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Causes and Consequences of Displacement Decision-making in Banhine National Park, Mozambique

by Dear, Chad Edward

Abstract (Summary)

Decision-making is looming regarding the displacement of people resident in and reliant on resources in strict protected areas around the world. This research investigated the causes and consequences of displacement decision-making in Banhine National Park (BNP), Mozambique. I investigated causes using political-economic, actor-centered, and post-structural perspectives on power. I investigated consequences using the Impoverishment Risk and Reconstruction (IRR) framework. Methods included interviews, focus groups, and observations involving BNP-area residents; park staff; district, provincial, and national-level government employees from various sectors; NGO and World Bank staff; and private consultants. I also analyzed numerous government and donor policies, plans, reports, and legal contracts.

A major finding is that district-level government officials promoted the displacement of BNP-area residents and their resettlement into villages outside the park. These actions were inconsistent with legal agreements between the Mozambican government and the World Bank regarding the World Bank's safeguard policy on involuntary resettlement.

Factors influencing displacement decision-making included: insufficient coordination; pressure to reduce poverty; a dominant idea that dispersed rural populations should be concentrated; diverging perceptions of the voluntariness of government resettlement efforts; rapid decentralization of decision-making to the district level; and a dominant idea that wildlife would be introduced to BNP, that human-wildlife conflicts were inevitable, and that residents would, therefore, have to move out of the park. In response to these factors, district employees promoted displacement that exposed BNP-area resident to a system of impoverishment risks and for which mitigation was insufficient.

Connections between the causes and consequences of displacement decision-making are complex, but are necessary to understand to minimize displacement or to successfully resettle displaced people. Debates regarding inhabited versus uninhabited protected area approaches that do not account for broader and more powerful political factors (such as poverty reduction, decentralization, and villagization agendas) may be of little significance to real decisions regarding displacement. Protected area management agencies and conservation NGOs unaware of or unwilling to address such political factors will likely be held negligent in the poverty caused by displacement decisions.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Alan E. Watson; Charles M. Breen; Jeffrey A. Gritzner; Wayne A. Freimund; Jill M. Belsky; Stephen F. McCool

School:The University of Montana

School Location:USA - Montana

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:college of forestry and conservation

ISBN:

Date of Publication:10/01/2008

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