Annexes ... cntd

Annex 3. Example of a strategy (components and objectives) to achieve the common vision

To achieve the common, long-term vision identified in Mbuya, the stakeholders need to agree on a strategy. Below is a possible example, subdivided in a number of components (action areas). Some broad objectives are listed for each component, as well as some hints on how these objectives could be achieved. In order to take action, detailed natural resource management plans and complementary socio-economic agreements will later be developed.

strategic component 1: governance

  • engage everyone for the development of the community (maintain a general discussion/ negotiation forum on the problems and opportunities in Mbuya, open to all);
  • prevent and mediate the conflicts that might arise during the implementation of the strategy (set up a committee of wise men and women, old and young, to act as advisors, mediators and arbiters)
  • revitalise the traditional rules for the protection of the sacred forest and for forest management in general, including game hunting (engage and strengthen the Council of Elders);
  • improve personal and material safety (have regular planning meetings between the administration and the Council of Elders; set up neighbourhood mutual help groups).

strategic component 2: managing natural resources under communal property

  • strictly protect and preserve the sacred forest according to tradition, prevent there any timber exploitation or game and plant extraction (follow the rules proclaimed by the Council of Elders; have the forestry department declare a community protected area; appoint local forest guards);
  • manage the non-sacred forests under communal property for the sustainable benefit of the entire community (make sure that user associations regulate game hunting, monitor medicinal plants, maintain original variety of trees, exploit non-timber products, strictly protect the trees that host and feed the silk worms, etc.);
  • manage water equitably and wisely (farmers' groups to establish water sharing rules).

strategic component 3: managing household-owned natural resources

  • secure the access to cultivable land (set up a legal cadastre or a de facto preliminary cadastre);
  • prevent destructive flooding (farmer groups to clarify the local water dynamics and build terraces, channels and water-retaining structures to prevent soil erosion and destructive flooding of the fields);
  • prevent the excessive and damaging use of pesticides (farmer groups to share knowledge on cultivation methods, seed varieties, non-chemical control of pests).

strategic component 4: the local economy

  • sustain local productive enterprises (set up a Community Investment Fund with the initial help of the donor agency, also in partnership with government agencies; establish a local committee in charge, have women strongly represented in the committee);
  • promote local agriculture (via farmers' collective buying and selling of produce; administrators' help to sell local produce in the national market);
  • promote local industries (via improved transport infrastructure, local tax incentives);
  • revitalise traditional crafts with important commercial potential (such as hand-weaving of silk, bamboo musical instruments);
  • ensure that phone connections with the regional and national capital are dependable and efficient (cooperation between local administration and national and private phone companies).

strategic component 5: health and society

  • improve public health (via a system to improve and regularly monitor water quality, provision of tap water first at collective points and then in all the homes, vaccination campaigns, public and private sanitation facilities, regular collection and disposal of rubbish, community groups for specific initiatives, local epidemiological studies, road-accident prevention initiatives);
  • improve the social standing of women in the community (provide training for women in a variety of skills, including commercial and administrative skills; engage women in social responsibilities);
  • dedicate an area of communal land to youth activities and sports, including a regular-size football field (cooperation among local administration, sport clubs and local youth);
  • set up special support services for newly arrived immigrants (cooperation between the Council of Elders and the local administration);
  • set up a service to promote youth employment, and a service to assist the elderly (cooperation between local administration and NGOs).

strategic component 6: cultural heritage

  • revive the traditional ceremonies and festivals (engage and strengthen the Council of Elders);
  • engage children in activities that value and preserve local culture and traditions (improve pre-school and primary education programmes, include meetings with the Council of Elders and the environmental NGO about the value of the sacred forest for the whole community);
  • establish an incentive programme for local artists and craftspeople (collaboration between the administration and local associations);
  • improve the town's general appearance (up-keeping of public places and buildings, running effective clean-ups after market days, providing incentives to improve private houses).

strategic component 7: public infrastructure

  • improve and cover with tarmac the road connecting Mbuya to the regional capital;
  • build and maintain water supply facilities to serve all the population;
  • establish a sanitation scheme for the community, including effective drainage facilities.

Annex 4. Learning by Doing the experience of the Co-management Project in the Congo Basin

Collaborative management has become an option championed by the majority of social actors interested in conservation and sustainable development in the Congo Basin. Questions remain, however, on "how to go about it". The project Co-management for Nature Conservation in Unstable Socio-political Conditions: Learning by Doing in the Congo Basin has been trying to answer such questions since 1998. The project is operated by the IUCN Regional Office for Central Africa and financially and technically supported by GTZ. The project also benefits from the technical support of the IUCN Collaborative Management Working Group (CMWG).


