Community-Based Natural Resource Management in Botswana


  • J.E. Mbaiwa


The community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) program in Botswana has been ongoing for almost two decades. It aims at achieving biodiversity conservation and rural development, especially improved rural livelihoods. The objective of this chapter is to assess whether CBNRM has been successful in achieving its goals of biodiversity conservation and improved rural livelihoods in Botswana. The chapter also investigates the effectiveness of the CBNRM institutional framework in ensuring that CBNRM achieves its goals. Both primary and secondary data sources were collected and analyzed. Results suggest that CBNRM in Botswana largely involves wildlife-based tourism activities such as photographic and safari hunting. CBNRM offers local communities the opportunity to participate in tourism development and natural resource conservation. In the 20 years of its implementation in Botswana, CBNRM has mixed results. That is, some projects have relatively succeeded in achieving either biodiversity conservation or improved rural livelihoods (e.g. employment creation, generation of income, provision of social services) while other projects have collapsed. There are factors that explain the performance of each project (e.g. availability of skilled personnel or lack of capacity building, reinvestment of CBNRM revenue or misappropriation of funds, strong community cohesion or lack of it). Therefore, it is concluded that the success or failure of CBNRM in Botswana depends on several factors which include the effectiveness of the institutional framework of individual CBNRM projects. In this regard, CBNRM should be judged based on the political, social and economic factors of individual projects. However, the success of some CBNRM projects in Botswana demonstrates that CBNRM can be an effective tool to achieve conservation and improved livelihoods.