What happens when global institutions try to assist community conservation in some of the world’s least industrialised areas? Among the ‘cutting edge’ projects grant-aided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF, a World Bank-hosted fund for ‘global environmental benefits’) are ‘CAMPFIRE’ - the Communal Areas Management Programme For Indigenous Resources - in Zimbabwe, and ‘India Ecodevelopment’. Both are intended to combine protection of biodiverse wildlife with participatory rural development for impoverished local communities. We explore the ‘ground truths’ of these projects in their historical and political contexts. We ask whether aspiring managers of ‘global resources’ can sufficiently transcend ongoing tensions in ‘local political ecology’, while diverse value systems and experiences remain distant to aid professionals. We conclude with thoughts about the ‘sustainable development’ of foreign missions old and new.
This paper centres on community conservation and development projects assisted by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in India and Zimbabwe. Hosted by the World Bank, the GEF is an innovative multilateral aid fund to channel ‘incremental’ finance for ‘global environmental benefits’, i.e. to pay the extra costs of making aid projects compatible with treaties on climate change and biodiversity, ‘thereby… contributing to sustainable development’ (GEF, 1994).
This formal language is spoken in global institutions and at international fora: far away from most of the people and places invoked in the World Bank’s publications. To implement global values in local situations, environmental professionals might be expected to bridge this geographical, cultural and socio-economic gap. Yet civil servants, academics and NGOs are unelected groups taking public money for projects and consultancy. Is this elite international community able to bring global governance and grassroots realities together both fairly and effectively?
Even before Blaikie and Brookfield introduced the field to a wider audience, studies of interventions in ‘political ecology’ at the local level were relatively common. However, much less emphasis has been laid on the ‘multi-scale’ nature of ecological issues (Bryant, 1998), linking local situations with global interests and disputes (Murphree, 1998). This paper aims to expose some of the chasm between the hopeful rhetoric on participation, transparency and accountability extolled in GEF documents (www.gefweb.org)
and the messy realities observed on the ground and documented in less politically constrained literature (e.g. Peet and Watts, 1996).
The projects explored here are intended to support the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): conservation, sustainable use and equity. They also constitute ambitious departures for the World Bank, itself regularly subject to attack for pursuing environmentally and socially destructive priorities (Rich, 1994, Chossudovsky, 1999). Moving away from the traditional model of conservation as something that happens inside high fences, excluding people and governed only by centralised bureaucracies, GEF project documents invoke something like the ‘opened up’, equitable approach of the ‘new conservation’, described by Adams and Hulme (1998) and set out for UK aid in a report entitled ‘Whose Eden’ (1996). While operating in differing ways, these projects both aim to combine decentralised rural development with community participation in the management of globally valued natural resources. Yet echoing Neumann (1995) in the context of Tanzania, these links are shaped - often unbalanced - by differing access to power and resources, also the ethnicity and geographical position of the peoples involved.
Even the process of writing this paper shows up some of the differences. Two students at the University of Hull’s Department of Geography originally drafted this paper: a British PhD student, Zoe Young, examined ‘India Ecodevelopment’ in Nagarhole, South India, and a Zimbabwean Masters student, George Makoni, looked at ‘CAMPFIRE’ (Communal Areas Management Programme For Indigenous Resources) in Binga, Zimbabwe, while Dr Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, Reader in Geography at Hull, inspired, guided and edited the whole. For a while, all three moved in the same space, constituting part of an academic community in the UK. But whereas Zoe retains access to word processing, the internet and top international libraries to complete the paper, George has not been heard from since he returned to Zimbabwe in late 1998. Letters and re-edited drafts of the sections he wrote, sent to the address he left, are never seen again. Telephone calls do not reach him, and since leaving Hull, he is not on e-mail.
So if the paper is incomplete or biased, should we blame communication difficulties to and from Africa and the very different situation to which George presumably returned, or should we blame a British woman for trying to use her advantages and mould a draft African perspective into something coherent with her own thinking and publishable in a Western academic journal? Or maybe attributing blame is less useful than simply noting the uneven dynamics of this particular international endeavour, and if they find echo in the GEF’s far bigger and more impactful work.
This paper starts by tying our case study locales into the ‘global system’. A brief history of India and Zimbabwe reveals both as former British colonies now under majority rule, but still featuring unsustainable developments, ‘fortress’ style conservation (Hulme and Murphree, 1999) and injustices with ethnic aspects. Both countries are also functioning to some extent in client mode thanks to World Trade Organisation (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank policies to promote transnational investment, privatisation and indebtedness. In this framework, principles of conservation and justice have rarely been prioritised by governments North or South, so academics and activists around the world increasingly stress that the ‘last must be first’, not least in official assistance for development and environment (Chambers, 1993). This first section ends with a closer look at the World Bank and GEF: international agencies now invoking such critics’ principles as they raise and channel public money into multilateral aid. After the case studies in section 2, we compare the missions and impacts of global interventions on the ground. Community access to benefits: global, environmental or otherwise, seem to be shaped by history, socio-cultural endowments and affinity to both nature and its various managers. In conclusion, we consider questions of culture, livelihood and loyalty in the practice of ‘sustainable development’.
2. Tribal Colonialism
Our case studies are set in countries once colonised by the British; ruling groups in Zimbabwe and India still speak English. Despite struggles to be rid of the remnants of colonialism, official efforts to alleviate rural poverty, and now also environmental impoverishment, have been largely ‘from above’ (Bratton, 1989) and resisted by established interests in the field. Arguably, the plight of the poor and the environment in these countries may be traced to elite communities’ sustenance of colonial structures of government, which do not provide for all the promised fruits of political independence (SAPEM, 1997). It may be more than superficiality to say that like in Britain, some tribes, classes and/or cultures still dominate. In Zimbabwe it is now mostly the Shona and Ndebele, in India, the ‘upper’ Hindu castes who hold sway. In all three countries however, governing elites are supported by growing tribes of professionals: salaried or consultant, non-governmental (NGO) or civil servant, they support the systems that provide their own ‘sustainable livelihoods’.
