S Ngendakumana: Bridging communities and technocrats: Guinea’s experience on forest resources governance


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Session presentation by Serge Ngendakumana, Mike Balinga, Fernand Delacour, Amara Keita, Abdon Awono

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S Ngendakumana: Bridging communities and technocrats: Guinea’s experience on forest resources governance

  1. 1. Bridging communities and  technocrats: Guinea’s experience on  forest resources governance Regional workshop on “Moving beyond Forestry laws” 04– 08 May, 2009 Hôtel Nord‐Sud, Bamako, Mali Serge Ngendakumana Mike  Balinga Fernand Delacour Amara Keita Abdon Awono 1
  2. 2. Presentation plan •Introduction •Forest governance challenges in Guinea •Understanding some key terms •Disconnect between technocrats and communities •Solutions for linking technocrats and communities  •Conclusion, critical issues and recommendations 2
  3. 3. Introduction Guinea’s Forests • Constitute one of the world’s 25 biologically richest and most endangered terrestrial ecosystems • Endangered biodiversity species include elephants, pigmy hippopotamus, and chimpanzees • They are of national, regional and global importance (International Public Goods) 3
  4. 4. Introduction • Differences between communities and forestry authorities perceptions on forest resources and their use has resulted in pressure on Guinea’s forest • Differences are found especially in the following areas: - existing laws governing forest resources - behavior - practices • Pressure on forest resources includes: - increased deforestation and loss of habitat - increased land degradation - watershed degradation and disruption of hydrological balance - decrease animal biodiversity • The recurrent question has been: How do we bridge the gap between main actors in charge of forest resource governance? 4
  5. 5. Forest Governance Challenges in Guinea • Forest governance challenges in Guinea include: (i) the non-mastery of legal texts (ii) lack of resources to implement government forestry strategies (iii) no regular policy review to fit in changing context at international level (iv) poor involvement of communities to reconcile the diverse interest of various forests resources users. 5
  6. 6. Some key terms Forest governance • Forest governance - the way or form by which forests resources and other related units in the landscape are managed and regulated by the existing policies and bodies and also the manner how dependent interest groups are governed or involved in decision making processes 6
  7. 7. Some key terms Technocrats • Technocrat : a technical expert in a managerial or  administrative position, member of a highly skilled  elite group enjoying superior intellectual or social or  economic status (Thesaurus online) • In common discussions technocrats are:   ‐ (i)Forestry staff with clear mandate and  legitimacy to ensure forest resources planning and use. ‐ (ii) Any state agent working to facilitate and catalyze effective forests conservation and  protection for sustainability ‐ (iii) Non governmental organization cadres who  are striving to contribute to natural resource 7 management in landscapes
  8. 8. Some key terms Community • Community : a group of people living in a particular  local area and under the same government having  common interests, sharing origins and participating in  the development of the district or locality in which  they live (Thesaurus) • In common discussions forest based communities: a  group with good level of decision making, with shared  values, traditional norms and governing resource use  systems with a clear special boundary 8
  9. 9. Some key terms Commonality between Technocrat and Community • Commonality ‐ having a certain management capacity  either individually or collectively, which may be  derived from acquired skills or traditional knowledge.  • Synergizing their capacities could lead to better  strategies to govern forests resources for the benefits  of forest dwellers and related ecosystems.  9
  10. 10. ACTION RESEARCH Village group  visioning/future  discussions scenarios, informal  interviews METHODOLOGY Stakeholders’ analysis Rapid  participator y diagnosis 10
  11. 11. Disconnect between communities and technocrats: real or imagined • Keys gaps observed: ‐ Weak collaboration ‐ No coherent and concerted legal frameworks ‐ Power struggle at local levels ‐ Identity tags and colored perceptions between communities and technocrats ‐ Top‐down intervention approach for forestry protection ‐ Non‐valuation of local knowledge ‐ Exclusion rights and gender bias. 11
