Purpose - This paper seeks to describe an attempt to assess at the local level the progress that has been internationally achieved in recognition of community and indigenous rights, and of indigenous and community conserved areas. An action-research exercise was implemented in Ethiopia with a mobile indigenous people of evaluating customary as well as government-led governance of the environment, with the objective of strengthening the capacity of the Borana-Oromo to conserve their landscape. Design/methodology/approach - This paper is based on collaborative research implemented by the authors in 2002 while SOS Sahel Ethiopia was introducing collaborative forest management, and on a 2007 action research project specifically designed to broaden the scope of the involvement of the customary leadership in sustainable landscape management. Findings - The research demonstrates the high degree of articulation and efficacy of customary governance as opposed to the failure of State-centric attempts to protect specific areas within the broader landscape. Customary institutions, however, are increasingly delegitimised and incapable of coping with new challenges such as massive immigration, political marginalisation and de facto land privatisation. Research limitations/implications - The action-research was insufficient to achieve the goal due to limitations in the national legislation, inefficiency by the government in implementing the existing policies, and the persisting practice of imposing development with insufficient prior consultation. Practical implications - Based on an informed review of the international and national legislation and policies, the customary leaders of the Borana have released a public statement asking for support in addressing the gaps and problems they have identified, particularly achieving legal recognition of the customary institutions and customary laws in relation to biodiversity conservation. At national level it was recommended to organize a workshop on community conservation of biodiversity and community rights, with the objective of disseminating awareness about the latest instruments and Resolutions in the context of IUCN and the CBD. Originality/value - The customary governance of the Borana is based on the gadaa generation class system, highly articulated in terms of norms and procedures. The territory is vast and it includes government-protected areas due to the importance of the biodiversity. The case contributes to raising awareness about the relevance of legislation and enhancement of rights at national level.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Management of Environmental Quality|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law