Taking a (simplified) step back into the history of Britain, centuries of clearances and inclosure of the commons created a ‘capitalist surplus’ of capital and labour. Invested in new technologies – especially military and marine - this facilitated the spread around the globe of a small island elite and its styles of business and government (Grove, 1995, Lindqvist, 1996). Across India and Africa, dispossessed peoples were driven to work for invading European managers, cutting forests to construct ships for further conquest (Chomsky, 1993). Others served as guides to the ‘great white hunters’ seeking trophy kills from what they saw as ‘wilderness’ inhabited only by ‘savages’ (Hulme and Adams, 1999). With massive exploitation and growth in some areas, countless woods, communities, wildlife and indigenous peoples were decimated. Meanwhile missionaries and educators – early non-governmental organisations (NGOs) - did their bit to ‘save’ alienated peoples, often easing colonisers’ consciences while propagating their values. Mediating the arrival of a commercially oriented culture in the lands of uncertain or unwilling peoples, many formed the ‘advance guard’ for further professional enclosure.
Initially the liberal British justification for dispossession abroad was to ‘civilise’ savages. As worries over inefficient natural resource use gained currency amongst colonial elites, intervention was also to spread the benefits of Western science (Grove, 1995). The ‘green revolution’ of the last century promised to end poverty through better seeds, and around the world, diverse lands and communities were subjected to ‘scientific’ management (Lipton and Longhurst, 1989). Complex natural and agricultural ecosystems were replaced by monocultures of fast growing, often introduced species (Sachs, 1994). Usually only richer farmers had the capital needed to take advantage of new methods and raise yields. Their market success left subsistence farmers and minority tribes sidelined, along with biodiversity and traditionally sustainable practices, to marginal land - or none at all (Lipton and Longhurst, 1989).
Pre-colonial Zimbabwe, like most of village Africa, was organised primarily through kinship and tribal institutions (Morris, 1995). Common property regimes dominated as productive resources were used by courtesy of the gods - held in trust by the chief or other delegated authority. By contrast, the advent of white settlers in Africa brought expropriation of the best land for private ownership (Ranger, 1985). The colonial administration pushed Africans into regions infested with mosquito and tsetse fly, with poor soils and arid conditions - gradually entrenching unequal access to environmental resources between the settler community and the majority African population.
After independence in 1980 brought majority rule, land reform promised by the rebels hardly took place on an equitable basis. Many of the victims of colonial dispossession, poorly represented in government, now illegally squat in their ancestral domains. Around three quarters of Zimbabwean peasants have been living and farming on about forty per cent of the land, known as ‘communal areas’, where they lacked legal status (legal title is vested in the president), could not choose how to manage or dispose of the land, and could be evicted at any time (Murombedzi, 1999). Meanwhile commercial farmers, professional hunters, tour operators and timber concessionaires have access to environmental resources, holding either title deeds, or a state permit or licence (Zimbabwe Environmental Law Reform, 1998:03). Private farmers, many of whom are white, have long resisted land reform. Land grabs of white owned farms have resulted, with some official sanction, since the majority of people in communal areas remain dependent on ‘state owned’ environmental resources for livelihood (Gore et al., 1992, Moyo et al., 1991). They have had little or no opportunity to provide goods or services to the growing ‘wildlife industry’ (Murombedzi, 1999): one of the country’s top sources of foreign exchange. The creation post-independence of democratic structures at the ‘ward’ and ‘village’ level may or may not be tilting this balance.
In a country where around 14 per cent of the world’s human population now live on 2 per cent of its land, people have always lived in forests (interviews, Narain, David, 1998). Even if colonialism left proportionally fewer white settlers in India than in Zimbabwe, land rights issues remain a major issue in India – not least due to the Hindu caste system. Before the British came, Aryan cultures invading from the north had driven Dravidian tribes alongside wildlife into the least accessible parts of India. They fled to preserve their way of life and because indigenous people (adivasi, literally ‘original dwellers’) who were integrated into the Hindu system became dalits, or ‘untouchables’, landless labourers out the bottom of society.
When the British subdued the local kings they took over their feudal power structures, and as they plundered India’s natural forests, ‘lower’ castes and adivasi were usually the ones to lose their livelihood and do the donkeywork. After independence, the massive Ministry of Environment and Forests was hardly reformed, and continued many of the British policies. The national government of India promoted the growth of food as well as teak in forests, and roads, dams and other ‘temples of development’ (Nehru) - many assisted by the World Bank - put further pressure on nature; not least in the still semi-feudal state of Karnataka. The end of direct rule in 1947 saw the creation of democratic village councils called panchayats in the 1950s, and some states like nearby Kerala were able to implement land reform. In general however, the legacies of caste politics and the Raj were not solvable overnight – nor even, it seems, over half a century.
2.3 National Parks and Conservation
While resistance to colonialism in India and Zimbabwe may have brought something like democracy, it did not prevent the US-dominated World Bank and IMF taking over aspects of British hegemony after WW2. Both Indian and Zimbabwean governments have recently been ‘liberalising’, ‘opening up’ their economies to foreign investment as encouraged by international financial institutions: a process widely known in India as ‘recolonisation’. With enclosure and exploitation of natural resources the prime source of wealth for both local and global investors, biological diversity has broadly been degraded and reduced to isolated pockets as more and more people are pressed into new relations with their physical environments. In the absence of effective democratic control over the shape of international development, scientists and others ‘thinking globally’ about ‘natural resource management’ are now engaged to limit the ecological impacts.
For the most part, 20th century conservation meant selected areas of wilderness being fenced: preserved from encroaching industrial production by people who invoked the scientific, aesthetic and/or long term economic value of nature over the immediacy of profit. In the century since the US army drove the indigenous Crow people from Yellowstone, this national park became a model for colonial administrations around the world (Pimbert and Pretty, 1995). With big environmental management initiatives still usually funded from abroad, people like ‘authoritarian biologists’ and allied technocrats have claimed monopoly on the wisdom to manage nature in the South (Guha, 1997, Mehta, 2001).
Both for administrative convenience and to avoid political difficulties with ethnicity, land rights etc., most scientists and park managers still tend to work apart from ‘the people’ - including developers and policy makers (Adams, 1996) as well as the humans already living among this ‘wilderness’ - especially if their ways were different. Professional time spent keeping people out of parks while building diversity indices and geographical information systems meant less time observing the impacts on both human and animal communities of cutting across established territories, altering ecologies and damaging livelihoods (Pimbert and Pretty, 1995:14) by criminalising traditional cultures alongside destructive developments as threats to the ‘animal totems’ of ‘western wilderness lovers’ (Guha, 1997).
Even top-class and committed experts have therefore neglected complex local-global connections, with an ‘ignorance or cultural myopia' that leaves them blind to the root causes of biodiversity loss and relevant techniques for conservation. While indigenous and other local communities are not always the best and only stewards of nature, Pimbert and Pretty (1995:3) are not alone in stressing that “it is when local people are excluded that degradation is more likely to occur." Meanwhile, people evicted from their homes, newly unemployed and/or landless, have little option but to join the destructive developments continuing unhindered outside park gates. As Neumann (1995, 1998) notes, many people turn against parks when the ‘conservation’ they might otherwise support turns out to involve state violence, often linked with repression of minorities and liberation movements.
