Building the capacity of local communities and stakeholders for a dialogue towards sustainable livelihoods in tune with wildlife protection and ecosystem management in Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA)
Established in 1959 as a multiple land use area, with wildlife coexisting with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing, Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) was inscribed on the World Heritage List for its natural values in 1979 and for its cultural values in 2010.
In late 2012, as part of the initiative to revise the act governing the NCA and review the management framework of the property, the Government of Tanzania initiated a programme in cooperation with the UNESCO Office in Dar es Salaam to develop a renewed approach to multiple land-use of NCA. The programme, centred on a dialogue process, set out to balance the sustainable livelihoods of communities with the goals of wildlife protection, ecosystem management and tourism sector. The activities envisaged included to improve the knowledge on pastoralism and conservation, to facilitate a stakeholder dialogue to integrate their views in the process, and to develop new methods for community participation, joint management and benefit sharing. The dialogue process is meant to foster mutual understanding of diverse perspectives in NCA, feeding into the efforts to develop a holistic sustainable management strategy for the NCA.
Within this framework, this request specifically aimed to:
- prepare key stakeholders for the dialogue process through increased knowledge and understanding of the correlation between local population (culture, economy, demography, pastoralism and livestock) and the wildlife, ecology and conservation of the site;
- map the issues and perceptions, roles and responsibilities, and ideas about the change needed in the separate groups of stakeholders to feed into the dialogue process;
- ensure that each stakeholder group is well represented to allow for a relevant, competent and constructive participation in the dialogue process.
Building on the prior community consultations to select representatives to the Community Resource Group completed in January 2014, two preparatory workshops were held from 24 to 29 March 2014 in Karatu (Tanzania), one for the Community Resource Group, and another for the Pastoralist Council, who is the institutional representative of communities within the NCA Authority.
The aim of the workshops, which covered presentations, group exercises and plenary discussions, was to build mutual trust, share information and knowledge, and gather the communities’ perspectives on challenges and opportunities in NCA. Apart from exercises looking at the history of NCA and stakeholder mapping, the workshops focused on analysing issues and discussing their root causes. The final session resulted in the elaboration of a list of potential solutions for more sustainable livelihoods of communities in NCA. This included sustainable pastoralism, as well as the identification of a wide range of potential livelihood options ranging from small scale enterprise development, community-based conservation, small-scale traditional horticulture, and benefit sharing for improved social services.
At both workshops, participants expressed their appreciation, highlighting how their perspective changed during the workshop from suspicion to a more confident view of the dialogue process as a genuine opportunity.
A third consultation workshop held in Arusha (Tanzania) on 3-4 July 2014 brought together a wide range of government stakeholders with mandates relevant to NCA. Experts were also invited from various academic and professional organizations, government institutions and the UN.
The workshop touched on relevant subjects such as governance, conservation and multiple land‐use, as well as general issues related to livelihoods. All participants were committed to sharing of knowledge, identifying issues and discussing potential solutions for communities in NCA and much welcomed the opportunity to do so. It became evident that the dialogue process needed to promote exchange of ideas and information and cooperation also inside the government itself, for the benefit of NCA, its conservation and development.
In addition to this International Assistance, the project has received financial support from the Government of Tanzania, UNESCO, the Swiss Development Agency, the UNESCO-Netherlands Funds‐in‐Trust cooperation and the Government of Liechtenstein.