Peace parks: international aspirations vs. local agendas

Peace parks: international aspirations vs. local agendas

Explores objections of local communities in Zimbabwe to the establishment of cross-border Peace Parks

Policy briefing looking at the tensions between conservationist plans to establish Peace Parks - international wildlife areas linking countries - and the priorities of local people.

Within Zimbabwe, some of the problems are:

  • the new areas to be incorporated in Peace Parks are populated
  • rural people are often negative towards wildlife and National Parks
  • local communities are strongly differentiated, with potential conflicts between cattle owners and non-owners, and between irrigated agriculture and wildlife
  • household incomes of many of these areas are largely driven by money from other places (e.g. remittances, border jumping to South Africa) – thus some stakeholders will have little interest in local natural resources
  • district governments may have aspirations that are very different from those of local people

The policy brief concludes the following:

  • a great deal of attention will need to be paid to local communities, local councils and the different interests within the communities
  • Peace Parks will have to incorporate people within their boundaries
  • the economic benefits to be derived from Peace Parks will have to be substantial to counter the negative attitudes towards wildlife and National Parks
  • benefits must also be substantial if the interests of the whole community are to be engaged (given that much of the present wealth in the areas is derived from outside)

[adapted from authors]