2.4 Conservation in India
As industrial development spread in post-independence India, habitat loss and poaching hit wildlife numbers hard. The 1972 Wildlife Protection Act banned not only hunting but also habitation and any productive activities from National Parks. ‘Project Tiger’ was set up in the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) to implement this law, with the presumption that “because people were not needed in protected areas, therefore they needed to be removed” (interview, Narain, 1999). By 1993 over 20 per cent of India’s adivasi had been displaced with their homelands turned into parks; and many more were expected to be shifted (Pimbert and Pretty, 1995) though there are no clear figures. In theory, land and cultural rights are to be respected and ‘rehabilitation’ carried out when applying wildlife laws, but with implementation done mostly by ‘upper’ caste landowning officials, tens if not hundreds of millions of dalits and adivasi denied access to what was once communal land have ended up in India’s massive slums.
At Nagarhole in Karnataka, some dispossessed adivasi had been rehoused, but in rows of airless matchbox houses next to the main road through the park and without access to their traditional sources of livelihood. Most of the 6-8,000 who remain near their forest shrines and burial sites are driven to work as coolies (wage labourers) for the Forest Department (FD) and for encroaching planters of teak, coffee and tobacco (which is dried burning forest wood..). Highly insecure, forbidden to cultivate, gather food or keep animals, even those adivasi who want to live as ‘flexible’ labourers find few lasting and dignified – let alone well-paid - jobs in an alien culture – except as guides to timber and wildlife smugglers (interviews: Sreekanth, Karanth, Subramani, Sen, 1998, Somayamma, Kenchaiah 1999). Meanwhile, even those forestry officials who refuse bribes from poachers seem to lack the skills and numbers to defeat commercial hunters and planters.
2.5 Conservation in Zimbabwe
As in India, the dominant political class have tried to use a 'command-and-control' approach to protect the environment in rural Zimbabwe. Both pre- and post-independence natural resources management policies have ignored indigenous people's conservation practices (Bradley and Dewees, 1993, Cavendish, 1996), and with the state putting a clear line between environment and development, policy hardly took an integrated approach to meeting the needs of the poor.
Top-down environment laws include the Natural Resources Act, Forest Act, Trapping of Animals (Control) Act and the Parks and Wildlife Act, most of which survived intact twenty years after independence. These laws criminalise certain categories of peasant farmers’ access to natural resources alongside more destructive practices (Bradley and Dewees, 1993:115), so that subsistence hunting remains 'poaching' (as the British called it); and grazing or settlement is called 'encroachment' into wildlife areas (Bradley and Dewees, 1993:115).
Altogether, Zimbabwe has twenty-five game reserves and national parks - about fifteen percent of the country was designated as wildlife sanctuaries by the British (interview, Musendo, 1998). In the process of creating national parks, many tribal communities were simply removed, without consent or fair compensation. This bred resentment and defiant intrusions by communities determined to hunt, graze livestock, gather wood or cultivate in protected forests (Bradley and Dewees, 1993). Confrontation in some areas has been persistent (Nhira and Fortman, 1993:141): in 1989, a hundred hectares of the mature Nyangui Forest in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe was set on fire after it was fenced against local grazing by authorities who then kept livestock there themselves (Nhira and Fortman, 1993).
Despite punitive legislation, both Zimbabwean and Indian governments and agencies have lacked financial and technical capacity to maintain an effective presence in the countryside. The new aid agenda of integrated conservation and development now aims to reverse this trend, moving away from fortress conservation and encouraging environmental justice, involving local people in protecting wildlife and avoiding involuntary resettlement and alienation (Hulme and Adams, 1999). But if it is possible for ‘globally valuable’ biologically diverse areas to be both productive and populous (Pimbert and Pretty, 1995:6), how are interactions to be managed between the values of these diverse local communities and of the global green administrators channeling aid to ‘community’ conservation?
2.6 Development Aid
Many vocal supporters of the new conservation agenda for aid are to be found in international agencies. Largely due to Western NGOs’ pressure on donor governments, their policies have shifted in the last 50 years through a range of narratives from ‘global capital stability’ through ‘basic needs’ and ‘entitlements’ to the latest goals of ‘poverty reduction’ and ‘sustainable development’ (Fairhead and Leach, 1998). Now they know that their aid must seek to ‘save the planet’ as well as the poor.
Events like UNCED (the Rio ‘Earth Summit’ in 1992) showed that ‘international development’ is still supported politically by the public in donor countries, who urge their governments to help those considered less fortunate and increase the common good (Lumsdaine, 1993, Thomas, 1994, Browne, 1999). But who decides what defines that common good, and how to implement the promise of Rio? Examining ‘global development’ from an anthropological perspective reveals that professional representations generally require intervention, ‘usually by the party doing the depicting,’ (Hobart, 1993). In addition, the shape of that intervention often reflects a shared belief that:
Redistribution alone is unsustainable, both economically and socially. The only strategy is economically efficient growth that increases the per capita income of the poor. However policies that help the poor but impose costs on the non-poor encounter resistance....[so] to avoid resistance by the non-poor, poverty alleviation policies have to impose the least burden on them. (Mathur, 1995)
Insofar as this perspective on development policy avoids political debate over the shape and direction of growth - let alone its ecological sustainability - it was this conservative message that was reemphasized by governments at UNCED in 1992. ‘Sustainable development’ meant that the world could be preserved and the poor assisted, with more economic growth and more efficient resource managerialism in ‘partnership’ with transnational capital (Thomas, 1994, Pimbert and Pretty, 1995).
2.7 Economic Growth as Development
Conservative aid professionals, especially economists working in partnership with banks and corporations, build models of development around satisfaction derived from the consumption of food, clothing, housing and experiences obtained with money through ‘the market’. This assumes that public goods can and should be achieved through buying other peoples’ co-operation with professionally identified, economically measured ‘global’ goods. But what if people to be ‘developed’ prefer non-monetary value systems, favouring community, autonomy, dignity, environment, spirituality and/or secure if modest living outside global markets and ‘the world of books and computers’ (interview, Subramani, 1998)?
With the closed culture of economics treating the value of peoples’ labour and natural resources as mere figures on a graph of growth in ‘satisfaction’ of material needs,
‘political ecological conflicts are thus as much struggles over meaning as they are battles over material practices’ (Bryant, 1998).
