Decentralized Environmental Governance: A reflection on its role in shaping Wildlife Management Areas in Tanzania
Kiwango, Wilhelm A.
Komakech, Hans C.
Tarimo, Thadeo M.C.
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Decentralised environmental governance has become a catchy solution to environmental problems caused by the failure of traditional centralised environmental governance. It promises to transfer power and authority, improve efficiency, equity, accountability, and inclusion of local people who were previously excluded by the command and control model. This paper examines the efficacy of decentralised environmental governance as an alternative approach to wildlife conservation in Tanzania. We analyse the policy and legal framework for Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in Tanzania over the past two decades as a case study on current practice and its implications. We find that despite the rhetoric of community-based conservation (CBC), the wildlife industry remains heavily under state control, while the promises of CBC remain elusive. Questioning the effectiveness of decentralised environmental governance through CBC, we recommend that actors return to the drawing board and re-negotiate their positions, interests, power and authority if meaningfully decentralised environmental governance is to be achieved.