Biodiversity conservation through Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) and the rights of local communities : reconciliation through sustainable development
Mugadza, Amanda Tapiwa
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This dissertation analyses whether the rights of local communities are being recognised, respected and upheld in TFCAs as a mechanism of biodiversity conservation, and how these rights can be reconciled with a sustainable development approach. This analysis is based on the fact that most TFCAs in the southern African region encompass communal lands where rural communities and, in some instances, indigenous peoples reside. Biodiversity conservation through TFCAs is premised on the understanding that biodiversity conservation is linked with life support systems and human development, and therefore that the TFCA mechanism is a means by which natural resource conservation and ecosystem management is explored simultaneously with human development. However, the key international and regional instruments on biodiversity conservation via TFCAs fail to consistently recognise local community involvement. Through the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park and Greater Mapungubwe GTCFA examples it is established that state parties to TFCAs tend to adopt an outsider’s socio-economic interest in conservation that alienates local communities leaving the latter without formal recognition of their role and rights. A sustainable development approach which appreciates the balance between economic, social and environmental sustainability is proposed as a step towards the realisation of these rights in the TFCAs. The approach of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in two important decisions pertaining to the rights of local communities and indigenous people is adopted to link the three sustainability pillars to the realisation of the rights of these local communities.
- Law