When any community finds its values overrun by the practices of a more powerful people, it can be as difficult for them to defend their own meanings as it has been to defend their land. Yet universal
human rights requirements … insist on freedom for people to articulate their needs and interests, to state what development means for them, and to carry it out by and for themselves… (Tomaševski, 1993).
The chasm between these principles and the totalising analysis of enclosing ‘capitalism as development’ seems wide indeed. Can that gap be bridged with projects assisted by an international financial institution dedicated to both development and ‘global environmental benefits’, especially if it measures any common good in money terms?
2.8 The World Bank
Just before UNCED, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) was created inside the World Bank. This Bank is not like others: it has shaped the global discourse on development since the end of the Second World War (Rich, 1994, George, 1994, Chossudovsky, 1999). Its backers and debtors are governments, and conditionality for loans is both normative and very broad, ensuring development in the former colonies takes an economic form approved by donors. World Bank loans have traditionally been for vast infrastructure projects, mostly built by and for transnational firms. In the wake of the 1980s international debt crisis, the Bank and its sister Bretton Woods institution the IMF have together imposed Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) on debtor governments. They promote privatisation and exports, thus opening new areas to foreign investment and generating foreign currency with which to repay creditors in the Western banks (Bello, 1994). Yet despite relaunch in the late 1980s ‘with a human face’ and more recently with a new name and added debt reduction, structural adjustment remains widely opposed in the South as not only unjust (since South to North resource flows dwarf those going the other way) but failing in its avowed goal of ‘economic development’ that ‘reduces poverty’ (Walton and Seddon, 1994, Chossudovsky, 1999, VANI, 1992).
While some people in the World Bank are making serious efforts to reduce indebtedness and change the shape of development projects (Wade, 1997), the Bretton Woods institutions remain subject to growing global protests. They are seen as agents of the new enclosures, loansharks indebting and co-opting Southern elites to re-colonise by the backdoor (Midnight Notes, 1993, Ecologist, 1992). This is partly because ‘economic’ decisions taken by the boards of the World Bank and IMF legally take priority over ‘political’ decisions taken by UN agencies (the former were established earlier: at Bretton Woods in 1944). The UN (legalised in 1947) produced the international declaration on human rights and the multilateral environmental conventions on biodiversity and climate change which supposedly ‘guide’ the World Bank-hosted GEF as their ‘financial mechanism’.
Though the boards of the IMF, WTO and World Bank are made up of government representatives, they lack real accountability to most citizens - either of the donor countries underwriting their work, or of the Southern countries impacted. So when this new institution was created in the Bretton Woods fold to deal with the costing and creation of global environmental goods, the reception was mixed.
2.9 the Global Environment Facility
The Global Environment Facility was created primarily to finance implementation of the environmental conventions signed at the Rio Earth Summit, which it does by aiding plans and projects in Southern and former communist states. A few European governments created the GEF as a window for World Bank finance just in time for UNCED, and GEF was promised US $1.8 billion to head off more radical G77 demands for a broader UN-led ‘green fund’. To pacify the inevitable critics, the GEF was restructured after the summit to be more open and democratic, co-implemented by the UN environment and development programs (UNEP and UNDP) and with partnerships in the non-governmental sectors. Legally, financially and administratively however the GEF remains a part of the World Bank.
GEF provides grant funding to ‘green’ development projects in countries eligible for UNDP technical assistance that have ratified the relevant multilateral environmental convention. The Instrument for the Establishment of the Restructured GEF (1994) limits additional finance to the ‘agreed incremental costs’ of creating ‘global environmental benefits’ – concepts that require detailed calculations and negotiations between governments and GEF’s governing council, secretariat and implementing agencies. Projects fall in four focal areas: biodiversity, climate change, ozone depletion and international waters, also land degradation ‘as it relates’ to the focal areas. In the process GEF is supposed to function both efficiently and accountably (Sjöberg, 1996, Boehmer-Christiansen and Young, 1998).
GEF’s unprecedented openness to ‘civil society’ reflects its origins. Governments created it partly in response to NGO demands for financial commitments to the ‘global environment’ at Rio. GEF’s survival, and the jobs of its staff, depend on funding from donor governments, and if the pressure groups are not impressed with GEF, governments may not fund it. And how better to ensure NGO support than to offer them access – to project funding, and/or the chance to ‘have a say’ in GEF processes? As noted by Neumann (1998), it is now ‘de rigeur’ to emphasise participation and community development in conservation projects. But the question remains – who really participates, especially when aid is all about big money?
Diverse partnerships are being built as people in financial and conservation bodies learn to negotiate globally in the language of environmental economics. At the same time many experiment locally with the ‘new conservation’ (Hulme and Adams, 1999), proclaiming the value of popular participation in ‘process’ projects (Uphoff, 1990) emergent from poor people’s needs. But given the situation sketched above, how do projects for the global environment pan out on the ground?
3. Case Study I : India Ecodevelopment
Zoe Young visited New Delhi, Bangalore and the Nagarhole area in March/April 1998 and again in April 1999, spending around a week in each location on each visit. Interviewees included T Balachandra and Krishna Gowda: Assistant Conservators of Forests at Nagarhole; Dr. Ullas Karanth: noted Bangalore biologist representing the Wildlife Conservation Society of New York; PK Sen: Director of Project Tiger who manages the Ecodevelopment funds in the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) of the Government of India; Shekhar Singh: Ecodevelopment project designer, Indian Institute of Public Administration in Delhi; Roy David, Jinna and Ramakrishna: Coorg Organisation for Rural Development (CORD) in Karnataka; Sreekanth: allied local NGO for Development Education (DEED); Sunita Narain and Neena Singh: Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi; Kusum Karnik: independent activist; Ramesh and KT Suresh: Equations in Bangalore, promoting sustainable tourism; Sidamma and other landless women living outside Nagarhole National Park boundary, and Kenchaiah, Somayamma, Shanthi, Babu, JK Subramani, Timappa, Eshoda and other adivasi people of the Nagarhole forest.
Zoe went into the park to research and film both legally, on tours of the project with forest department officials, illegally with CORD activists critical of Ecodevelopment, and independently with a translator, Samuel Jesupathan from Bangalore. She visited in the dry season, when the Ecodevelopment project was still young. She had planned to visit other project sites, notably Periyar in nearby Kerala where she had heard that Ecodevelopment was going well, but the difficulty of understanding just the situation in Nagarhole in the time available suggested that other short visits might be counter-productive.
