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Private conservation areas include lands owned by one person, family or company with a self-declared conservation strategy. Community land must be communally owned land under Trust, Group Ranch or registered conservancy, be recognized by the community of landowners, and actively participate in conservation of their land.

What are the stated objectives and desired outcomes of different actors? What problems or dilemmas concern different actors?

Decision-making process Mechanism for inclusion or consultation. Define the orchestrating power center. Formal rules, legal instruments, policies and property rights Legal framework for wildlife ownership and management.

Legal framework for land ownership and access. Outcomes Rights and access over wildlife. Amount of land under various conservation approaches.

Wildlife population trends. To examine the role of drivers originating at multiple scales, we pay attention to three scales of potential influence.

First, we document global environmental trends, analysing their influence on the development of Kenyan conservation policy particularly as directing the interest and priorities of international donors and multi-national NGOs.

Second, we review Kenyan national wildlife institutions and the resulting policy and legislation produced. Finally, we explore the changing experiences and participation of community institutions and their formal involvement in wildlife conservation.

While reviewing all conservancies formally registered KWCA, is beyond the scope of the project, we draw specific experiences and insights from areas including the Maasai Mara, Amboseli and northern Kenya where conservancies were first developed and protect some of the most critical land for biodiversity.

This approach places recent phenomena in the larger historical framework of drivers and changes in the conservation policy of Kenya.

The first author collected data over the course of an eight-month field season in Kenya from May - December Primary documents considered in this analysis included: conservation NGO reports detailing policy direction, conference proceedings from major conservation meetings in Kenya 27 and at the global policy level IUCN, CBD , newspaper articles reporting on new legislation or government leadership appointments Kenya Wildlife Service, Wildlife Management and Conservation Department and the Ministry of Environment , official government reports, and all national conservation and wildlife policy documents from Government documents include legislation passed into law, policy statements gazetted by the government and draft policy or legislative working documents shared in public consultation.

All original documents were obtained from direct government sources and therefore actual laws and policies are referenced instead of Kenya National Archive series.

Policy documents from were reviewed through secondary scholarly literature. Document analysis consisted of systematic coding of all primary documents facilitated by NVivo software, focused on characterizing a set of key governance attributes as described above and outlined in Table In total 1, pages were analysed.

In addition to the documentary evidence, the first author conducted nine in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Interviewees were purposefully selected Patton based on their current or past positions within government, legislative organizations, lobbying groups, NGOs or Kenya Wildlife Service.

These specialists had a minimum of 15 years working in Kenyan conservation and represent some of the most influential positions related to CBC and national wildlife policy.

The stringent inclusion criteria for interviewees resulted in a small sampling pool of potential participants. Therefore, nine interviews represent an exhaustive list of the potential participants for this investigation.

Interviewees were asked about their experiences regarding recent Kenyan wildlife policy, their views on the conditions that contributed to the emergence of conservancies, and the role of NGOs within Kenyan conservation policy.

When appropriate, the role of their representative organization was also explored in relation to community conservation.

All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim for thematic analysis. Nvivo software facilitated an open, line-by-line coding analysis to identify emergent themes Charmaz related to the development and implementation of conservation legislation in Kenya.

Insights from these interviews provided a means to confirm the analytical interpretations arising from the document analysis as well as to provide nuanced empirical insights into the context for key governance changes in this region.

Quotations from interviewees are used to 28 illustrate key themes and claims made in the analysis. To preserve confidentiality, interviewees are referred to by number and affiliation e.

Through this analysis, we identify five distinct governance eras Table The first era begins with the establishment of Kenya as a British Colony in and follows colonial policy development until The second era commences with the establishment of National Parks legislation in and continues through independence in , ending in The third era begins with the introduction of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act in In the third era, we explore the motivations to introduce the hunting ban and the changes in wildlife governance for the next 12 years.

In the fourth era, we explore the first large-scale attempts to organize communities and non-state land towards formal conservation engagement up until The last era explores contemporary wildlife policy from - It begins with the attempts to overhaul the Wildlife Bill from - and then examines the approved changes within the Wildlife Act of and Community Land Bill in The first stated order of business regarding wildlife was to formalize control over the poorly regulated ivory trade, and enable tariffs for game hunting Waweru Hunting concessions were maintained for the privileged elite including the archetypal explorer, the pioneer, and the trader Maforo , almost all of whom were focused on big game hunting.

Ordinances were constructed to regulate the extraction of wildlife valued primarily as a commodity and source of entertainment for the white hunters Steinhart This ideology 29 was implemented through the introduction of a Game Department and Game Sanctuaries, as well as licencing and permits fees to hunt wildlife for detailed analysis see Kelly Game ordinances were directed by the British government in London which was beginning to demonstrate concern regarding rampant extraction of wildlife.

This convention is considered one of the earliest formal international agreements on nature. The Convention of made explicit recommendations on hunting intensities of specific African species, some of which reduced permit and hunting numbers in colonial territories.

However, the Game Department in Kenya was hampered by inefficiencies and minimal staff, resulting in limited implementation of policy initiatives Waithaka Consultation with people affected by the creation of game sanctuaries or hunting policies was rarely conducted during this era.

Africans were excluded from hunting within game sanctuaries through laws that made it illegal to engage in traditional hunting practices and gain access to firearms.

The dominant view of the time held by the colonial game department was that nature existed as a pristine landscape without people.

The colonial administration looked down on traditional African customs and practices as primitive, and steeped in ritualized non-Christian 30 ways that mismanaged the natural environment Barrow and Fabricius Furthermore, the colonial approach of dividing and fixing land boundaries contributed to delineating ethnic lines within indigenous communities and preferential treatment of certain communities only strengthened competition and discontent between ethnic groups Bonte and Galaty , Waller and Sobania The stated objectives of the colonial government in many early policies focused on developing a profitable agricultural industry in Kenya.

Between the railroad, military costs and expansive outposts for the hunting trade, the colony had been running a deficit for years and the debt was being carried by the British tax payer Waithaka The colony was under pressure to create local industries to support expenditures and industrial agriculture was viewed as the most viable solution.

One of the policies which enabled the colonial government to achieve this goal was enacting the Crown Land Ordinance which effectively made all uninhabited land property of the crown Matheka The establishment of Crown land made it legal for the government to remove people from their ancestral lands.

In particular, nomadic pastoralist like the Maasai were manipulated into multiple agreements including the Maasai Agreement of and which forcibly removed communities from fertile land Hughes Much of this land was then gifted by the crown to European settlers to cultivate with skills and expertise the colonial government did not entrust with locals.

The promotion of white settlement by the colonial administration created the foundation for inequality in Kenyan conservation policy.

Most of the ordinances and proclamations from were created with disproportional influence by the settler community Kelly Legislation was designed to protect the economic interests of the Europeans, often at the cost of local communities.

This resulted in the intentional refusal to facilitate African participation in economic or political development Fumagalli On multiple occasions ordinances were revoked or changed to accommodate the needs of the settlers to protect their crops or benefit directly from wildlife on their lands.

Disputes centered on grazing access for cattle and human-wildlife conflict. In one example2, the Samburu District government of called for the destocking of Samburu cattle due to perceived conflict with wildlife.

Outraged, the Samburu people demanded that wildlife be culled as well, resulting in , then zebras removed from the game reserve.

