Exploring the Potential and Contribution of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves for Landscape Governance and Management in Africa
2. The Concept of Biosphere Reserves and Alternative Landscape Approaches in Africa
2.1. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserves
- Conservation: to protect and conserve genetic resources, species, ecosystems, and landscapes;
- Development: to foster sustainable economic and human development;
- Logistic support: to support demonstration projects, environmental education and training, and research and monitoring related to local, national, and global issues of conservation and sustainable development .
Characteristic Tools and Features of Biosphere Reserves
2.2. Alternative Natural Resource Management Approaches in Africa
2.2.1. Development of Alternative Approaches over Time
2.2.2. The Case of Community-Based Natural Resource Management
3.1. Analytical Framework
3.2. Data Collection and Methodological Approach
4. Analysis and Findings
4.1.1. The Governance Framework of Biosphere Reserves
4.1.2. The Biosphere Reserve Zonation as a Tool to Structure Governance
4.1.3. Initiating a Biosphere Reserve and Shaping its Governance
4.2. Adaptive Management
4.2.1. Management Structures across Case Studies
4.2.2. Specific Management Challenges and Tools
4.3. Information, Communication, and Capacity Building
4.4. Multi-Stakeholder Participation
5.1. Identifying and Engaging Relevant Stakeholders as a Condition for Social Acceptance and Sustainability
5.2. Effective Communication of Potential Benefits and Trade-Offs
5.3. Flexibility of Governance Structures
5.4. Effective Management Needs Coherent Concepts
5.5. Zonation as a Tool for Managing the ‘Multifunctionality’ of a Landscape
5.6. Strengthening Stakeholder Capacities and the Role of Partnerships, Research Collaboration, and International Networks
6. Concluding Remarks
Conflicts of Interest
- Exploring the Potential and Contributions of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves for Landscape Governance and Management in Africa, with a Focus Stakeholder Engagement. Semi-Structured Questionnaire for Expert Interviews
- Biosphere Reserve (BR): ______________________
- Interview partner: ______________________
- Date of (telephone) interview: ______________
- The questionnaire is divided into 5 Sections, aiming to capture indications on the following aspects:
- general aspects on the BR’s vision, mission, initiation, and design of the BR
- stakeholder engagement
- Information, communication, and capacity building
- BR vision, mission, initiation, and design (integrated approach and flexibility)
- What is the BR’s vision (the desire for the future)? What is the BR’s mission (objectives, approach—how will you achieve this vision)?
- Who initiated the BR? Who (stakeholders/sectors) was engaged in the initiation process? What has been the decisive factor for the success of the nomination process? Which factors were stimulating/hampering?
- Did national legislation have an impact on the nomination of the BR?
- Which economic or social sectors (e.g., agriculture, education, etc.) play a role in the BR? What activities/measures does the BR support in its different sectors?
- In how far does the BR contribute to the sustainable development (e.g., income generation and conservation) of the area?
- What are the drivers for processes of change within the Biosphere Reserve?
- Linking conservation and sustainable development (a major component of the BR concept) is not an easy task. How do you address this issue?
- Is the UNESCO BR framework flexible enough to implement your concrete mission? (i.e., how much does the BR framework sufficiently respect the local context?)
- What are the key structural elements, such as the board, assembly, committees, and working groups of the BR’s governance system? Who are the members? What are their mandates? How do they operate (meetings, etc.)?
- Does your BR governance system function with regard to decision-making, planning, and implementation of activities in the BR (how)? What are the obstacles/success factors? Is transparency an issue?
- Is the BR level linked to superior administrative or political levels (and if so, how?). Is this link supportive or hampering for achieving the objectives of the BR?
- Is progress towards the vision/mission of the BR monitored? Is this useful, and are the results taken up?
- Adaptive Management
- Who is responsible for managing the activities of the Biosphere Reserve (staff, working groups, stakeholders, etc.)?
- What are the mandates of the “managers”, and who defines the mandate?
- Does management work on the basis of a management plan? (Please explain.)
- How flexible is the management in adapting to changing conditions?
- What obstacles does management face, and what works well (examples)?
- Are the financial resources of the BR a major issue for management (please explain)?
- How does the BR management link conservation with sustainable development?
- If you think about a landscape (approach), would you consider BRs suitable instruments for landscape governance and management? Why or why not?
- Multi-stakeholder participation
- Who is considered to be a stakeholder in the BR? (The all stakeholders versus selected stakeholders approach)
- How important is stakeholder engagement in reaching the BR’s objectives?
- How (approaches, tools) do you engage with different stakeholders for the activities of the BR (entry points)? Do you address marginalized groups (youth, women) in a different manner?
- How are benefits/costs shared among stakeholders; is the sharing of benefits/costs an issue or a source of conflict?
- How does the BR ensure ongoing cooperation between stakeholders with different interests?
- Are there (protracted) conflicts of interests between stakeholders in the BR (e.g., water access and land tenure)? Is the zonation a matter of conflict?