3.1 Conservation and Development at Nagarhole
Some of the adivasi (indigenous people, literally ‘original dwellers’) of Nagarhole national Park attended the GEF’s Participants’ Assembly in New Delhi to demand that the GEF, World Bank and Government of India (GoI) cancel the Ecodevelopment project. Through translators, Kenchaiah and Babu told Zoe how for countless generations their Jenu Kuruba (honey gatherer) and other tribes lived on the eastern edge of the Western Ghats, among forested hills in Karnataka near the border with Kerala. Their traditional culture now survives mostly near such state borders, where fiefdoms fragment. Living among forest, swamps and scrub in settlements made of earth, straw and bamboo broken by elephants, they have gardened, hunted small animals and gathered fruits and roots, honey and soap nut to use or trade. Most Jenu Kuruba still wish to live in, from and for the forest. Many speak of a trinity making up their world: people, forests, wildlife. (Karanth et al, 1998).
Around the 643 sq. km of Nagarhole National Park live landless labourers and smallholders, Tibetan refugees, and plantation owners scattered between small towns like Kutta and Hunsur where the Karnataka state Forest Department (FD) keeps offices. With land under pressure after displacement of people and wildlife for a dam and reservoir in the Kabini river, FD officials and their allies in environmental NGOs have tried to preserve by isolation inside the park elephants, spotted and mouse deer, wild boar, gaur, four-horned antelope, giant squirrel, slender loris, sambar, bison, dhole, sloth bear, panthers and, among countless other species, up to 60 tigers.
Besides Jenu Kuruba, local tribes include the Yereva, Betta Kuruba (Hill Gatherers), Hakki-Pikki (Bird-Trappers) and some Odigas. All were largely ignored when their ancestral lands were designated a national park in 1974. Renamed Rajiv Gandhi National Park in 1994, it forms part of the Nilgiri biosphere reserve - along with the Wynad National Park across the Kabini river in Kerala, and two nearby Sanctuaries: Brahmagiri and Bandipur. When Nagarhole was designated, adivasi without legal title lost the land where lived and their ancestors were buried - with no compensation.
Locals resent being dispossessed of ever more ancestral forest by people they see as outsiders. This resentment often bubbles up in mostly non-violent protests, but also riots when forest guards killed a local ‘poacher’. Meanwhile deforestation continues apace; for example in Hunsur around 25 sawmills operate with almost no legal source of timber (interview, Karanth, 1998).The tobacco curing industry, which burns huge amounts of wood, is expanding. Lamenting this, many Jenu Kuruba agree that forests - and the wildlife they still respect greatly - are under threat from the pressure of people. Yet they complain that park managers are rent-seekers and friends of the timber smugglers, building roads where the forest-dwellers’ footprints had been light (interview, Subramani, Shanthi, 1998, Kenchaiah, Somayamma, 1999).
Officials in turn blame adivasi for fires and poaching from the forest (interviews: Balachandra, 1998 and 1999), though Zoe met none with the desire, tools or transport for large-scale logging and hunting - nor the money needed to bribe loads through checkpoints. Adivasi find that their accounts of outsiders using ‘conservation roads’ to poach from the park are rarely believed by scientists and officials convinced that adivasi are drunken and uneducated. Expressed through a primarily oral culture, it seems their forest-based value system is not treated equally ‘in the world of books and computers’ where decisions about forest management are made. As alleged in that world to justify adivasi dispossession, some Kuruba do over-exploit resources or help hunters for money (interviews, Karanth, 1998, Balachandra 1999); but others have starved to death once deprived of a living – begging being ‘alien to their ways’ (People’s Plan, 1997). In Karnataka’ state government, many officials find adivasi to be soft targets: racially different and often illiterate, they are more easily criminalised than the powerful in their dependence on the forest (interviews, Subramani, Ramakrishna, 1998).
Some of those charged with implementing the Wildlife Act claim adivasi are uncivilized, breeding too much, with ‘no culture’ that would suffer from the loss of a forest environment, in need of ‘rehabilitation’, even ‘these people do not feel; we make them feel’. While they are a community on the edge and across the world there are wage-labourers who turn to drink, the Kuruba who Zoe visited at Nagarhole were sociable, cultured, clean and respectful; she saw one settlement choose - consensually - not to procure alcohol for a forthcoming festival. In frustration with officialdom they have initiated their own system of ‘restricted areas’ in their settlements (interview, Kenchaiah, 1999, Deccan Herald, 26.12.1998). They told Zoe that FD men care little for the forest because for them it is just a job, while for the adivasi it is life (interview, Subramani, 1998). Given this mutual misunderstanding and the ongoing threat to wildlife from outside pressures, a new conservation strategy is clearly needed.
3.2 The Project, Design and Management
Ecodevelopment is a ‘simple philosophy’ (interview, Shekhar Singh, 1998) that emerged in India during the early 1980s. Some conservation managers had found that providing rural people with alternative sources of fuel and income kept them from exploiting the resources of national parks (Dang, 1991). The Government of India (GoI) soon experimented with ecodevelopment as a national strategy, raising World Bank finance for two initial projects, and more when GEF money came on-line in the early 1990s (interview, Shekhar Singh, 1999). The GoI then invited the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) to draw up a project plan, supported by UNDP but using Indian rather than the GEF’s usual international consultants. The design was completed in 1996 after two years of preparation and consultations with Indian NGOs including industry bodies, resettlement professionals MYRADA, WWF-India, FD officials and World Bank wildlife and rural development experts (interview, Shekhar Singh, 1999).
While Bank biodiversity people were initially wary of getting mixed up with rural development (and vice versa), they soon realised the project’s potential to improve the Bank’s image in India after the Narmada debacle (interviews, Sen, 1995, Neena Singh, 1998). Originally Ecodevelopment was to cost US $12 million, but the World Bank multiplied its contribution by five, such was the prospect for getting rid of money in an initiative described as ‘cutting edge’ (Robin Broadfield to the GEF-NGO consultation, New Delhi, 1998).