  12. 12. Reasons for disconnect • Policy makers and technocrats considered forests  management to be a state business solely • Poor knowledge of existing forestry acts and policies by  local communities – leaving room for severe  misinterpretations to the detriment of local groups and  exclusion of forests dependent populations from forest  resources benefits. • Strong commercial forestry kind of thinking by forest staff  embedded in a kind of economic welfare ‐ maximizing  mainly timber and non timber trading for their own  interests. • Complete absence of power devolution • Frustration  of local forest users ‐ ending up in rebellious  attitudes towards forests management  12
  13. 13. Reasons for disconnect • Communities are aware of environmental benefits from  forests but militate for short term livelihoods alternatives  that technocrats failed to provide • Divergent visions with regards to forests resources uses  and control.  • “Conservationist or protectionist” approach to forest  management • Deliberate non‐consideration of local knowledge.  • Suggestions were to have a more adapted participatory  model and integrate community champions in Forests  management plans where they exist 13
  14. 14. Solutions for linking communities and technocrats • Two solutions were tested based on identified  gaps and challenges:  (i)Agroforestry based Schemes to benefit local  communities  (ii) Facilitating a stronger connection between  stakeholders through co‐management  14
  15. 15. (i)Agroforestry based Schemes to benefit local communities  • The support consisted in testing agricultural and  agroforestry options that serve as non‐cash incentives for  community : improved seed varieties, capacity building and  support for collective actions.  • Improved income of small‐holder communities living within  forests and on forest margins has proven to iron out  communities grievances against technocrats. ‐ joint efforts in tree planting for land reclamation and watershed protection and critical habitats enrichments alongside reducing pressure on forest resources in classified forests and protected areas in Guinea. ‐ through collective actions, about 300 000 assorted agroforestry and forestry species have been planted in 4 target landscapes by communities in collaboration with technocrats 15
  16. 16. Bridging through Group Dynamics and collective actions Negotiated capacity  building of  communities and technocrats joint effort to claim  both technocrats and communties degraded forest areas through collective actions 16
  17. 17. Facilitating a stronger connection between  stakeholders through co‐management Establishment of co‐management committees Instilling community openness and involvement in forest management Establishment of capacity building schemes which allows them to: ‐ assess the importance of forests for their environment and livelihoods ‐ use available knowledge in planning and implementing management strategies ‐ collaborate with other players including the state agents and cadres  (technocrats); exchange of views, ideas and strategies. ‐ enhance dialogue and interest conciliation ‐ organize and manage themselves ‐ elaborate and implement action plans ‐ monitor biodiversity indicators, design and implement projects ‐ manage finances ‐ negotiate with other stakeholders, and integrate national legislation and global biodiversity concerns into their management processes.  17
  18. 18. Conclusions After  three  years  facilitation  using  livelihoods  strengthening  platform,  we  could  note  a  real  shift  in  communities  and  technocrats’ behavior  towards ‐ collaborative forest management ‐ a  new  arena  for  dialogue  and  land  use  planning ‐ gender  sensitive  joint  efforts  in  policy  development and forests conservation.  These  have  been  sustained  by: ‐ introduced  agroforestry  base  non‐cash  reward options  to  improve  community  livelihoods ‐ negotiated  capacity  building  schemes  for  both technocrats  and  community  based organizations(CBOs) ‐ community’ enthusiasm  and  active  participation  in forests protection initiatives as per management plans.  18
  19. 19. Critical issues Finally, though the road to success in the struggle  for forest governance remains rough and long,  the following critical issues must be factored in  for such process to be successfully:  adaptation capacity and willingness of  stakeholders,  clear future scenario and appropriate options for  socio‐economic resilience,  concerted bylaws and clear contracts,  knowledge and information sharing.  19
  20. 20. Recommendations Outstanding challenges to maintain efficient collaboration and  promote sustainable use of forests products in accordance with  participatory management plans are : Enhance research activities to generate information for policy  makers and shapers,  Facilitate training schemes for technocrats and communities,  Scale out co‐management experience nationwide,  Engage public and private sectors  in forests management  through  Agroforestry especially high level technocrats,  Strategize entry points for policy review to suit current changes.  20