Unsatisfied, the Samburu chiefs threatened the government with their morans warriors and organized dances to demonstrate their resistance Spencer These conflicts were common across many pastoral areas and resulted in the government introducing a game policy committee in in the hopes of remediating conflicts with communities Matheka Initial colonial policies set the stage for deeply embedded precedents which would have implications for wildlife policy over the next years.

First, the physical alienation of communities from nature and wildlife was the beginning of wildlife custodianship solidified as state-owned and managed.

Second, the ideological separation of humans from nature and particularly the alienation of local communities from the environment of their home initiated the dominance of western epistemologies and the colonial casting of African practices.

Finally, it began the prioritization of wildlife for the benefit of the tourist, foreigner or as an export commodity without any regard for the role of nature in African culture, heritage or subsistence utilization Bedelian, For detailed accounts see Neumann and Galaty Wildlife numbers at the time were decreasing at concerning rates and competing demands between agriculture and game preservation were causing major conflicts in land-use policy.

The convention, also known as the London Convention of , was organized by SPFE in response to declining wildlife populations and failing conservation policy in many colonies including the British colony of Kenya Neumann The SPFE and many of its supporters from other European organizations were in search of a more permanent solution to land protection for wildlife in the colonies.

The London Convention of was one of many meetings at the international level of colonial powers. While the second world war delayed efforts, these meetings eventually culminated to the Paris convention which founded the International Union for the Protection of Nature today known as the IUCN — International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Together these committees, conventions and organizations served to consolidate growing concern for the preservation of wildlife and exerted their influence to promote policies they believed would stem the wildlife decreases worldwide UNESCO Secretariat for the French Government, Mervyn Cowie was at the center of the public campaign for a National Parks system in Kenya.

Cowie was a district councilor in Nairobi from and was eventually appointed as the 33 chairman of the National Parks Committee in He was one of the first to promote the value of a National Parks system for the tourism industry.

In his own memoirs Cowie recounts his experiences of feeding lion cubs by hand to keep them nearby and then bringing high-profile visitors to see the animals up close.

He would use this opportunity to sell the idea of marketing wildlife experiences at National Parks in Kenya Cowie Cowie achieved his vision in when the National Parks Ordinance was assented by the government and a National Park's board of trustees gazetted.

At this point, land ownership could broadly be placed into three categories: crown land, which the governor could automatically declare a National Park; African reserves, which needed the approval of the Native Lands Trust Board; and the white-highlands, which required approval from the Highlands Board R.

Matheka, Under the advisement of the game policy commission the Kenya National Parks Trustees was set up to oversee the administration of national parks and park adjunct areas Matheka , Steinhard The National Parks Ordinance of is the first time the rights of local and indigenous communities are mentioned in colonial wildlife policy.

In theory, the creation of a National Park on community land required the approval of the Native Lands Trust Board, which was mandated to represent the interest of indigenous populations.

While this permitted the first avenue for communities to reach the policy arena, there is little evidence that local interests were considered equally with colonial and state objectives Kabiri Pronouncements and practices they usually say you cannot do this you as a local should not hunt now, areas have been set aside as national parks and you cannot enter the national park, you cannot graze there, you cannot even draw water there you cannot enter there by foot you must be in a 4x4 car.

While communities were still rarely included in the forums of power and decision making, the resolution to entrust management of critical wildlife areas to a devolved government structure indicated the severity of issues concerning effectiveness of centralized control and the growing pressure to accommodate for communities living with wildlife interviews.

These areas would eventually be the first to develop extensive community conservation movements adjacent to the Reserves.

Kenya gained independence in and the international community only increased its pressure for Kenya to preserve its wildlife.

Concerns about the rights and interests of people affected by conservation activities began to take hold within the international wildlife agenda.

In Kenya became a signatory to the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources which as a fundamental principle encouraged signatories to adhere to the interests of the people in natural resource management Didi While the international community was concerned with Kenya protecting its wildlife and maintaining the protectionist legislation the British had enforced, Kenya was much more concerned with control over land.

Laws prior to primarily strengthened the rights of private and crown ownership. This left the majority of communities living on trust land which was controlled by the county councils rifled with corruption and illegal land deals Odote In the government introduced the Land Group Representatives Act Chapter , Laws of Kenya which was implemented in arid and semi-arid pastoral rangelands to impose communal land ownership structures for communities with shared grazing resources Ogolla and Mugabe 35 While the intention was to implement ranching concepts of systems production and commercialization Mwangi, the result was often elite capture, rangeland degradation and the eventual desire to subdivide Kibugi, The colonial ideology of wildlife and nature separate from humans was maintained in Kenyan policy upon independence.

From to most policies implemented by the British were maintained under the one-party national government. The only wildlife policy implemented during this period was the Sessional Paper No.

It indicated a hardening of land issues, and perpetuating tension between prioritizing agriculture over wildlife as a land-use policy.

This would foreshadow the commodification of wildlife in future decades Butt, The WCMA legislation banned all hunting practices outright and most forms of consumptive uses of wildlife.

The laws were intended to address declines in wildlife, especially elephant and rhinoceros, experienced across the county.

The legislations were so protectionist they resulted in stagnating the promise of economic benefits from wildlife that the policy foreshadowed Kabiri, b.

This radically changed the concept of killing an animal and created the poacher as the enemy to wage war against. The WCMA also introduced the concept of compensation for damage incurred by wildlife.

This included the loss or damage of crops, property, livestock, personal injury or death. While compensation initially indicated acknowledgment by the government of the costs of living with wildlife and the need to manage human-wildlife conflict, the implementation of the legal framework of compensation was rarely effectively or efficiently managed Ngure The loss of revenue from hunting focused all potential benefits from wildlife to tourism, limiting community access to benefits due to poorly devolved structures Western and Waithaka The legislation was developed with significant influence from large global funding bodies.

While there is strong evidence of international influence regarding policy and legislation, there is less evidence of institutional support to engage landowners and communities with the new wildlife department.

While the policy signalled potentially progressive changes for communities, it lacked the regulatory mechanisms to actuate participation of communities or effective benefit-sharing from wildlife revenues.

The conservation community was beginning to address the historical misalignment of social development and preservation of wildlife.

The Conservancy Strategy IUCN set the course for integrated development and conservation programs and justified the significant flow of international aid from the developed world to the developing world under these new principles Adams and Hutton The next decade would see the impacts of this shift with the reach of global conservation agendas extending beyond national policy to local and regional institutions and community initiatives Figure Proportion of land under State, Private and Community conservation approaches at important time-points for Kenyan conservation policy 39 Table Number of operational conservation areas under recognized conservation approaches at significant policy eras in Kenya Conservation Approach Year State 8 25 42 43 Private 3 12 21 27 Community 0 0 6 2.

Mounting international pressure and threats to remove international aid funding stimulated the softening of 38 years de facto one party state government.

This marked the beginning of a democratic transition in Kenyan politics which saw an increased participation of groups long marginalized and made illegal by former governments.

It is largely agreed that the former department was mismanaged and ineffective Interviews. KWS differed from the WCMA with the instatement of an independent board of trustees separate from the bureaucracy of the national government Interviews and increased militarization necessary to combat wildlife crimes Kabiri a.

For the first time the wildlife arm of the government began implementing programs specifically supporting communities, Kenyans and conservation on land outside of national parks.

These programs, coupled with growing support for landowner associations and investment opportunities for eco-tourism enterprises, encouraged the growth of community organization and participation in conservation Baskin KWS programs and eco-tourism investments laid significant groundwork for community conservation development, however changes to leadership in redirected priorities.