The GEF now assists the US $68 million project with $20 million to be spent between 1997 and 2002 on protected area management and village ecodevelopment around 7 national parks across India, mostly tiger reserves. Besides GEF’s US $20 million, the total project costs consist of US $20m drawn from national coffers in local currency and in kind, and US $28 million from an IDA loan for a ‘program of targeted interventions’ in village development. The ‘human beneficiaries’ are intended to be the ‘tribal peoples and forest fringe villagers, [who] belong to the poorest sections of society’ (World Bank Staff Appraisal Report). Five main headings for Ecodevelopment finance appear in this Report:
a) Improved protected area planning and management ‘through strengthened capacity to conserve biodiversity and increased opportunities for local participation in protected area management activities and decisions’: US $13,911,700. Procurement under this label includes guards and anti-poaching camps, watch towers, elephant ditches and solar powered electric fences, metalled roads, jeeps and weapons against armed poachers; also incorporating protected area management concerns into regional planning and regulation.
b) Village ecodevelopment ‘to reduce the negative impacts of local people on protected areas, reduce the negative impacts of protected areas on local people and increase collaboration of local people in conservation efforts’: US $33,835,500. Procurement of goods identified through participatory rural appraisal (PRA) includes animals, wells and village halls; also bio-gas plants for cooking to replace fuel wood from the forests.
c) Environmental education, visitor management, impact monitoring, research systems: US $3,588,500. Procurement includes expertise, computer systems, visitor centres and local environmental education, also upgrading official guest-houses inside the parks.
d) Overall project management: @ US $5,276,800. This backs up the operational finances of the MOEF, providing project workshops etc. for officials.
e) Preparation of future biodiversity projects including biodiversity information, ex-situ conservation: US $2,332,600. This includes studies on the impact of present strategies, and options for future voluntary resettlement.
f) reimbursement of pre-project finance and contingency costs: US $6,939,800.
A major and unprecedented component of the project was that about 60 per cent of the money remained unallocated, for priorities to be identified through ‘micro-planning’ during the project period. This included ‘confidence building measures’ for villagers living around the park, many of whom are distrustful of the Forest Department. The local resettlement NGO MYRADA and took on some of the tasks for the FD, as did WWF-India.
3.3 Local Views of the Project
Zoe was shown around the Nagarhole park in a jeep funded from the project on roads soon to be resurfaced, and told of night viewers, motor boats and guns (to fight poachers) as well as office refurbishments (‘all mirrors and everything’) promised from Ecodevelopment funds. Representatives of the FD had been to participatory rural appraisal workshops and were proud of their new role in ‘uplifting’ local people (interview, Balachandra, 1998). Micro-plans were underway in villages outside the park, where Zoe was introduced to people apparently delighted with their pump wells, bio-gas plants, goats, sewing machines and community centres. A guesthouse inside the 192 sq. km ‘core zone’ of the park (off bounds for locals but served by ‘tourist trails’), was to be expanded and refurbished, and a ‘3-D educational centre’ developed in the ‘tourist zone’. Elephant proof trenches with solar-powered electric fencing had been constructed along park boundaries (officially, but not always, on request).
Meanwhile FD officials retain the power to ‘supercede’ a village Ecodevelopment committee, and local farmers report that they will abandon Ecodevelopment in any village where the committee shows too much independence – for example choosing to fund irrigation schemes rather than for example the cooking stoves for which some officials’ business friends want to overcharge the project. Out of earshot of the men and officials, some landless dalit women said their village committee was dominated by powerful people, and that with the forest is off limits, with no irrigation and nowhere to graze, plants and goats (bought with ecodevelopment credit at often pumped up prices) soon died. Sreekanth claimed that village halls were built around shrines to Ram: favoured god of the governing rightwing Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (interview, 1999). Finally, and most damning from the Jenu Kuruba point of view, ‘participation’ in protected area management was not available for people still living in the park (‘real forest guards’, according to one local farmer, as opposed to the ‘fake forest guards’ of the FD). At least 6,000 adivasi - many already evicted from deeper forest - were not therefore consulted, even about the type of house and settlement to which they would be ‘voluntarily’ resettled on newly cleared forest land outside the park. In solidarity, existing Kuruba settlements outside the park refused to participate with the project.
Like Nagarhole forest officials, some environmentalists in India were delighted with so much money entering their field, since ‘ecodevelopment needs massive amounts of capital to be meaningful’ (Dang, 1991). Others questioned the project’s wider impacts: particularly bringing venal interests and market forces into new areas, shifting forest dwellers into a mode of life to which they are ill-suited, but also, in light of the armed take-over by Bodo rebels of Manas tiger reserve in Assam, Northeast India (Saberwal, 1997), the further militarisation of highly contested park areas. Meanwhile activists from Wildlife First! and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS, supported by Bronx Zoo, New York) complain that the project neglects the rights of animals to benefit from fortress style preservation techniques that have proven effective to date. Feeling that ‘wildlife last’ NGOs like the Coorg Organisation for Rural Development (CORD) get too much foreign attention already, they bemoan the use of ‘trendy’ rhetoric to disguise more rural development aid of a kind that has so far failed the worst off, and support a group called Living Inspiration for Tribals (LIFT) which tries to persuade adivasi to leave the forest and enter mainstream society.
Some of the loudest critics of Ecodevelopment (e.g. CSE in New Delhi, Bittu Sahgal of Sanctuary magazine in Bombay, CORD and Wildlife First! in Karnataka) do not support this agenda, but agree that the project fails to tackle wider policies affecting wildlife, and takes little account the needs of scientific conservation (interview, Karanth, 1998, Sahgal, 1998.) Very little scientific research was conducted into the interactions between local people and this particular environment, and almost no scientific monitoring of impacts of ecodevelopment and especially resettlement was promised in the project. The other criticism they share with the ‘wildlifers’ is that a sudden influx of massive funds into areas that remain wildlife rich largely because most locals have not been part of a money economy is bound to increase destructive pressures on both society and ecology.
3.4 Local Alternatives
The adivasi of Nagarhole appear to have been poorly served by the local governing Panchayat. Adivasi organisations like the Budakattujanara Hakusthapana Samithi, through which younger leaders have recently begun to present their case to the outside world in their own terms, were not consulted when the project was proposed. Before the project started, two substantive World Bank consultations in Bangalore (most of a day away by bus), reportedly took no note of adivasi concerns. Their support groups received an apology after the World Bank falsely claimed to have consulted them, but still neither the Bank nor the FD have recognised the alternative ‘Peoples’ Plan’ for management of the park area with practical help from the locals, rather than financial help from the World Bank.
Setting out Nagarhole’s history and prospects from the adivasi point of view, the Peoples’ Plan advocates rural development in the native culture combined with conservation focused less on money than on realising local socio-ecological sustainability. Besides basic healthcare and education, it proposes removing roads and concrete buildings from the vicinity of the park, and for adivasi themselves to host visitors (scientific or otherwise) willing to stay in traditional settlements and walk through the woods to see the wildlife. Thus enabled to benefit and learn from respectful outsiders, locals would educate them in return, and form a filter or ‘social fence’ around the forest. With help from experienced elders of both cultures, individuals would then be able to choose whether to face towards a traditional life or towards the towns and markets. However, demands for no more aid projects (hence no large-scale taxable revenue) – probably mean the the Peoples’ Plan will always lack official support.