During its first two years of implementation, the project aimed at rendering the co-management of natural resources a better understood, better appreciated and more viable option for the management of natural resources and protected areas in the Congo Basin. To this end, two key axes of intervention have been pursued, namely:

  • improving co-management performance and local capacity in a dozen projects locally supported by the GTZ and the IUCN. These initially included six projects supported by the GTZ in Cameroon (Korup, Mount Cameroon, South-Eastern component of the GEF project), the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kahuzi Biega), Congo Brazzaville (Nouabalé N'Doki / Proeco) and the Central African Republic (Dzangha Sangha) and four projects supported by the IUCN in Cameroon (Waza-Logone and Dja), and Congo Brazzaville (Conkouati and Lac Télé) ;
  • collecting lessons learned, with a view to using the resulting know-how in the region (and elsewhere) and translating learning into methods, tools and policy recommendations.

Below you will find an assessment of the activities implemented by the project, the results obtained and the initial lessons learned.


The project choose as main approach the stimulation of self-sustainable processes, and the project coordinator helped generating situations through which project staff and local actors "learned by doing" in co-management. Responding to the conditions in the participating sites, two main initiatives were launched: networking among participating sites and collective learning. In support to these, a Co-management Resource Centre was established, comprising a collection of pertinent documents (e.g., available resources, copies of signed agreements, etc.).


Networking among participating sites

The co-management project is based on a network of field initiatives, each representing a specific "observation site" from which to draw co-management lessons. The sites, in turn, benefit from technical assistance (training and tailored technical support) and the exchanges of experience brought about by the project.

At the start of the co-management project, the staff and partners of the observation sites were not particularly enthusiastic, perceiving their participation in the project activities mostly as additional work on an already busy schedule. In fact, the project had to encourage the involvement of social actors from the observation sites. Soon, however, the actors discovered for themselves the benefits of their participation in project activities. They saw that the co-management project offered a package of resources (information, training, exchanges of experience, tailored technical support) that could greatly help them enhance their capacity to promote and sustain participatory management processes.

The first general meeting attended by the delegates of the participating sites (including project staff and local partners, such as NGO staff, rural leaders, forest administration officials, etc.) allowed to identify common problems, begin to look for solutions together and develop a joint vision about what co-management entails. The group also defined some objectives for joint work and gave itself a name: Co-management Network for Natural Resources in the Congo Basin ("Réseau Cogestion des Ressources Naturelles dans le Bassin du Congo"). Furthermore, it was agreed to use the term "sites of learning" to designate the different sites linked to the network.

The team spirit born of the first general meeting became stronger with the passing of time (a training workshop and a forum for the exchange of experience were organised every six months), also as a result of the personal ties established among the group members and of the opportunities to develop together new knowledge and skills. At the end of the first two years of the process, the network decided to ensure its own perpetuation and autonomy vis-à-vis the co-management project. It also developed a role-sharing model, by which the coordination of the network rotates amongst the various sites of learning. In all of this, the co-management project continues to provide a facilitating role.

Collective learning

Group learning appeared to be the best approach to enhancing the capacity of the project staff and local partners from the participating sites. A whole range of methods and tools was utilised: training workshops, exchanges of experience, tailored technical support, dissemination of information, exchange visits, and so on.

The training workshops and the exchanges of experience are the pivotal elements of collective learning. In the workshop, the presentation of the experience of each site with regard to a specific issue of process step in co-management is generally followed by the collective discussion of its strengths and weaknesses, the identification of potential approaches and tools (also with the help of resource persons) and small-group sessions on future perspectives and plans. This work sequence greatly succeeded in motivating the participants to learn and discover together.

