New Philosophy for Conservation (2)

Most African governments lack the political will to preserve their natural functioning eco-systems. Even if they had the will, they lack the money, the capacity and the technology to protect their heritage.

Yes, involving local tribesman is important. Yes, every effort must be made to divert funds from eco-tourism to local communities so that they feel that they have a stake in the preservation of biodiversity. But along with the carrot must come the stick.

Experience has shown that benefits alone are inadequate.Nature reserves need also to be rigidly protected with the most effective modern technology and with military ruthlessness. That needs the support of the developed world; that should not be too hard to get.

However, rigid protection of biodiversity also requires African governments to pursue unpopular policies that will inevitably alienate some sections of their voting constituencies. Based on experience to date, this is most unlikely to happen, if not inconceivable.

There are examples where indigenous people have organised resistance to exploitation of natural resources, such as is happening right now in Amazonia, but this pits them against their own governments and they must fight against the national army. I am not aware of any such grassroots resistance among indigenous tribes of southern Africa. Chris Mercer

This entry was posted in Africa, Conflict, Conservation, Illegal Wildlife Trade, poaching, Resources. Bookmark the permalink.

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