Building hostility to the World Bank project led in 1998 to a visit by three adivasi activists to the GEF Assembly in New Delhi, where passionate public debate ‘ventilated the issue’ (Hutton Archer, GEF secretariat) but made no impact on the project’s backers. Instead objectors were told by one member of World Bank staff that it was “frankly ridiculous to say that the project was not working” at that early stage, and by another that they were only protesting because they weren’t getting any of the money. Yet when JK Subramani of Nagarhole filed a request for inspection of the Ecodevelopment project at Nagarhole with the World Bank’s Independent Inspection Panel, the visiting team ‘found merit in the complaints’. The Panel stated that amongst other violations, GEF guidelines on participation were breached, indigenous people had no choice about whether to remain in the park and no separate indigenous peoples’ development plan was prepared (as required by World Bank Operational Directive 4.30).
Yet as the chairman of the Inspection Panel admitted ‘our reports are necessarily controversial; no country wants to be investigated’ (interview, MacNeill, 1999). Despite a six month deadline for Bank management’s response to the Panel’s findings being long past, the World Bank’s governing Board did not approve a full inspection, and the project continued apace amidst acrimony and agitations. In September 1999 the leaders of CORD and other activist groups were jailed - ostensibly for their opposition to the project - then bailed after protests and hunger-strikes. Meanwhile WWF-India and MYRADA have co-operated with the project, promoting its success, and adivasi support groups have filed another complaint to the Inspection Panel, whose chairman is clearly sympathetic to their plight.
3.5 Who is being Ecodeveloped?
World Bank professionals argue that if both social and environmental NGOs object, the project must be ‘about right’. The project designer, who ‘gave this line’ to harassed Bank staff, stressed that while limited and imperfect, the project is at least trying hard to be participatory (interview, Shekhar Singh, 1998). It is ‘a self-correcting rocket’ and ‘a start, better made now than later’, necessary to change ‘hard-core bureaucracy’. He also suggested that for the next phase, the most critical NGOs should be invited into the project process. Critics thus brought ‘inside’ can be used both to improve projects and to defuse opposition (Young, 1999). Perhaps the only people truly happy with the project are those with access to it: besides a few ‘high’ caste and mostly landowning villagers outside the park, these are mostly people in administering agencies – who are not listed as ‘beneficiaries’ in project documents.
4. Case Study II : CAMPFIRE in Zimbabwe
George Makoni originates from Zimbabwe. During a masters degree at the University of Hull, UK he visited the country for 4 weeks in April 1998, conducting a number of interviews, e.g. with Mr. Musendo of MMET, on the 9th of April 1998, and Calvin Nhira of the Centre for Applied Social Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe. He also collected press cuttings, reports and other materials from local institutions and media Much of the research was based on the use of secondary materials in Harare and Hull.
This case study is set in Zimbabwe, which lacks the extreme social stratification found in the Indian caste system. Zimbabwe is however similarly home to impoverished peoples and rare mammals, as well as a settler community many of whom make their living from safari and hunting operations. Therefore Zimbabwe is another arena where GEF and foreign funded NGOs seek to shape finance for development and environmental protection.
4.1 The Case of Binga
In Binga, north-west Zimbabwe near the border with Zambia, ancestors of the Tonga people once lived primarily by fishing and cultivation on the banks of the Zambezi River. In the 1950s, the colonial establishment forcibly displaced them to make way for a lake behind the massive World Bank-funded hydroelectric dam at Kariba Gorge (see map). The Tonga were thus deprived of their traditional fertile riverine land, livelihoods and security, and communities were divided (Bond, 2000, Tremmel, 1994:05). The Tonga remain one of the poorest and most marginalised groups in communal areas 25 kilometres or more from the lake where, in 1992, they formed the majority of the total population of nearly 90,000. (Lessing, 1992, CSO, 1992). In 1998, a 'promise' that electricity and the waters of the Zambezi would ‘follow’ them had not materialised, and immigrants from the dominant Shone and Ndebele tribes were being encouraged to settle and farm in Binga.
Binga district is close to several wildlife sanctuaries, and endowed with abundant wildlife as well as the tourist facilities of new Lake Kariba. These are run by privileged immigrants who own the new shoreline, and benefit from the water-sport and eco-tourist potential. The Tonga are mainly employed in menial jobs, gill-net fishing or selling crafts and curios. It seems that when displaced, they were denied lakeside land for more appropriate resettlement because it had already been earmarked for the government and powerful people (Tremmel, 1994). Most of Zimbabwe's wildlife sanctuaries and forest reserves are surrounded by such rural communities that lack tenure rights or legal access to environmental resources. As in India, nature is over-used by a few (SAPEM, November 1991:48) while many honest people suffer deprivation. The need for a new, more co-operative approach to resource management is clear.
4.2 The Project: Goals and Management
Before 1975, farmers in Zimbabwe were prohibited from profiting from wildlife or their products (Sugg and Urs, 1994:52), and landowners were encouraged to get rid of wildlife for the sake of crops and livestock. In 1975, the National Parks and Wildlife Act allowed large-scale commercial farmers to benefit commercially from wildlife for the first time (Sugg and Urs, 1994). This new law bestowed on private land owners the status of ‘appropriate authority’ over wildlife management. Yet since the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management (DNPWM) retained control over revenues raised in communal areas; the majority of the people who benefited were white. The new policy was therefore interpreted as discriminatory (Scoones and Matose, 1993:181) and after independence in 1980, the new political establishment had to placate peasant farmers on whom the disruption and costs of living with wildlife fell. The 1975 Act was therefore amended in 1982 to extend appropriate authority status to District Councils (elected representatives of rural communities, under the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development) for wildlife management in communal areas (Sugg and Urs, 1994).
The idea for a project entitled Communal Areas Management Programme For Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) originated in an NGO: the Zimbabwe Trust (otherwise known as Zimtrust). Helped by the Wildlife Society of Zimbabwe and international NGOs such as the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and WWF, they persuaded the DNPWM that CAMPFIRE was worth taking to central government. Since 1989 CAMPFIRE has had considerable support from international aid agencies, to whom it is described as "environmental justice" and a "practical and fine example of democracy in rural Zimbabwe" (CAMPFIRE Newsletter, 1996). Together with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) these NGOs now finance the DNPWM, which exercises control over CAMPFIRE under their guidance.