The transitions of directors prioritized militarization and law enforcement as the primarily method for stemming loss of elephants and rhino and community initiatives were promptly de-funded Interviews.

This left a vacuum of government support for community wildlife projects. Into this vacuum stepped the NGO world, beginning a variety of localized community experiments that took place across the country.

First, was the tourism investor or management partner with the desire to develop tourism enterprises outside of National Parks and Reserves.

Community areas were advantageous for new tourism products because they provided access to land with abundant wildlife without the technical restrictions imposed by formal protected areas Bedelian, ; Butt, Where land was not formalized into Group Ranches it was held as trust land managed by the County Councils Mwangi, ; Odote, Lastly, but by no means the least, communities began to demand more equitable benefit sharing and were seeking for new ways to mitigate elite capture within old land governance structures Kibugi, New conservation approaches supported by a third-party NGO offered fresh governance arrangements that many communities hoped would replace or overhaul corrupt and ineffective leadership in the Group Ranch Committee or Board of Trustees Interviews.

The explosion of conservation NGOs Figure also attracted a variety of animal rights and welfare activists who became prominent actors in national conservation lobbying.

Forums which organized these groups such as the Kenya Wildlife Working Group KWWG gained significant access and influence to high level politician, all the way to the president Kabiri a.

In considering also the trends in international conservation priorities, Kenya adopted the Langkawi Declaration on the Environment in This was issued by the heads of the commonwealth counties and essentially promised aid and development money from developed nations to developing countries in return for a commitment to environmental sustainability.

The current decade from has 11 newly established conservation NGOs. The GG Bill brought to life the contested issue of wildlife as a public interest owned by the state utilizing private land for detailed analysis of the bill see Kabiri a.

For the first time in wildlife policy the GG bill was recommending comprehensive mobilization to devolve rights and benefits of wildlife to local and indigenous communities who endured the cost of wildlife on their lands.

However, this attempt, and the many to follow would not pass into law. A former top KWS official explains the resistance to change in wildlife policy as boiling down to one problem: hunting.

It has been strongly suggested that the reason the Wildlife Act finally ascended was due to the explicit clauses strengthening the ban on all consumptive use of wildlife Interviews.

Compensation amendments proposed Increase in compensation specifically for wildlife damages Increases in compensation for human injuries, fatalities and damage to property.

Legalizes effective deterrence and control of problem animals. No timeframe for implementation detailed. Consumptive Use Re-legalized utilization — there are some provisions for wildlife on private land to acquire hunting permits All consumptive uses of wildlife maintained as banned.

Hunting of all wildlife and the sale of species remains illegal. Bird shooting is made illegal. Kenya Wildlife Service KWS Restructuring KWS leadership to include landowners Rights and Access Increase in benefit sharing to landowner associations Land owners private and community have rights to manage and use wildlife Penalties and Wildlife Crime Increases the severity of sentences upon conviction for domestic wildlife crimes.

It was clear that the KWS policies of the 90s had attempted to devolve some rights over wildlife to landowners, however the resulting implementation of those policies initially benefited individual landowners more than communities.

And that is a bigger one to achieve because it is quite amazing how because of our history, our colonial history, a lot of people still think conservancies are about some white Kenyans.

Significant influence regarding the legislation came from the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association KWCA , a membership organization for conservancies formed in for the explicit purpose of ensuring conservancies had a voice at the National level.

This is the first organized effort giving communities a voice at the national policy level. However, funding streams directly related to wildlife are currently limited at the county level and wildlife is not a direct responsibility of devolved local authorities Interviews.

During this era, international conservation actors were also moving forward with formal recognition of CBC. The addition of these two new management categories signaled a shift in the conceptualization of PAs from state-managed and nationally controlled resource conserved areas, to the acknowledgement of multiple objectives in conservation planning, participation of local communities, decentralized governance, and the empowerment of indigenous resource users.

Most communities in Kenya, especially pastoralist communities, did not traditionally hunt for subsistence use as the primary livelihood strategy.

The dominant influence of global conservation agendas has driven significant change in Kenyan conservation governance. This historical legacy of control and dominance of non-African actors in wildlife conservation continues to influence contemporary governance, demonstrating how conservation programs in Kenya remain deeply enmeshed in historical relationships.

Until recently, the voice of local and indigenous peoples has rarely had an avenue to influence wildlife policy.

The current shift to include communities in the conservation of wildlife did not emerge suddenly and the manner for community engagement remains moderated by powerful NGO partners.

The implications of these observations underscore three notable insights for understanding the emergence of community participation in wildlife policy in Kenya.

Communities whose culture and livelihoods are adapted to live alongside wildlife retain sophisticated environmental knowledge and values embedded in societal and local governance systems Nelson , Weiss et al.

Colonization introduced a radically divergent relationship with wildlife. By the colonial definition, nature existed only in the absence of people and was for the benefit extraction, entertainment or pleasure of the privileged elite.

By centralizing control of wildlife and implementing a hierarchal system of executing laws, even after independence, the state devalued local and indigenous relationships with nature and wildlife.

While some have argued that the conservation world has gone through a paradigm shift Adams and Hutton in terms of the approach to wildlife preservation, the analysis of historical drivers above presents a much more complex landscape in Kenya.

Contemporary wildlife policy has maintained many of the systems and values that represent a colonial relationship with wildlife.

For example, substitute tourism for hunting and the benefits of wildlife are captured and 48 controlled by the same group of people Butt, Reconciling the disconnect between the intention of support community initiatives while still prioritizing wilderness values presents a steep ideological boundary to overcome in order to both recognize and re-authenticate the co-existence of people and wildlife promised by the conservancy approach.

Until local, traditional and indigenous values shape conservation strategies, any conservation approach will be an imposed ideology, limiting genuine community participation and ownership.

Primarily through financial and political influence, international actors have determined the type of projects funded, ideas introduced and implemented, as well as shaped international agreements and conventions on biodiversity driving national policy.

Before there was on average five new conservation NGOs established every decade. Between and over 60 NGOs were established Figure Not only has the number and influence of conservation NGOs increased but the diversity of issues integrated within the objectives of conservation has expanded.

While communities are not without agency, NGOs in financial and institution control prioritize values external to local systems through governance design, projects prioritization and policy approaches described above which effectively keeps conservation in the colonial era.

The current influence of international NGOs and bilateral funding agencies suggests that Kenya has not yet been able to reconcile and address power inequities in terms of influence in shaping 49 the agenda and directing priorities within conservation governance.

More importantly, most CBC approaches in Kenya have not evolved beyond an implemented structure. Rather, the power of the partner NGO or private sector has reinforced policy structures that serve to credit conservation success to external actors and limit the role of communities.

The extensive and systematic power imbalance created by this relationship has normalized the control NGOs have regardless of the capacity and strength of the partner communities for which they support.

One of the systematic institutional flaws inherited from the colonial administration is the centralized, top-down approach to governance, which creates barriers for participation.

A centralized approach to governance was maintained through independence because it benefited the selected elite whom succeeded to power.

Lack of accountability continues to allow corporation, inefficiencies and ineffectiveness to plague government activities.

Collectively, this has undermined all assumption that the government and public institutions are accountable to the citizens of Kenya, limiting the strength of the potential relationship between government and communities within CBC.

The lack of accountability of government to its constituents evokes authoritarian restrictions on the ability to implement even progressive policy Kabiri Limiting participatory engagement ensures mistrust and distance between the state and the people, and has encouraged communities to look outside of government institutions to provide public and social services.

