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Article

Regulatory Compliance of Community-Based Conservation Organizations: Empirical Evidence from Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

1
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
2
Department of Earth and Environment, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9420; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229420
Received: 16 September 2020 / Revised: 6 November 2020 / Accepted: 9 November 2020 / Published: 12 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inclusive Governance and Management of Protected and Conserved Areas)
Community-based conservation in the developing world generally puts more emphasis on voluntary commitments and compliance rather than enforcement of formal laws and regulations for the governance of protected areas. However, as with other forms of organizational management, once institutions are established, they are required to comply with all relevant, legally binding regulations. Furthermore, it is broadly assumed that compliance with established regulations is critical for good governance. In this paper, we review these matters through an empirical study of Conservation Area Management Committees’ degree of compliance with regulations under Nepalese law, within the Annapurna Conservation Area—one of the best-known community-based protected areas worldwide—based on quantitative content analysis of the committees’ meeting minutes from 2008 to 2012. According to the established rules, two to four women and one to five minorities serve as committee members in each instance. On average, fewer members than expected attended meetings, and the number of decisions made per meeting showed a curvilinear relationship with the number of members present as well as their demographic diversity. Of the 13 committees selected for study, only two met the legal mandate of holding six regular meetings annually within two-month intervals. In all the other cases, non-compliance was noted for one to all five years of the committees’ terms. In general, compliance declined over the five-year terms, and some committees were significantly less-compliant than others. Although enforceable decisions were made within both compliant and non-compliant committees, several problems of non-compliance were identified that may affect conservation outcomes. We suggest several possible reasons for non-compliance and argue that these may be symptoms of institutional weaknesses. Organizations that fail to meet their commitments risk liability and may also lose the formal legal authority to govern. Regular monitoring is recommended to address compliance issues. View Full-Text
Keywords: community conservation; decentralized governance; empowerment; government regulations; monitoring and evaluation; participatory approaches community conservation; decentralized governance; empowerment; government regulations; monitoring and evaluation; participatory approaches
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MDPI and ACS Style

Baral, N.; Heinen, J.T. Regulatory Compliance of Community-Based Conservation Organizations: Empirical Evidence from Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal. Sustainability 2020, 12, 9420. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229420

AMA Style

Baral N, Heinen JT. Regulatory Compliance of Community-Based Conservation Organizations: Empirical Evidence from Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal. Sustainability. 2020; 12(22):9420. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229420

Chicago/Turabian Style

Baral, Nabin, and Joel T. Heinen 2020. "Regulatory Compliance of Community-Based Conservation Organizations: Empirical Evidence from Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal" Sustainability 12, no. 22: 9420. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229420

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