At inception the initiative had four main objectives. According to Martin (1986, quoted by Scoones and Matose, 1993), these were to:
obtain the voluntary participation of communities in a flexible programme which incorporates long term solutions to resource problems;
introduce a new system of group ownership and territorial rights to natural resources for the communities resident in the target areas;
provide the appropriate institutions under which resources can be legitimately managed and exploited by resident communities for their direct benefit; and
provide technical and financial assistance to communities joining the programme to enable them to realise these objectives.
In simple terms, the project generates money - and meat - to reward locals for the presence and limited hunting of wild animals in communal areas. Revenues come from tourists, including fee-paying trophy hunters. About a quarter of the funds should go to the local authorities, while three quarters should go to the community, and may be used to finance clinics, roads, boreholes etc. (the Herald, 7.11.1997).
In 1996, US $4.8 million of CAMPFIRE’s total funding of US $55million came from the GEF, which specifically aimed to strengthen management of natural resources around Gonarezhou National Park. Near borders with Mozambique and South Africa, the area would become part of a three-nation cross-border reserve. Other funds came from the government of Zimbabwe, USAid and NGOs including IUCN and WWF. Private tour operators, as well as African NGOs like ZIMTRUST and ENDA (based in Senegal) collaborated in implementation. To some CAMPFIRE is “less of a programme than a way of thinking, or a way of life” (King, 1994); the acronym has now been incorporated into the elastic language of 'sustainable development' (Dryzek, 1997).
4.3 New Institutions
The architects of CAMPFIRE, realising that there would be conflict as long as animals damage crops, recognised that new institutions had to be created to move rural communities from farming into ‘wildlife production’. By late 1997, there were 32 Rural District Councils implementing CAMPFIRE schemes (the Herald, 7.11.1997), which in 1998 raised them about US $650,000 per year. The CAMPFIRE Association (CA), a member of the IUCN, forms a quasi-NGO linking and dominating the RDCs involved. A full-time secretariat and executive director run day-to-day activities, co-ordinating information and implementation, advising RDCs on marketing issues and lobbying for community management of natural resources (Tawengwa, 1997). The CA - which keeps an eye on emerging issues in CAMPFIRE districts, dealing with them direct or bringing them to the attention of government, NGOs or donors - can be seen as a conveyor belt for decisions emanating from the centre (interview, Nhira, 1998).
Community participation in decision-making meanwhile is solicited for wildlife management plans that start at the Village Development Committee (VIDCO) level, and are consolidated at the Ward Development Committee (WARDCO) level. On average, 600 households make up a village, while 6 villages constitute a ward (Fortmann and Bruce, 1993). These communities cannot access donor funds on their own, but must go through the RDCs, which submit project proposals to the CAMPFIRE Collaborative Group (CCG). Contracts with hunters, tour operators etc. can only be arranged through the CCG, through which aid funds also pass to the districts involved. There is considerable competition for environmental aid in Zimbabwe; to survive, local NGOs form partnerships abroad (interview, Nhira, 1998). The CA, Zimtrust and DNPWM depend on funding from IUCN, WWF, USAid, and now also the GEF. The CCG also depends on big environmental NGOs and donors, who can thus leverage how CAMPFIRE is driven.
4.4 Views on the Project
The CAMPFIRE concept has generally been regarded as successful, despite persistent institutional weaknesses (Scoones and Matose, 1993, Sugg and Urs, 1994) and the efforts of an American animal rights group, the US Humane Society (HSUS), to cut funding. Yet competition for land between people and wildlife remains most acute near protected areas (Sugg and Urs, 1994, Tremmel, 1994), especially where immigration has been encouraged while elephant numbers rose after the 1989 CITES ivory ban (SAPEM, 10.1993:25). As wild animals spill into human settlements in search of food and space, many CAMPFIRE communities may not themselves shoot wild animals, even if people are threatened (Murombedzi, 1994). Villagers are expected to raise the alarm with the DNPWM, who are often hundreds of kilometres away, and generally cannot react quickly. By the time officials arrive at the scene of a commotion crop fields and homesteads may be destroyed, people hurt or killed, and the elephants long gone.
In theory, 1991 DNPWM guidelines on the distribution of CAMPFIRE revenues devolve authority, management and benefits to ‘producer’ communities. In practice however communities do not themselves have the ‘appropriate authority’ to manage wildlife, but must pay the costs of RDCs’ management, which may or may not benefit them in return (Murombedzi, 1999). The promised participation of all in decision-making, not least in Binga, has often been stifled by officials disdaining dialogue with ordinary people. The Tonga villagers lament their poor relationship with local leadership and officials (Tremmel, 1994). There had in 1998 been no positive response from the authorities to problems of elephants marauding crop fields and granaries, and of predation (including by lions) of livestock. As one of Tremmel's interviewees lamented:
Major problems that affect everyone in our community, are addressed by only a few people who are friends of government workers and elected leaders… We do not have an effective way to express ourselves. We are frightened to speak to our leaders.
Our leaders do not think we are intelligent enough to solve our problems.
4.5 Unshared Income and Responsibility
Emerton (1998) points out that most community conservation initiatives in Africa prefer to focus on the quantity of benefits generated than on their distribution. Since such revenues often return to safari operators etc., they may not impact on the behaviours that threaten wildlife, and certainly do not offset others’ losses caused by the presence of wildlife.
While the costs of living with wildlife are felt at the ward, village and household levels, authority to manage CAMPFIRE revenue remains at the RDC level (Scoones and Matose, 1993). Most RDCs are reluctant to part with cash that provides them with a new lease of life (Scoones and Matose, 1993): maximising rent extraction from wildlife producer wards they may subsidise poorer wards, and also encourage immigration and agriculture, notably in less populated (and wildlife richer) wards (Murombedzi, 1999). Newcomers to Binga, living on the outer edge of villages, often suffer the worst of wildlife depredations, but may not benefit from CAMPFIRE revenues.
Meanwhile some areas have been rocked by serious allegations of embezzlement, for example in Guruve RDC over Z $600,000 from CAMPFIRE accounts went on inflated travelling claims (the Herald, 1.8.1997). In general it seems that well endowed RDCs are better able to implement CAMPFIRE to the satisfaction of diverse sections of the ‘community’, but that elsewhere there are serious disparities between the idea and the outcomes of the programme.
People in VIDCOs and WARDCOs, the new institutions responsible for day to day conservation, are taking on the traditional position of chiefs. Said to be subject to co-option by government (Murumbedzi 1994), th