The first workshop allowed the participants to develop a common vision of collaborative management and a common language to describe it. The participants also expressed their willingness to translate their vision into reality in their respective project sites and their desire to acquire relevant methods and tools. In particular, they expressed the need to enhance their capacities:

  • to manage a mosaic of NRM units (national parks next to nature reserves, communal forests, community forests, forest and mining concessions, ethnically heterogeneous villages, etc.);
  • to identify the concerned institutional actors, raise their awareness about the benefits of co-management and mobilise their participation (especially of the weakest players, but also of the strongest ones, who do not come readily to the negotiating table);
  • to ensure maximum communication and transparent information on natural resource management among all stakeholders;
  • to manage conflicts among the various stakeholders (including new conflicts generated by the management partnerships) and to establish viable and efficient management agreements;
  • to ensure that the parties concerned come to the joint negotiating table with a comparable degree of social respect (which is not the case for some stakeholders in the Congo Basin, such as the Baka people);
  • to secure sustainable benefits for local populations as an alternative to the non-sustainable exploitation of natural resources;
  • to elaborate new agreements and social regulations to manage natural resources, making maximum use of local knowledge and creativity;
  • to identify, improve, if necessary even rebuild, but above all legitimise participatory management structures at various levels;
  • to monitor the co-management process (monitoring indicators) and maintain a learning by doing approach;
  • to maintain the participatory management process in the long term (perseverance and stability of project staff and government institutions, long-term financing by donors);
  • to eliminate the dependence of the co-management structures on external project assistance;
  • to establish a clear legal framework for participatory management in each country (beyond a handful of regulations governing the mere redistribution of benefits derived from the exploitation of natural resources).

A first response to these expressed needs for capacity building (knowledge, skills, attitudes and punctual technical support) was provided during the second workshop, which focused on the approaches and tools required for negotiating management agreements. The third workshop, geared to monitoring the process of natural-resource management, empowered participants to learn from their own experience. A review of the first lessons learned was conducted at each site of learning and presented during the fourth workshop. The fifth workshop focused on the methods and tools to facilitate social communication in a co- management process.

The sites of learning were also supported in a number of other ways: on-site technical missions, dissemination of information among sites, and facilitation of contacts and partnerships between sites and regional institutions. Technical assistance was provided upon request, as agreed at the network's first workshop, either on site or from the Yaoundé-based coordination of the co-management project. The co-management project has also tested the technical support "inter-sites", by which actors who acquired a certain level of experience share it directly with others in a sort of consultancy mission.


Since its inception, the co-management project monitored both its own process as well as its results. The latter comprise: the network of learning sites, the learning process itself and the broad transformation of the milieu in the Congo Basin.

The network of learning sites

The co-management project operates through a network of learning sites. Indeed, the direct beneficiaries (project staff and partners in the learning sites) demonstrated a strong enthusiasm and a sense of ownership with respect to both the project and the network. This is confirmed by various observations. At a workshop in Mamfe (June 1999) Christian Chatelain, the CMWG member then in charge of technical support, noted in his report that "the participants did not just come to listen or participate, but show that this project belongs to them, that they are benefiting from it and that they wish to keep it running for a long time". In fact, the participants in that workshop discussed how the co-management project could to be continued after the two years initially funded by GTZ, and decided to send two "delegates" to the project steering committee. Since then, the network participated in all steering committee meetings and actively helped organise and run the phase II planning workshop. Contacts between the on-site project actors and the project coordination have also progressively intensified.

Identifying common problems and seeking solutions together during the training workshops also helped strengthening the network's team spirit. Indeed, the various learning sites expressed strong feelings of identification with the Réseau Cogestion. In the occasion of the Buea workshop, in December 1999, they took measures to prevent the disbanding of the network in case the co-management project would come to an end. This included a clear separation between the network and the project. For instance, in the course of the year 2000, the network is being run by the Korup learning site, and the project plays only a minimal support role.

Beside the contacts at the time of the training workshops, inter-personal contacts among project staff and partners from the learning sites have multiplied in various occasions, including meetings to discuss specific problems and achievements, the establishment of regional sub-networks (e.g. for the projects Dia and PROFORNAT in South - east Cameroon), exchange visits, and inter-project support missions.

In summary, the network of learning sites works effectively, and the sites themselves express a strong sense of ownership for the co-management project.


