Simon STROBELT, Institut für Geographie, Universität Hamburg, Germany
Manasseh MANDE, Institut für Geographie, Universität Hamburg, Germany
Michèle VON KOCEMBA, Institut für Geographie, Universität Hamburg, Germany
The East African network of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (BRs) aims to develop holistic landscape management approaches under the strong participation of local communities, that balances environmental, economic and social needs to reduce the high pressure on the natural resources, to conserve the rich biodiversity and to foster the sustainable development of the region. However, many East African BRs are characterized by a general lack of monitoring and evaluation data about their long-term effectiveness. To overcome this research gap, to develop an efficient evaluation model and to consider long-term strategies for increasing the efficiency of UNESCO BRs in East Africa, we conducted a stakeholder- and community-based case study on the effectivity of the Mount Elgon BR in Uganda with a focus on its three functions. Our results reveal that on both community and stakeholder side, little knowledge about the existence of the BR is present. Moreover, the cultural and socio-economic interests of the local population are not sufficiently covered by the implemented landscape management strategy and a heavily militarized protection of the alleged core zone threatens the livelihood base and safety of the local population as well as the overall peace of the region. We conclude that awareness creation, community participation, adequate resource access and compensation mechanisms under the framework of a revised and reactivated UNESCO BR approach are urgently required to ensure successful biodiversity and nature conservation as well as conflict resolution/human wellbeing in the area in the future.
Mots clés : East Africa|Conservation conflicts|Community participation|UNESCO Biosphere Reserves