Community Natural Resource Governance - image

Community Natural Resource Governance

© David Wilkie/WCS

What is Community Natural Resource Governance?

It is a socio-political system, by which communities (i.e., groups with something in common) define and decide, through a process that equitably represents the interests of community members, what is and what is not acceptable use of natural resources, and how the group ensures that community members and others (i.e., non-members) comply with these policies, rules, and regulations for acceptable natural resource use behavior.

For more information on these two definitions, please download this document.

Why is community natural resource governance critically important?

Our planet has experienced five previous extinction events, with the most recent being responsible for the disappearance of the dinosaurs. If we are to minimize the impact of growing threats to the ecological systems essential to human life and prevent the planet’s sixth mass extinction, we need to protect the last remaining areas on earth that are relatively intact.

Effectively, equitably, and sustainably managing at least 30 percent of the world on land and sea by 2030--a vision now held widely around the world--is one such way forward. Attaining this goal of “30 by 30” cannot happen without the conservation leadership of the Indigenous Peoples and local communities whose territories encompass well over 25 percent of the Earth’s surface. Additionally, governments, businesses, grantmakers, and civil society must support that leadership by recognizing, respecting, and protecting territorial rights and traditional stewardship.

Wise stewardship of natural resources by Indigenous Peoples and local communities within their traditional territories already has had a profoundly positive impact on global biodiversity conservation. Yet the rights of native peoples to their lands and waters have been undermined throughout history. To effectively combat forces that drive the unsustainable and even illegal use of traditionally held natural resources, Indigenous Peoples and local communities must have the authority, capacity, and power to effectively govern access to and use of their lands and waters.

So how can individuals and civil society groups work respectfully with Indigenous Peoples and local communities to support their own efforts to secure and exercise their rights to their lands and waters? This section of the website was developed to provide basic information to Community Support Partners about community-led conservation and offer some practical guidance on their roles and responsibilities when engaging with Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Theory of Change

This theory of change is intended to serve as an organizing framework to help guide, focus, and align efforts to strengthen community natural resource governance. It presents the key roles, factors, and relationships among the primary actors who may be involved in improving governance to ensure effective management. This Theory of Change is not intended to be complete or perfect at this time; rather it is a “good enough” high-level, abstracted model that can be adapted as needed to specific contexts or initiatives.

In sum, the theory of change states: If communities have the motivation to work together and have the knowledge, capacity, and power to exercise their legitimate authority to govern natural resources within their lands and waters, And if their needs for financial, political, and technical support are met by partners and the government, They will be able to put in place an effective governance system to manage natural resources sustainably and for their benefit over the long term.



Founding Partners

This website has been generously hosted by the Conservation Social Science Partnership