Collective learning by doing

A few main achievements indicate the extent to which the collective learning process has progressed:

  • There is now a common vision of what collaborative management is all about, including a common language, a good understanding of the various phases of the process and a clear sense of what is to be achieved;
  • Approaches and tools to achieve such a vision are on hand and can be accessed through the workshops and the Co-management Resource Centre (they are also disseminated in the region);
  • Participatory management processes are being implemented in the learning sites, and the processes are steered on the basis of lessons learned. At certain sites, new skills and know-how have been put to excellent use and the dialogue and negotiations among stakeholders led to very interesting results. Such results include:
  • a multi-party committee (advisory body for the park and management body for its peripheral zone) at Waza, in Norther Cameroun, legally recognised by order of the minister in charge of protected areas;
  • a multi-party management structure (Bomboko Forest Reserve Management Committee) at Mount Cameroon, legally recognised by order of the Prefect of Meme Department;
  • a cooperation agreement between a delegation of the Cameroon Ministry of Water and Forests , professional game keepers and the riparian population in the Lobéké main protection zone (Zone Essentielle de Protection), signed on June 8, 1999 in the presence of the Sub-prefect of Moloundou and the Chief of Salapoumbé District at the end of a stakeholder negotiation process facilitated by the project PROFORNAT;
  • a charter for the co-management of natural resources and detailed management agreements for the Conkouati reserve (Congo Brazzaville), signed by representatives of the local population, the regional administration and the authorities in charge of protected areas ( May 1999);
  • a declaration of commitment to participate in developing a management plan for the reserve Nta-ali (Korup site), signed by the riparian village delegates and the representatives of the state services at the end of a stakeholder meeting (December 1998).

Besides the indicators of institutional achievements just mentioned, it is worth noting that at the learning sites the attitudes of local communities and officials in charge of conservation has greatly improved. At Conkouati, for example, the co-management process led to the emergence of new pressure groups for conservation. In June 1999, a number of local stakeholders succeeded in reversing a ministerial decision concerning forest exploitation in the eco-development zones. They reminded the forest administration officials that they were not the only ones to have a say in the management of the reserve's natural resources, at least not according to the contents of the charter they had all signed. In Waza Park, the conservation officials have accepted the principle of negotiating with the women of local communities the rules to govern extraction and use of some of the park's natural resources, such as gum Arabic, fish and straw.


The improved milieu in the Congo Basin

The co-management project has the mandate of promoting processes of participatory management of natural resources in the Congo Basin (and other regions). Is it succeeding to create a more favourable milieu for co-management? For instance, is the project accepted by other regional conservation initiatives? Has it been able to generate their interest? Has it been able to influence them?

The requests for cooperation made by various institutions constitute a good indicator of the level of the co-management project's acceptance in the region. As a result of these requests, inputs by the co-management project have prompted:

  • two training sessions for the Conference on Dense and Humid Forests Ecosystems in Central Africa (CEFDHAC) based on theoretical understandings and experience gained at the learning sites. The two sessions dealt with good governance in the institutions managing forest ecosystems and on managing conflicts relating to the use of forest ecosystems;
  • the gathering of information on Cameroon by the Centre Technique de Coopération Agricole et Rurale (ACP-UE) information the Centre uses in support of policies for environmental protection and sound NRM;
  • the integration of participatory management in training programmes of the Ecole Nationale des Eaux et Forêts of Gabon, based on experience and lessons gained at the learning sites.

In addition, several institutions have expressed their willingness to cooperate with the co-management project. These include:

  • the Centre International des Recherches Forestières (CIFOR), and in particular its research programme on adaptive management ;
  • the forest network of the Conférence des Responsables de Recherche Agronomique in Africa (CORAF) ;
  • the Programme Avenir des Peuples des Forêts Tropicales (APFT );
  • the Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) ;
  • the Programme for the Conservation of Forest Eco-systems in Central Africa (ECOFAC) ;
  • the WWF programme for Cameroon.

In other words, far from being considered an isolated or rival initiative, the co-management project is appreciated by other regional and national conservation programmes, which hope to take advantage of the services it can deliver.

Preliminary achievements of the GTZ/IUCN/CMWG

Co-management Project in the Congo Basin

a schematic summary

Table of achievements

Initial lessons learned

The initial lessons learned by the co-management project are many and can be grouped into three areas: co-management methods and tools, feasibility conditions at various sites, and management of the project itself.

Co-management methods and tools

Various lessons on more or less effective methods and tools have been learned while implementing co-management processes at the various sites. Among those:

