Global environmental agreements and local livelihoods: how the internationalisation of environmental resources shapes access to and control over wetland resources in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Kgomotso, Phemo Karen
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This thesis examines how global environmental crisis narratives and discourses have influenced environmental policy and practice in conservation programmes for the Okavango Delta, Botswana. In particular, it highlights the contested nature of biodiversity conservation and the embedded power relations in the framing, definition and crafting of solutions to the problem of biodiversity degradation at local, national and international levels. The thesis therefore examines, based on these framings, the consequences of global environmental agreements, such as the Ramsar Convention and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, for local livelihoods in terms of access to and control over local environmental resources in the Okavango Delta. Using a political ecological conceptual lens and related literature on common pool resource management and community-based natural resource management, this thesis traces the changing perceptions, narratives and discourses relating to the Okavango Delta over time, and assesses how these have shaped changes in policy for the Delta’s use and management. It specifically analyses the implementation of international programmes and their role in facilitating these changes. Through an in-depth study of dynamic human-environment interactions around fisheries and other wetland resources, this thesis shows how international interventions have not only increased conflicts but also facilitated the strict regulation of these resources. The thesis therefore analyses how framing these and other common pool resources as being of ‘international significance’ alters control over them and affects the livelihood security of the local people that depend on these resources. It concludes that such restrictive conservation policies and management approaches have led to a transfer of control over wetland resources from local subsistence users to other, more powerful, commercial interests, especially those in the international tourism industry.
CitationKgomotso, Phemo Karen (2011) Global environmental agreements and local livelihoods: how the internationalisation of environmental resources shapes access to and control over wetland resources in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Doctoral thesis, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.
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