Conservation NGOs have utilized this opportunity to develop new forms of community arrangements which incorporate conservation and development trade-offs.

This results in considerable power concentrated in internationally funded NGOs that would otherwise reside with democratically elected governments.

There have been notable changes in contemporary policy which devolve power within the Kenyan government system. These include the new constitution in , the Wildlife Act, 50 and the Community Land Bill, all of which strengthen the rights of communities and devolve increased power to local authorities.

However, the same devolution process has not happened within the structure of KWS. The parastatal remains the centralized legal custodian of wildlife regardless of the ownership of land where wildlife resides.

KWS will require a realignment of structure, programs and objectives in order to support CBC and ensure wildlife remains central to the outcomes of CBC.

The lack of accountability has also manifested in the creation of significant gaps between legislation passed by the government and the implementation of these policies on the ground.

An excellent example of failure to implement policy which would support CBC is the issue of compensation structures for wildlife-related death, injury or property damage for detailed economic perspective see Norton-Griffiths and Said, Limited implementation undermines the relationship between the state and its citizens, and has continued to contribute to the ideological belief that wildlife benefits are controlled by the state and wildlife costs are endured by the community.

While weak government regulations have limited partnership and support with CBC, they have also left space for surprising creativity in the wildlife sector.

The emergence of private and eventually CBC outside of National Parks and Reserves was not promoted by a supportive policy climate.

Instead it emerged from isolated endeavours to find localized solutions to problems of increased wildlife poaching, extreme habitat degradation and decreasing wildlife numbers.

The impacts of these events continue to influence practices and outcomes in conservation in Kenya today. The analysis of historical drivers in wildlife governance highlights at least three challenges and opportunities facing the future of wildlife policy in Kenya and if addressed could alleviate the 51 current concerns presented above.

First, CBC is primarily a social development space and conservation outcomes need to be placed within the context of people and their livelihoods.

In Kenya, conservancies are legally mandated by wildlife legislation, which limits the ability for conservancies to address issues of development and human needs equitably.

There is a need to integrate wider legislative support including agriculture, forestry, health, education and infrastructure to understand and work within the conservancy structure to ensure there is broader legislative support for conservancy operations.

The social complexity of conservancies, which current policy lacks the nuance and integration to support, has the potential to hinder avenues for government partnerships in CBC.

Second, devolution presents some contradictions in policy for CBC. Jurisdiction over planning and land management has been devolved to the county governments, however authority over wildlife remains centrally controlled by KWS and the national government.

Benefits from wildlife at the national level are heavily focused on tourism yet locally tourism is not always possible or the best fit for the community.

Therefore, wildlife and tourism are mandated through national policy while land, water, and planning are mandated by local authorities. Separating land and wildlife with the prioritized benefit of tourism limits the potential options communities have for valuing wildlife and complicates the political process for engagement between communities and government.

Third, the lack of formal regulation by the government over conservancy development in Kenya for the last 25 years has created many localized solutions to complex problems, resulting in a diversity of approaches to community conservation which look very different across the country.

This local adaptation and national diversity should be viewed as a significant advantage. Policy moving forward would benefit from fostering an environment which encourages the continuation of localized experiments and customized adaptation strategies.

While at the same time improving learning exchanges between regions which promote best practices and local ingenuity.

This analysis has shown that community-based conservation in Kenya has been shaped by unreconciled issues of colonialism, elitism and bureaucratic centralized control.

Thus, while new CBC approaches hold hope for securing biodiversity objectives in human-inclusive landscapes, future legislation must protect the rights and authority of community landowners, while encouraging productive frameworks for collaboration, engagement and partnerships with a variety of allied actors.

Community-based conservation governance arose from a problematic history of primarily state-governed protected areas that often served as a coercive or fortress conservation strategy Dressler et al.

These former approaches to conservation tended to exclude affected human communities both from governance activities, including decision-making and planning, as well as from the land itself through dispossession and loss of access Kothari et al.

As a consequence, these exclusionary conservation approaches incurred injustices of unequal costs and benefits, limited participation opportunities for communities, decision-making authority centralized to powerful elites, as well as inadequate recognition of diverse worldviews and forms of knowledge West et al.

Outcomes of CBC initiatives are widely debated Kothari et al. The function of equity between scales in a complex network of actors and participant has been under examined, and the influence of power dynamics and historical contexts of relationship between actors has rarely been considered when addressing equity in CBC decision-making Friedman et al.

Relatedly, there is limited empirical evidence regarding the degree to which CBC is achieving equitable governance in practice, at a local scale of decision-making.

Exploring and clearly communicating the purpose and objectives for including equity as an integral part of conservation governance has emerged as a necessary step in addressing equity concerns Bennett et al.

Within CBC, consideration of equity can be seen to be motivated by both fundamental and instrumental objectives Law et al.

Fundamentally ethical rationales of environmental justice and the rights of indigenous and local peoples to control their land and be recognized for protecting their resources underpin the need to increase equity in CBC governance structure Martin et al.

Worldwide, CBC areas are often initiated by external actors in landscapes with strong cultural and indigenous connections to the land, coupled with high biodiversity Barrow et al.

Community-based approaches are often complex networks of actors working within an introduced governance structure, funded and potentially co-managed by partner NGOs, governments or private partners Alexander et al.

This paper takes a critical look at the current operation of Sera Community Conservancy in northern Kenya to explore issues of equitable procedures and recognition within arrangements of CBC governance.

The concept of equity in the context of formal protected areas is often categorized into the three dimensions of distribution, procedural and recognition, constituting an equity framework Schreckenberg et al.

Some researchers have also argued for context as an alternative dimension to recognition McDermott et al. Here, by paying attention to social histories, politics and culture, we include evidence of context within the dimensions of recognition and procedure.

Within each dimension there are specific elements constituting the guiding principles of assessing each dimension of equity Table 3.

Target 16 addresses the fair and equitable distribution of benefits. Target 18 addresses the respect towards customary rights and equitable representation of indigenous peoples in conservation Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, The majority of equity literature in conservation has focused on distributional equity because of the overemphasised egalitarian perspective, directly linking financial benefits to fair engagement in conservation Friedman et al.

Access to direct benefits has been the cornerstone of the CBC effort and foundational to the justification of commodifying natural resources on community land Butt, ; Calfucura, Looking forward towards sustainable CBC governance, there is a greater need to focus on procedural and recognition elements of equity to ensure CBC can function beyond and even within the overemphasized financial incentives and neoliberal values Damiens et al.

Drawing on the three dimensions of equity outlined above Table 3. This paper addresses the following specific question: How, and in what ways, are procedural and recognition dimension of equity operating within the introduced governance structure and practices of Sera Community Conservancy?

It comprises of two group ranch land units, Serolipi and Losesia4. The entire area is home to a semi-nomadic population of approximately 6, Samburu peoples NRT, Sera Conservancy is one of the first community institutions in East Africa to become the primary custodians of a rhino sanctuary.

All previously established rhino sanctuaries in Kenya exist on private or state owned and managed land, making the Sera Rhino Sanctuary a unique community conservation investment, and a project with the involvement of a diverse 4 While exploring the land policies and historical impacts of the group ranch system is beyond the scope of this paper it remains a vital component in the history of movements, restrictions and land ownership particularly within the context of pastoralism in northern Kenya.

