNRM and arranged by ResourceAfrica on behalf of the IUCN Sustainable Use Initiative, the 2nd Symposium on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources in Africa was held in Ouagadougou from July 24 to July 27 2000. Over 125 delegates from 23 countries spanning all regions of the continent (including North Africa and Madagascar) contributed to the symposium. Participants were from universities, NGOs, CBOs and government agencies. Responsibility for convening the symposium fell to a Steering Committee made up of the chairs of the four African Regional SUSGs, as mandated by the 1st Pan African Symposium (a fifth chair was added with the formation of the North African SUSG), as well as representatives of ResourceAfrica and SUI. ResourceAfrica not only organised the meeting and its content, but also mobilised South African attendees, including community representatives, to participate.
ResourceAfrica was responsible for facilitating the participation of rural community representatives at several CITES Conference of Parties. Community representatives in the SADC region also came from Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe and their participation was facilitated through the Southern African Forum for Communities and NGOs (SAFCAN), an informal structure representing the rights of African communities to benefit from the sustainable use of natural resources. This forum was a pillar of support to Government delegations at the Conference in terms of providing strategic lobbying support. The participation of SADC community members at this conference provided a platform from which the lessons learnt and insights gained at the local level were able to influence international policy, which would directly affect rural livelihoods.
ResourceAfrica has worked closely with the Directorate for Indigenous Forests in DWAF to develop a project of support to communities, which are, or wish to be involved in the management of South Africa’s indigenous forests. The Government of South Africa has recognised the important contribution that indigenous forest areas make to rural livelihoods and is now moving to involve rural communities through a policy of embracing ‘Participatory Forest Management’ (PFM). PFM is seen as a vital contribution to rural development and poverty alleviation and seeks to address issues such as:
Providing rights to access forest resources and benefits thereof by rural people;
Addressing past imbalances through corrective action in both equity and gender;
Improving relationships between different forest stakeholders;
Improving communities’ sense of ownership over resource use decision-making;
Improved sustainability for forest management.
ResourceAfrica has been involved in South Africa’s FTT initiative since its inception. After a number of consultative meetings ResourceAfrica was part of a FTT conference aimed at inter alia, exchanging information and ideas between the local pilot networks and other relevant role -players in tourism, engaging in collective learning experiences, initiating the implementation phase of the FTT, identifying key elements for the development of a policy framework for the national structure of FTT, developing a marketing and support strategy, and mandating an interim task team to prepare a proposal.
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