- Does the BR take part in negotiating/moderating/reaching consensus between the different interests of different stakeholders? How do you do this?
- What other mechanisms and institutions (e.g., justice system) for conflict resolutions within the landscape exist (beyond the BR)?
- What recommendations could you give others working in landscapes with regard to factors for the success/failure of stakeholder cooperation?
- Information, communication, acceptance, and Capacity Building
- What information is needed to encourage that stakeholders accept and support the BR?
- How are the BR communities sensitized towards the BR and its functions (which communication tools are used)?
- What type of capacity building (and capacity building for whom) is important to achieve the goals of the BR (sustainable development)?
- What are the obstacles and success factors concerning capacity building?
- To what extent does the BR contribute to providing information and capacity building? Apart from what you can do, what else would be important to best provide the necessary information to stakeholders?
- Landscapes are constantly exposed to transformative change (due to population dynamics, climate change, etc.). What does this mean for the BR in terms of information and capacity building?
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The term landscape is used by several scientific disciplines drawing on a wide range of definitions and concepts [1,2]. Considering a number of definitions developed more recently by various authors [1,2,3,4], we understand landscapes as dynamic, interactively developing social-ecological systems that often combine a mosaic of alternative land uses and different governance structures.
Today, 79 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves have been designated in 29 African countries .
This synthesis mainly draws on the work of [3,12,42] Sayer et al. , who developed a set of 10 principles to guide the process of decision-making and reconciling competing land uses in landscapes. Representing a consensus view of professional institutions, these principles were also discussed at the 15th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advise of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) and later accepted by the CBD [3,43]. Based on a comprehensive review of landscape literature, Reed et al. develop five key aspects of an effective landscape approach. Ros–Tonen et al. synthesized five preconditions and three enabling conditions for adaptive landscape approaches and applied them to analyze the landscape governance potential of co-management systems for reforestation in Ghana.
|Mount Mulanje, Malawi||Vhembe, South Africa||Lake Bosomtwe, Ghana||Mono, Benin/Togo|
|Year of designation||2000||2009||2016||2017|
|Ecosystem/landscape||Mountain forest and surrounding lowlands||Savannah, agro–cultural landscape||Lake, forest, mountain||Alluvial plain and river delta and bank areas|
|Surface area, terrestrial and marine (km2)||563||30,101||287||3463|
|Population in the area affected by biosphere reserve activities||350,000||1,500,000||50,000||2,000,000|
|Main economic activities of the local population||Small-scale agriculture (crop production, fruit trees, tea, beekeeping, bamboo, fish-farming)||Small-scale and large-scale agriculture (fruit trees, vegetables), trade||Farming, fishing and tourism||Small-scale agriculture (oil palm and coconut palms), pasture, forestry and fishing|
|Organization in charge of management||Mount Mulanje Conservation Trust||Vhembe Biosphere Reserve||Lake Bosomtwe Community Resource Management Area||8 associations (for core and buffer zone); community/territorial authorities for transition zone|
|Focus of biosphere reserve activities||Mountain conservation, green economy activities||Community sensitization for conservation and sustainable development, education (youth)||Research, especially on climate change, environmental education for schools and universities||Capacity development on conservation, small-scale agriculture, agro-forestry, fishing, trade|
|Linking conservation and sustainable development (examples of measures)||Fostering partnerships among conservation and development organizations and with private sector; promoting sustainable supply chains; demonstration projects||Community sensitization for conservation and development through demonstration projects; interlinking biosphere reserve concept with general livelihood matters; capacity-building workshops for local communities||Community sensitization for conservation and sustainable development through demonstration projects; capacity-building workshops for local communities||Stakeholder projects with regard to sustainable resource use, community sensitization|
|Link to other/superior administrative or political levels (examples)||Member in 57 local to national committees, including traditional and local government bodies||Limpopo Province Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism; District authorities; National MAB Committee; National Department of Environmental Affairs||District councils, Water Resources Commission, Lake Bosomtwe Community Resource Management Area Committees, Bosomtwe District Assembly, Bosomtwe Freho District Assembly, Environmental Protection Agency||Community authorities in Benin and territorial authorities in Togo and close links to the responsible national ministries|
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Hedden-Dunkhorst, B.; Schmitt, F. Exploring the Potential and Contribution of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves for Landscape Governance and Management in Africa. Land 2020, 9, 237. https://doi.org/10.3390/land9080237
Hedden-Dunkhorst B, Schmitt F. Exploring the Potential and Contribution of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves for Landscape Governance and Management in Africa. Land. 2020; 9(8):237. https://doi.org/10.3390/land9080237Chicago/Turabian Style
Hedden-Dunkhorst, Bettina, and Florian Schmitt. 2020. "Exploring the Potential and Contribution of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves for Landscape Governance and Management in Africa" Land 9, no. 8: 237. https://doi.org/10.3390/land9080237