For thoughtful analysis see Kibugi, , Mwangi and Pas Ten black rhinos were moved into a fully electrical fenced area of square kilometers within Sera Conservancy in Nothern Rangelands Trust, Considering the substantial power and influence increasing funds and geographic scope brings to the NGO, Sera Conservancy and its affiliation with the NRT is an important case study to investigate scalar issues of equity within important conservation programs.

Exploring the governance of community institutions, particularly in relation to under examined equity considerations identified above, becomes increasingly pertinent as the profile and authority of conservancies both regionally and nationally increases USAID, Sera Community Conservancy and the rhino sanctuary project provides a distinct opportunity to explore procedural elements of participation and access to important decision-making spaces as well as recognition elements of inclusions of diverse forms of knowledge and attention to relative power im balances between groups.

Feedback from these meeting informed the final design of the research for example by identifying key issues of concern and current conservancy projects relevant to the research and set the foundation for ongoing communication with everyone who interacted with the project.

This research was approved by the institutional ethics review board at the University of British Columbia as well as the Kenya National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation.

All research reported here was conducted during a month period of engagement in the field May to June The scale of interests is the community conservancy Figure Above in a hierarchal sense is the regional authority and membership organization of the Northern Rangelands Trust NRT.

Additionally, local and national government, Kenya Wildlife Service KWS and private sector partners were considered within this scale. Below the conservancy existing within, around and including a broader range of individuals is the traditional elder-led customary leadership and the community at large.

All three scales were considered in relation to how they interacted and influenced the governance of Sera Community Conservancy.

Figure Organizational diagram of Sera Community Conservancy landscape. The Community is defined as the first scale, the conservancy and its management and sub-committees as the second scale, and the NRT, County Government and other external actors as the third scale.

Inclusion criteria included representing specific roles in the community, positions of power or influence within the conservancy, key partners or collaborators with the conservancy, or those with Figure Map of Sera Community Conservancy 60 considerable control over decision-making.

Interviews conducted in Samburu were translated to English and back translated by a second interpreter to ensure reasonable accuracy in the English language version.

Secondly, participant observation data was collected by the first author at 14 meetings and events of the conservancy including AGMs, tourism meetings, security planning, grazing conferences, council of elders and others.

These observations were guided by an interest in identifying who is involved and not involved , details of where the meeting is hosted, understanding how issues are framed, and recording how discussions were undertaken of contentions issues.

Participant observation data was compared between meetings to look for patterns and differences, with respect to observed attendees, their participation, meeting agendas and characteristics of discourse.

Additionally, 17 conservancy records related to these meetings were analysed to identify reported project decisions, actions of the conservancy and recorded responsibilities of actors.

These included records or proceedings from all meetings attended and all meetings held in the last two years of the conservancy through Documents also disclosed stated objectives and intent of different actors based on the elements emphasised and recorded.

Meeting minutes before were not available. In addition, official reports from the NRT, donors, partners and affiliates specific to Sera Community Conservancy programs were included.

In total over pages were examined with respect to identifying equity constructs in practice Table 3. Finally, in collaboration with a separate research project in the same region, focus groups with elders and older women in the Sera region were held to discuss drought and pastoralism over the last 30 years.

The purpose of these focus groups with respect to the research reported here, was to spend extended time with local leaders in the community to understand how decisions and knowledge are formed and shared in the local context.

Part of the focus group focused on discussion questions related to the operations of Sera Community Conservancy and the 61 interactions local elder leadership had with for conservancy governance.

These questions were adapted from the semi-structure interview questions to explore similar themes in both the interviews and the focus groups.

Four separate focus groups were held within the boundaries of Sera Community Conservancy in two locations. At each location one focus group was held with men and a second was held with women, each lasting a minimum of three hours.

Individuals were selected based on age over 45, within specific cultural age sets and activity within local leadership.

Each group was made up of individuals. The focus group discussions were transcribed in real-time by two local translators and hosted by a third translator and two researchers.

An open style of inquiry serves to retain and reflect the language and ideas as expressed by participants themselves Saldana, This strategy is important so as to mitigate the potential imposition of a western, academic research paradigm onto the language, cultural, and knowledge-related worldviews of participants.

To facilitate our interests in the equitable distribution of procedural and recognition, a second, deductive, coding of the transcripts and documents was then applied so as to explore the ways in which equity-related issues were identified by participants, reflected in documents and visible to actions of governance.

By taking a layered analysis approach and coding line-by-line using NVivo software program While recognizing the highly inter-dependent nature of procedure and recognition, the findings below are presented independently, and in relation to the governance processes that structure participation and movement of knowledge within Sera Community Conservancy.

This is in part because the dimensions of equitable governance are theorized to be non-substitutable and therefore limitations in one area cannot be compensated for in another dimension Zafra-Calvo et al.

Also, governance structure and external actors impact each equity dimension in different ways, making independent evaluations valuable for examining governance structure, practice and function.

We investigate both dimensions of equity within a scalar framework, paying particular attention to interactions and difference between regional, conservancy and local scales of decision-making.

The two themes relating to procedural equity identified through the analysis intersect all elements discussed above in different but interdependent ways.

The themes presented below connect issues of procedural equity to the impacts of governance structure and influence from external actors.

Overall, particular individuals hold positions where they both speak for a wide range of individuals and report back to a large constituent of people both community or institutionally.

This structure was implemented by external actors to the conservation governance spaces, with the motivation of building an institution which could make conservation and development decisions with local buy-in.

When a senior founder of the NRT was asked about the motivations behind implementing the first conservancy, the following story was given about his travels through northern Kenya.

It is significant to note that when these conservation initiatives were introduced, external actors built new institutions rather than working with group ranch committees or other land and government institutions already representing the landscape.

Only two participants commented on viable reasons to design a new institution. They offered the reasons of requiring a limited liability company to operate businesses and recognizing the possible corruption and ineffectiveness of the group ranch institutions Interviews.

However, many more participants did not question the introduction of a new institution and simply summarized that there was a need to do new projects and therefore we needed a new institution to operate new programs.

The below answer from an NRT employee who has been at the NRT since the first conservancies were introduced is typical of the standard response.

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Insights from these interviews provided a means to confirm the analytical interpretations arising from the document analysis as well as to provide nuanced empirical insights into the context for key governance changes in this region.

Quotations from interviewees are used to 28 illustrate key themes and claims made in the analysis. To preserve confidentiality, interviewees are referred to by number and affiliation e.

Through this analysis, we identify five distinct governance eras Table The first era begins with the establishment of Kenya as a British Colony in and follows colonial policy development until The second era commences with the establishment of National Parks legislation in and continues through independence in , ending in The third era begins with the introduction of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act in In the third era, we explore the motivations to introduce the hunting ban and the changes in wildlife governance for the next 12 years.

In the fourth era, we explore the first large-scale attempts to organize communities and non-state land towards formal conservation engagement up until The last era explores contemporary wildlife policy from - It begins with the attempts to overhaul the Wildlife Bill from - and then examines the approved changes within the Wildlife Act of and Community Land Bill in The first stated order of business regarding wildlife was to formalize control over the poorly regulated ivory trade, and enable tariffs for game hunting Waweru Hunting concessions were maintained for the privileged elite including the archetypal explorer, the pioneer, and the trader Maforo , almost all of whom were focused on big game hunting.

