THE EGC BIOPAMA PROJECT IN ZAMBIA
SHARING LESSONS FROM MUFUNTA GMA.
The EGC BIOPAMA Project is an initiative of the ACP group of States financed by the European Union jointly implemented by International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JCR). The BIOPAMA project in Zambia aimed at Enhancing Governance of CBNRM for a Better Conservation and Social Outcome
In Zambia the Project addresses priorities for improved management and governance of biodiversity and natural resources including the providing and assessing supportive tools. The project had the Pre-SAGE Assessment, SAGE Assessment and Action Plan done for all the Project Sites where the SAGE and GAPA governance methodology tools were utilized.
Mufunta GMA , located on the Greater Kafue Landscapes had its Assessment with the SAGE tool and one great lessons learnt through the key prioritized actions are that , the community level Interactions with the grass root structures of Village Action Groups(vags)Community Forest Management Groups(cfmg) Community Resources Boards(crbs) has been educative and knowledgeable, it has given a clearer picture of the key governance gaps in relation to law Enforcement, full and effective participation of all relevant actors in decision making, equitable benefit sharing, effective collaboration and coordination of relevant actors, sectors and levels, Transparency and accountability in information sharing ,Access to Justice and effective dispute solution processes among other principles of good governance.
In Mufunta GMA which has 9 Village Action Groups a total of 140 have people( male….. female….) benefited from the capacity building trainings that enabled discussions on governance related subjects as understanding the concept of Community Based Natural Resources Management that relates to the foundation and buildup of CRBs, CFMGs, Fisheries Groups and this also allowed the groups to understand their mandate and roles to which the mandate to improve the governance of their GMA is drawn.
During the Site -Level Assessment for Governance and Equity Assessments (SAGE) in the Mufunta GMA until the formulation of an Action Plan, the communities shared some of the governance issues or challenges and now it was interesting to go back to the communities one year later after the Assessments and interact with the communities to understand how the Law enforcement, the noticeable Improvements in information sharing at VAG/CRB levels and GMA level has been encouraging. The ordinary communities members and the leadership at these community structures are able to understand their roles in these governance issues as they are more informed on their resource’s rights and have understood and shared the information to other community members as ambassadors on the importance of permits or licenses to exercise specific resources rights such as the rights to hunt, fish and collect timber. The Traditional leadership through headmen has also been part of the governance trainings and this has contributed towards great results for the GMA.
The GMA has furthermore been supported through a Key Stakeholder Law Enforcement Dialogue Meeting of which and during the Discussion the Law Enforcers and Protected Area Authorities and the Judiciary presented on various issues on how to improve further improve the law enforcement in the GMA. The law enforcers shared how the numbers of poachers and some have reformed to ensure they work together in either neighborhood watch groups or join crb or vags, another important thing to note is the how communities especially the women have motivated each other to participate and take up leadership roles at vags .During the interaction the communities mentioned how SAGE has transformed their minds and attitude towards positive achievements of conservation objectives as a team and to ensure that the Protected Area continues to uphold Equity in Good Governance. The fair and effective Law Enforcement training has helped the community scouts improve their operations as they carry on with their mandated responsibilities in the GMA .