  • An effective co-management process takes good care of social communication concerns. What do the various actors understand by "co-management"? What does it mean for them? The stakeholders need exhaustive information and full transparency on the steps of the CM process and the decision-making procedures. In this sense, many learning sites still show significant deficiencies. Indeed, easy-to-use, top-down methods such as "awareness-raising campaigns" and "expert consultant" approaches are very difficult to eradicate.
  • The mobilizing effect of a co-management process is not only linked to the quality of the relevant communication and negotiation activities. Indeed, many stakeholders become active only when they perceive that co-management brings about "new resources" for their benefit. They appear to reconstruct or reinterpret the meaning of the messages and / or processes in terms of their on-going situation.
  • The legal context for co-management is often vague and unclear. The existing laws do not generally foresee the establishment of any multi-party body for the management of natural resources. Yet the very processes nurtured at the learning sites exploited every nook and crane of the legal system and facilitated the emergence of new and legitimate institutional arrangements. For instance, to give multi-party institutions a legal character, the stakeholders have made use of the NGO law (as in Congo Brazzaville) or have had recourse to ministerial decrees or prefectorial decisions (as in Cameroon). In fact, the legal void does not seem to prevent the implementation of pilot co-management measures. On the contrary, the lack of specific rules on the matter offers an opportunity to develop such rules on the basis of concrete experiences and field lessons.
  • Patrimonial mediation has proved an appropriate approach to facilitate the negotiation of management agreements. In the context of the Congo Basin, however, the ritualization of long-term patrimonial objectives works only when done concomitantly with concrete agreements on short term aims. The broken promises of political parties have made people cynical about pledges and rituals! The best approaches seem to leave out the more abstract considerations and focus on concrete action.
  • The management authority developed in a multi-party negotiation process draws its legitimacy from pre-existing governments and traditional institutions, which it joins but it does not make disappear. Such an authority can only play its role if the actors who make it up can successfully negotiate a share of power from the pre-existing institutions. Because of this political dimension, the effectiveness of the new institutions depends on the quality of the negotiation process that generated it. In particular, more and better attention should be paid to traditional NRM institutions at community level. All of the CM learning sites would benefit from a better integration of traditional NRM systems in the management agreements under negotiation.
  • The multi-party management bodies at the local community level or above should be rendered as much as possible autonomous, in particular with respect to the financing of recurrent costs.


Feasibility conditions at various sites

It has become apparent that the conditions existing in the learning sites have a considerable influence on the evolution and outcome of the local co-management processes. Indeed, certain members in the Réseau Cogestion have not been supported by their project colleagues in their attempts to implement co-management initiatives. The reasons given focus mainly on the pre-existing projects strategic plans. Often, the members of the Réseau Cogestion are asked to fit project plans that do not at all foresee co-management approaches. This is compounded by the lack of relevant budgetary planning: in most projects, no budget is earmarked for co-management, even when financial resources have been set aside to promote community participation and environmental education. As a result, it can be argued that:

  • as long as the co-management vision will remain restricted only to a few actors linked to the Réseau Cogestion, the financial, professional and moral support needed to implement effective co-management process will remain lacking;
  • as long as the project plans in the learning sites will remain rigid, even those actors with direct links to the network will not have the opportunity or the scope to implement CM processes.

In other words, for co-management to succeed it is vital to begin with a clear agreement on the desirability of the approach on the part of the entire project team. It is also crucial to allocate from the beginning the necessary human and financial resources.


The management of the project

Two key lessons:

  • a process-oriented approach enabled the project coordinator to retain a certain freedom and to adapt project management according to the beneficiaries' varying needs. This flexible approach has been possible thanks to the understanding and approval of the project steering committee;
  • the involvement of the IUCN's Collaborative Management Working Group (CMWG) in the implementation of the co-management project and its commitment to the project itself have been instrumental for the success of the initiative. For the IUCN, the project represents a model example in the search for synergy between its Commissions and Secretariat.

With respect to the dynamics generated by the co-management project, it is now expedient to:

  • consolidate the results obtained and ensure the sustainability of the collective learning process;
  • strengthen the effects generated by the co-management project, to guarantee their positive impact on natural resources;
  • build on the lessons learned.

With this in mind, it was recommended during the Phase II planning workshop (September 1999) to continue the project for a second biennium with a view to ensuring the effective application of the co-management approach for the sustainable management of natural resources in the region. On the basis of this objective and the needs identified during the planning workshop, the activities in the second phase of the project (2000-2001) revolve around three main strategic axes:

  • collection and dissemination of resources, experiences and lessons learned on the co-management of natural resources, including the identification of unanswered questions;
  • training of human resources on ways to ensure the success of the co-management approach and to promote social communication initiatives and the critical awareness of what is at stake with co-management;
  • support to various forms of cooperation and institutional synergy, to integrate co-management into existing natural-resource management systems.

Comments and feedback on this page, or this publication, are welcomed. These should be may be sent by e-mail to the authors at: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

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