Ordinances were constructed to regulate the extraction of wildlife valued primarily as a commodity and source of entertainment for the white hunters Steinhart This ideology 29 was implemented through the introduction of a Game Department and Game Sanctuaries, as well as licencing and permits fees to hunt wildlife for detailed analysis see Kelly Game ordinances were directed by the British government in London which was beginning to demonstrate concern regarding rampant extraction of wildlife.

This convention is considered one of the earliest formal international agreements on nature.

The Convention of made explicit recommendations on hunting intensities of specific African species, some of which reduced permit and hunting numbers in colonial territories.

However, the Game Department in Kenya was hampered by inefficiencies and minimal staff, resulting in limited implementation of policy initiatives Waithaka Consultation with people affected by the creation of game sanctuaries or hunting policies was rarely conducted during this era.

Africans were excluded from hunting within game sanctuaries through laws that made it illegal to engage in traditional hunting practices and gain access to firearms.

The dominant view of the time held by the colonial game department was that nature existed as a pristine landscape without people.

The colonial administration looked down on traditional African customs and practices as primitive, and steeped in ritualized non-Christian 30 ways that mismanaged the natural environment Barrow and Fabricius Furthermore, the colonial approach of dividing and fixing land boundaries contributed to delineating ethnic lines within indigenous communities and preferential treatment of certain communities only strengthened competition and discontent between ethnic groups Bonte and Galaty , Waller and Sobania The stated objectives of the colonial government in many early policies focused on developing a profitable agricultural industry in Kenya.

Between the railroad, military costs and expansive outposts for the hunting trade, the colony had been running a deficit for years and the debt was being carried by the British tax payer Waithaka The colony was under pressure to create local industries to support expenditures and industrial agriculture was viewed as the most viable solution.

One of the policies which enabled the colonial government to achieve this goal was enacting the Crown Land Ordinance which effectively made all uninhabited land property of the crown Matheka The establishment of Crown land made it legal for the government to remove people from their ancestral lands.

In particular, nomadic pastoralist like the Maasai were manipulated into multiple agreements including the Maasai Agreement of and which forcibly removed communities from fertile land Hughes Much of this land was then gifted by the crown to European settlers to cultivate with skills and expertise the colonial government did not entrust with locals.

The promotion of white settlement by the colonial administration created the foundation for inequality in Kenyan conservation policy.

Most of the ordinances and proclamations from were created with disproportional influence by the settler community Kelly Legislation was designed to protect the economic interests of the Europeans, often at the cost of local communities.

This resulted in the intentional refusal to facilitate African participation in economic or political development Fumagalli On multiple occasions ordinances were revoked or changed to accommodate the needs of the settlers to protect their crops or benefit directly from wildlife on their lands.

Disputes centered on grazing access for cattle and human-wildlife conflict. In one example2, the Samburu District government of called for the destocking of Samburu cattle due to perceived conflict with wildlife.

Outraged, the Samburu people demanded that wildlife be culled as well, resulting in , then zebras removed from the game reserve. Unsatisfied, the Samburu chiefs threatened the government with their morans warriors and organized dances to demonstrate their resistance Spencer These conflicts were common across many pastoral areas and resulted in the government introducing a game policy committee in in the hopes of remediating conflicts with communities Matheka Initial colonial policies set the stage for deeply embedded precedents which would have implications for wildlife policy over the next years.

First, the physical alienation of communities from nature and wildlife was the beginning of wildlife custodianship solidified as state-owned and managed.

Second, the ideological separation of humans from nature and particularly the alienation of local communities from the environment of their home initiated the dominance of western epistemologies and the colonial casting of African practices.

Finally, it began the prioritization of wildlife for the benefit of the tourist, foreigner or as an export commodity without any regard for the role of nature in African culture, heritage or subsistence utilization Bedelian, For detailed accounts see Neumann and Galaty Wildlife numbers at the time were decreasing at concerning rates and competing demands between agriculture and game preservation were causing major conflicts in land-use policy.

The convention, also known as the London Convention of , was organized by SPFE in response to declining wildlife populations and failing conservation policy in many colonies including the British colony of Kenya Neumann The SPFE and many of its supporters from other European organizations were in search of a more permanent solution to land protection for wildlife in the colonies.

The London Convention of was one of many meetings at the international level of colonial powers. While the second world war delayed efforts, these meetings eventually culminated to the Paris convention which founded the International Union for the Protection of Nature today known as the IUCN — International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Together these committees, conventions and organizations served to consolidate growing concern for the preservation of wildlife and exerted their influence to promote policies they believed would stem the wildlife decreases worldwide UNESCO Secretariat for the French Government, Mervyn Cowie was at the center of the public campaign for a National Parks system in Kenya.

Cowie was a district councilor in Nairobi from and was eventually appointed as the 33 chairman of the National Parks Committee in He was one of the first to promote the value of a National Parks system for the tourism industry.

In his own memoirs Cowie recounts his experiences of feeding lion cubs by hand to keep them nearby and then bringing high-profile visitors to see the animals up close.

He would use this opportunity to sell the idea of marketing wildlife experiences at National Parks in Kenya Cowie Cowie achieved his vision in when the National Parks Ordinance was assented by the government and a National Park's board of trustees gazetted.

At this point, land ownership could broadly be placed into three categories: crown land, which the governor could automatically declare a National Park; African reserves, which needed the approval of the Native Lands Trust Board; and the white-highlands, which required approval from the Highlands Board R.

Matheka, Under the advisement of the game policy commission the Kenya National Parks Trustees was set up to oversee the administration of national parks and park adjunct areas Matheka , Steinhard The National Parks Ordinance of is the first time the rights of local and indigenous communities are mentioned in colonial wildlife policy.

In theory, the creation of a National Park on community land required the approval of the Native Lands Trust Board, which was mandated to represent the interest of indigenous populations.

While this permitted the first avenue for communities to reach the policy arena, there is little evidence that local interests were considered equally with colonial and state objectives Kabiri Pronouncements and practices they usually say you cannot do this you as a local should not hunt now, areas have been set aside as national parks and you cannot enter the national park, you cannot graze there, you cannot even draw water there you cannot enter there by foot you must be in a 4x4 car.

While communities were still rarely included in the forums of power and decision making, the resolution to entrust management of critical wildlife areas to a devolved government structure indicated the severity of issues concerning effectiveness of centralized control and the growing pressure to accommodate for communities living with wildlife interviews.

These areas would eventually be the first to develop extensive community conservation movements adjacent to the Reserves.

Kenya gained independence in and the international community only increased its pressure for Kenya to preserve its wildlife.

Concerns about the rights and interests of people affected by conservation activities began to take hold within the international wildlife agenda.

In Kenya became a signatory to the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources which as a fundamental principle encouraged signatories to adhere to the interests of the people in natural resource management Didi While the international community was concerned with Kenya protecting its wildlife and maintaining the protectionist legislation the British had enforced, Kenya was much more concerned with control over land.

Laws prior to primarily strengthened the rights of private and crown ownership. This left the majority of communities living on trust land which was controlled by the county councils rifled with corruption and illegal land deals Odote In the government introduced the Land Group Representatives Act Chapter , Laws of Kenya which was implemented in arid and semi-arid pastoral rangelands to impose communal land ownership structures for communities with shared grazing resources Ogolla and Mugabe 35 While the intention was to implement ranching concepts of systems production and commercialization Mwangi, the result was often elite capture, rangeland degradation and the eventual desire to subdivide Kibugi, The colonial ideology of wildlife and nature separate from humans was maintained in Kenyan policy upon independence.

