Devolution and Democratisation of Natural Resource Management in South Africa: A Comparative Analysis of CBNRM Policy Processes in Botswana and Zimbabwe

"This paper examines the policy processes of devolution and democratisation of natural resource management as they relate to community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) outcomes in Botswana and Zimbabwe. Devolution and democratisation of natural resource management are socially and politically contested issues that reveal interesting insights about the nature of local governance and democratic practices in these two countries. Through an analysis of factors affecting the CBNRM policy process – including the role of key actors, sets of policy ideas and narratives, and political influences – the authors identified evidence of shrinking political and policy spaces for local communities and civil society to effectively influence policy. This shrinking of political and policy spaces reflects a limitation of democratic practice and space in Botswana and Zimbabwe due to authoritarian political practices and socio-political and economic challenges. These factors have stifled opportunities for devolution of natural resource management and positive CBNRM outcomes. Based on primary and secondary data, this study argues that if this impasse is to be overcome, policy making and implementation of CBNRM should take cognisance of socio-economic and political forces at local and national levels and recognise the intimate links between these levels."