Community Based Natural Resource Management


IUCN and CBNRM in Botswana

IUCN's engagement in CBNRM activities dates back to the end of the 1990s, when IUCN initiated a series of workshops and a National Conference on CBNRM. In particular, three workshops were held between December 1998 and June 1999 and addressed community mobilisation, enterprise development, and natural resource management. The National Conference took place in July 1999. These discussions led to the following significant results:

IUCN's NGO Support Programme (1996-2001, extension 2002) targets environmental NGOs in the country and focuses specifically on capacity building (strategic environmental analysis) and networking. NGOs together in Francistown (August 1999) and Gaborone (August 2000) indicated that one of their key focal areas for the future is CBNRM and providing support (as service providers) to CBOs. NGOs made specific mention of the need to address the land and resources tenure issue which is fundamental to the CBNRM discourse and has so far not been sufficiently addressed by any of the interested parties.

At the regional level, IUCN Botswana supervised the CBNRM Special Studies Botswana component of the SADC Natural Resources Management Project (implemented by IUCN in cooperation with the Harare-based organisations WWF and the African Resources Trust - ZimTrust). The Botswana country studies over the past two years covered research on community mobilisation and enterprise development; a separate study on power relations in CBNRM was recently concluded (in print by WWF Harare).

Another recent regional activity of which IUCN Botswana provided the local focal point function was the ART project on community drama and CBNRM extension. This World Bank/GEF funded initiative has developed plays based on real CBNRM experiences in each country. The plays (with local actors) will be performed for communities in areas with key CBNRM potential and the audience will be engaged in an active discussion on the message of the play after each performance (CBNRM extension component). The project is currently ongoing; the actors in Botswana have focused their activities on Maun, Makgadikgadi and Kasane areas and a regional road show (September - December 2000) performed the play "A Light in the Night of President Khaya Afrikha" in Kasane, Maun and Gaborone.

National CBNRM Forum

In the National Forum on CBNRM government, NGOs, CBOs, private sector and the donor community (observers) are equally represented. The Forum ad hoc committee had various meetings and the Forum was officially established during its Inaugural Meeting on the 30th - 31st of May 2000. Since than, a National Forum meeting has been held in June 2001 and the Second National Conference has been held in November 2001. IUCN has been the chair until the Second National CBNRM Conference and will be secretariat until the Biennial CBNRM Conference in 2003; funding has been secured from GEF (Small Grants Programme) and Hivos to fund the operations and activities of the Forum. The Report of the Inaugural Meeting was produced together with a Status Report on CBNRM in Botswana.

For more information on CBNRM and the series of publications please visit the CBNRM Support Programme Webpage at

IUCN/SNV CBNRM Support Programme (1999-2003)

The Community Based Natural Resource Management Support Programme is a joint initiative by SNV-Netherlands Development Organisation and IUCN - The World Conservation Union. It is built on IUCN's expertise in information sharing, documentation of project approaches, and establishing dialogue between Non-Governmental Organisations, Government and private sector on a national, regional and international level and on SNV's experience in CBNRM pilot projects at the grassroots level. The three main objectives of the Programme are:

The first component is based on the belief that the establishment of the Community Based Organisation Network (BOCOBONET) will create a forum through which rural community organisations and support organisations can meet.

The second element is built on the analysis that the implementation of CBNRM is still in its infant stage and approaches concerning community mobilisation, participatory management of natural resources and enterprise development are not yet well developed. Many lessons can be learned from existing experiences, which could be brought together and further developed into project methodologies or approaches. A series of CBNRM publications is available for download from the CBNRM Support Programme Website and in booklet form at IUCN and SNV offices in Gaborone.

The third element is based on the understanding that improved dialogue between NGOs, private sector and Government would ensure a more effective and efficient support to communities. A series of stakeholder workshops and a national CBNRM conference have been held. Please see News for more details

Click here to visit the CBNRM Support Programme Website and/or send an email directly to the CBNRM Support Programme.

IUCN-CBNRM-Missing link Project (2001-2006)

The main aim of the "Missing Link" is to introduce a new approach to the CBNRM programme, which until today has mainly focused on community activities with household benefits only. In Botswana, the drawbacks of inappropriate resource-waste-water management are very severe as a result of the arid climate, limited water resources and non-affordability of conventional systems by significant numbers of the population. Existing approaches to natural resource management, wastewater and sanitation are largely non-viable and non-affordable to a majority of people living outside major centres and do not offer an approach to a sustainable society / livelihoods.
In order to address long-term environmental sustainability, there is a need to get a better handle on how households and communities utilise their environment and to identify an integrated way forward, which would comprehend many more resources than wildlife. This project aims to directly getting to household level and by focusing on issues as: natural resource management, waste management, environmental sanitation (including the use of sanitised matter for growing purposes), water (re-) use, etc., as practised by individual households, a better appreciation about environmental management and natural resources will be developed for the "bigger" community. This pilot-project project is divided in 3 major parst: a) Household activities and programmes developed and implemented; b) developmenet and implementation of Community Environmental Action Plans; c) Capacity Building and Advocacy. 20 Households in three communities are involved in the initial piloting phase: Paje (Central District), East Hanahai and West Hanahai (Ghanzi District).

The "Missing Link" project comes out of a broad cooperation between IUCN managing the project, PTB (Permaculture Trust of Botswana) hosting the field component, GTZ (German Technical Agency) funding the project, and the DSWM (Department of Sanitation and Waste Management - Government of Botswana) and the DED (Deutscher Entwicklungs Dienst) supporting it.

Regional IUCN initiatives in Botswana

IUCN-CBNRM Archive: SADC - Natural Resource Management Project

IUCN has been co-ordinating and managing the SADC Natural Resources Management Project (SADC NRMP) in partnership with SADC, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the African Resources Trust (ART). The Project seeked to facilitate an improved understanding and technical knowledge of CBNRM amongst CBNRM practitioners in the region by improving the co-ordination amongst existing CBNRM projects and by developing a communications and training network in the region that improves CBNRM projects in Botswana and 4 other core countries in the region and allows further projects to be established. In addition to that the project worked on strengthening the capacity of the SACD TCU in Malawi to fulfil its management and administrative mandate within the NRMP, through the introduction of effective operational procedures for communications, training, planning, as well as monitoring and evaluation of NRM activities.

The IUCN Botswana Office facilitated the SADC NRMP Special Studies Project for Botswana. The local researcher was supervised by a small team of experts consisting of the Department of Wildlife & National Parks, NRMP and IUCN officers. In 1998, research focused on community mobilisation experiences; in 1999 the focus was on enterprise development.

In addition to the above, IUCN provides capacity building for natural resource managers, and participatory training of trainers, integrate CBNRM in all relevant activities, and seeks to promote the concept through lobbying and advocacy. For more information go to the IUCN Regional Office for Southern Africa Website.

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Last Updated: October 1, 2003
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