From to most policies implemented by the British were maintained under the one-party national government. The only wildlife policy implemented during this period was the Sessional Paper No.

It indicated a hardening of land issues, and perpetuating tension between prioritizing agriculture over wildlife as a land-use policy.

This would foreshadow the commodification of wildlife in future decades Butt, The WCMA legislation banned all hunting practices outright and most forms of consumptive uses of wildlife.

The laws were intended to address declines in wildlife, especially elephant and rhinoceros, experienced across the county.

The legislations were so protectionist they resulted in stagnating the promise of economic benefits from wildlife that the policy foreshadowed Kabiri, b.

This radically changed the concept of killing an animal and created the poacher as the enemy to wage war against. The WCMA also introduced the concept of compensation for damage incurred by wildlife.

This included the loss or damage of crops, property, livestock, personal injury or death. While compensation initially indicated acknowledgment by the government of the costs of living with wildlife and the need to manage human-wildlife conflict, the implementation of the legal framework of compensation was rarely effectively or efficiently managed Ngure The loss of revenue from hunting focused all potential benefits from wildlife to tourism, limiting community access to benefits due to poorly devolved structures Western and Waithaka The legislation was developed with significant influence from large global funding bodies.

While there is strong evidence of international influence regarding policy and legislation, there is less evidence of institutional support to engage landowners and communities with the new wildlife department.

While the policy signalled potentially progressive changes for communities, it lacked the regulatory mechanisms to actuate participation of communities or effective benefit-sharing from wildlife revenues.

The conservation community was beginning to address the historical misalignment of social development and preservation of wildlife.

The Conservancy Strategy IUCN set the course for integrated development and conservation programs and justified the significant flow of international aid from the developed world to the developing world under these new principles Adams and Hutton The next decade would see the impacts of this shift with the reach of global conservation agendas extending beyond national policy to local and regional institutions and community initiatives Figure Proportion of land under State, Private and Community conservation approaches at important time-points for Kenyan conservation policy 39 Table Number of operational conservation areas under recognized conservation approaches at significant policy eras in Kenya Conservation Approach Year State 8 25 42 43 Private 3 12 21 27 Community 0 0 6 2.

Mounting international pressure and threats to remove international aid funding stimulated the softening of 38 years de facto one party state government.

This marked the beginning of a democratic transition in Kenyan politics which saw an increased participation of groups long marginalized and made illegal by former governments.

It is largely agreed that the former department was mismanaged and ineffective Interviews. KWS differed from the WCMA with the instatement of an independent board of trustees separate from the bureaucracy of the national government Interviews and increased militarization necessary to combat wildlife crimes Kabiri a.

For the first time the wildlife arm of the government began implementing programs specifically supporting communities, Kenyans and conservation on land outside of national parks.

These programs, coupled with growing support for landowner associations and investment opportunities for eco-tourism enterprises, encouraged the growth of community organization and participation in conservation Baskin KWS programs and eco-tourism investments laid significant groundwork for community conservation development, however changes to leadership in redirected priorities.

The transitions of directors prioritized militarization and law enforcement as the primarily method for stemming loss of elephants and rhino and community initiatives were promptly de-funded Interviews.

This left a vacuum of government support for community wildlife projects. Into this vacuum stepped the NGO world, beginning a variety of localized community experiments that took place across the country.

First, was the tourism investor or management partner with the desire to develop tourism enterprises outside of National Parks and Reserves.

Community areas were advantageous for new tourism products because they provided access to land with abundant wildlife without the technical restrictions imposed by formal protected areas Bedelian, ; Butt, Where land was not formalized into Group Ranches it was held as trust land managed by the County Councils Mwangi, ; Odote, Lastly, but by no means the least, communities began to demand more equitable benefit sharing and were seeking for new ways to mitigate elite capture within old land governance structures Kibugi, New conservation approaches supported by a third-party NGO offered fresh governance arrangements that many communities hoped would replace or overhaul corrupt and ineffective leadership in the Group Ranch Committee or Board of Trustees Interviews.

The explosion of conservation NGOs Figure also attracted a variety of animal rights and welfare activists who became prominent actors in national conservation lobbying.

Forums which organized these groups such as the Kenya Wildlife Working Group KWWG gained significant access and influence to high level politician, all the way to the president Kabiri a.

In considering also the trends in international conservation priorities, Kenya adopted the Langkawi Declaration on the Environment in This was issued by the heads of the commonwealth counties and essentially promised aid and development money from developed nations to developing countries in return for a commitment to environmental sustainability.

The current decade from has 11 newly established conservation NGOs. The GG Bill brought to life the contested issue of wildlife as a public interest owned by the state utilizing private land for detailed analysis of the bill see Kabiri a.

For the first time in wildlife policy the GG bill was recommending comprehensive mobilization to devolve rights and benefits of wildlife to local and indigenous communities who endured the cost of wildlife on their lands.

However, this attempt, and the many to follow would not pass into law. A former top KWS official explains the resistance to change in wildlife policy as boiling down to one problem: hunting.

It has been strongly suggested that the reason the Wildlife Act finally ascended was due to the explicit clauses strengthening the ban on all consumptive use of wildlife Interviews.

Compensation amendments proposed Increase in compensation specifically for wildlife damages Increases in compensation for human injuries, fatalities and damage to property.

Legalizes effective deterrence and control of problem animals. No timeframe for implementation detailed. Consumptive Use Re-legalized utilization — there are some provisions for wildlife on private land to acquire hunting permits All consumptive uses of wildlife maintained as banned.

Hunting of all wildlife and the sale of species remains illegal. Bird shooting is made illegal. Kenya Wildlife Service KWS Restructuring KWS leadership to include landowners Rights and Access Increase in benefit sharing to landowner associations Land owners private and community have rights to manage and use wildlife Penalties and Wildlife Crime Increases the severity of sentences upon conviction for domestic wildlife crimes.

It was clear that the KWS policies of the 90s had attempted to devolve some rights over wildlife to landowners, however the resulting implementation of those policies initially benefited individual landowners more than communities.

And that is a bigger one to achieve because it is quite amazing how because of our history, our colonial history, a lot of people still think conservancies are about some white Kenyans.

Significant influence regarding the legislation came from the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association KWCA , a membership organization for conservancies formed in for the explicit purpose of ensuring conservancies had a voice at the National level.

This is the first organized effort giving communities a voice at the national policy level. However, funding streams directly related to wildlife are currently limited at the county level and wildlife is not a direct responsibility of devolved local authorities Interviews.

During this era, international conservation actors were also moving forward with formal recognition of CBC.

The addition of these two new management categories signaled a shift in the conceptualization of PAs from state-managed and nationally controlled resource conserved areas, to the acknowledgement of multiple objectives in conservation planning, participation of local communities, decentralized governance, and the empowerment of indigenous resource users.

Most communities in Kenya, especially pastoralist communities, did not traditionally hunt for subsistence use as the primary livelihood strategy.

The dominant influence of global conservation agendas has driven significant change in Kenyan conservation governance.

This historical legacy of control and dominance of non-African actors in wildlife conservation continues to influence contemporary governance, demonstrating how conservation programs in Kenya remain deeply enmeshed in historical relationships.

Until recently, the voice of local and indigenous peoples has rarely had an avenue to influence wildlife policy. The current shift to include communities in the conservation of wildlife did not emerge suddenly and the manner for community engagement remains moderated by powerful NGO partners.

The implications of these observations underscore three notable insights for understanding the emergence of community participation in wildlife policy in Kenya.

Communities whose culture and livelihoods are adapted to live alongside wildlife retain sophisticated environmental knowledge and values embedded in societal and local governance systems Nelson , Weiss et al.

Colonization introduced a radically divergent relationship with wildlife. By the colonial definition, nature existed only in the absence of people and was for the benefit extraction, entertainment or pleasure of the privileged elite.

By centralizing control of wildlife and implementing a hierarchal system of executing laws, even after independence, the state devalued local and indigenous relationships with nature and wildlife.

While some have argued that the conservation world has gone through a paradigm shift Adams and Hutton in terms of the approach to wildlife preservation, the analysis of historical drivers above presents a much more complex landscape in Kenya.

Contemporary wildlife policy has maintained many of the systems and values that represent a colonial relationship with wildlife.

For example, substitute tourism for hunting and the benefits of wildlife are captured and 48 controlled by the same group of people Butt, Reconciling the disconnect between the intention of support community initiatives while still prioritizing wilderness values presents a steep ideological boundary to overcome in order to both recognize and re-authenticate the co-existence of people and wildlife promised by the conservancy approach.

Until local, traditional and indigenous values shape conservation strategies, any conservation approach will be an imposed ideology, limiting genuine community participation and ownership.

Primarily through financial and political influence, international actors have determined the type of projects funded, ideas introduced and implemented, as well as shaped international agreements and conventions on biodiversity driving national policy.

Before there was on average five new conservation NGOs established every decade. Between and over 60 NGOs were established Figure Not only has the number and influence of conservation NGOs increased but the diversity of issues integrated within the objectives of conservation has expanded.

While communities are not without agency, NGOs in financial and institution control prioritize values external to local systems through governance design, projects prioritization and policy approaches described above which effectively keeps conservation in the colonial era.

The current influence of international NGOs and bilateral funding agencies suggests that Kenya has not yet been able to reconcile and address power inequities in terms of influence in shaping 49 the agenda and directing priorities within conservation governance.

More importantly, most CBC approaches in Kenya have not evolved beyond an implemented structure. Rather, the power of the partner NGO or private sector has reinforced policy structures that serve to credit conservation success to external actors and limit the role of communities.

The extensive and systematic power imbalance created by this relationship has normalized the control NGOs have regardless of the capacity and strength of the partner communities for which they support.

One of the systematic institutional flaws inherited from the colonial administration is the centralized, top-down approach to governance, which creates barriers for participation.

A centralized approach to governance was maintained through independence because it benefited the selected elite whom succeeded to power.

Lack of accountability continues to allow corporation, inefficiencies and ineffectiveness to plague government activities. Collectively, this has undermined all assumption that the government and public institutions are accountable to the citizens of Kenya, limiting the strength of the potential relationship between government and communities within CBC.

The lack of accountability of government to its constituents evokes authoritarian restrictions on the ability to implement even progressive policy Kabiri Limiting participatory engagement ensures mistrust and distance between the state and the people, and has encouraged communities to look outside of government institutions to provide public and social services.

Conservation NGOs have utilized this opportunity to develop new forms of community arrangements which incorporate conservation and development trade-offs.

This results in considerable power concentrated in internationally funded NGOs that would otherwise reside with democratically elected governments.

There have been notable changes in contemporary policy which devolve power within the Kenyan government system.

These include the new constitution in , the Wildlife Act, 50 and the Community Land Bill, all of which strengthen the rights of communities and devolve increased power to local authorities.

However, the same devolution process has not happened within the structure of KWS. The parastatal remains the centralized legal custodian of wildlife regardless of the ownership of land where wildlife resides.

KWS will require a realignment of structure, programs and objectives in order to support CBC and ensure wildlife remains central to the outcomes of CBC.

The lack of accountability has also manifested in the creation of significant gaps between legislation passed by the government and the implementation of these policies on the ground.

An excellent example of failure to implement policy which would support CBC is the issue of compensation structures for wildlife-related death, injury or property damage for detailed economic perspective see Norton-Griffiths and Said, Limited implementation undermines the relationship between the state and its citizens, and has continued to contribute to the ideological belief that wildlife benefits are controlled by the state and wildlife costs are endured by the community.

While weak government regulations have limited partnership and support with CBC, they have also left space for surprising creativity in the wildlife sector.

The emergence of private and eventually CBC outside of National Parks and Reserves was not promoted by a supportive policy climate.

Instead it emerged from isolated endeavours to find localized solutions to problems of increased wildlife poaching, extreme habitat degradation and decreasing wildlife numbers.

The impacts of these events continue to influence practices and outcomes in conservation in Kenya today.

The analysis of historical drivers in wildlife governance highlights at least three challenges and opportunities facing the future of wildlife policy in Kenya and if addressed could alleviate the 51 current concerns presented above.

First, CBC is primarily a social development space and conservation outcomes need to be placed within the context of people and their livelihoods.

In Kenya, conservancies are legally mandated by wildlife legislation, which limits the ability for conservancies to address issues of development and human needs equitably.

There is a need to integrate wider legislative support including agriculture, forestry, health, education and infrastructure to understand and work within the conservancy structure to ensure there is broader legislative support for conservancy operations.

The social complexity of conservancies, which current policy lacks the nuance and integration to support, has the potential to hinder avenues for government partnerships in CBC.

Second, devolution presents some contradictions in policy for CBC. Jurisdiction over planning and land management has been devolved to the county governments, however authority over wildlife remains centrally controlled by KWS and the national government.

Benefits from wildlife at the national level are heavily focused on tourism yet locally tourism is not always possible or the best fit for the community.

Therefore, wildlife and tourism are mandated through national policy while land, water, and planning are mandated by local authorities.

Separating land and wildlife with the prioritized benefit of tourism limits the potential options communities have for valuing wildlife and complicates the political process for engagement between communities and government.

Third, the lack of formal regulation by the government over conservancy development in Kenya for the last 25 years has created many localized solutions to complex problems, resulting in a diversity of approaches to community conservation which look very different across the country.

This local adaptation and national diversity should be viewed as a significant advantage. Policy moving forward would benefit from fostering an environment which encourages the continuation of localized experiments and customized adaptation strategies.

While at the same time improving learning exchanges between regions which promote best practices and local ingenuity.

This analysis has shown that community-based conservation in Kenya has been shaped by unreconciled issues of colonialism, elitism and bureaucratic centralized control.

Thus, while new CBC approaches hold hope for securing biodiversity objectives in human-inclusive landscapes, future legislation must protect the rights and authority of community landowners, while encouraging productive frameworks for collaboration, engagement and partnerships with a variety of allied actors.

Community-based conservation governance arose from a problematic history of primarily state-governed protected areas that often served as a coercive or fortress conservation strategy Dressler et al.

These former approaches to conservation tended to exclude affected human communities both from governance activities, including decision-making and planning, as well as from the land itself through dispossession and loss of access Kothari et al.

As a consequence, these exclusionary conservation approaches incurred injustices of unequal costs and benefits, limited participation opportunities for communities, decision-making authority centralized to powerful elites, as well as inadequate recognition of diverse worldviews and forms of knowledge West et al.

Outcomes of CBC initiatives are widely debated Kothari et al. The function of equity between scales in a complex network of actors and participant has been under examined, and the influence of power dynamics and historical contexts of relationship between actors has rarely been considered when addressing equity in CBC decision-making Friedman et al.

Relatedly, there is limited empirical evidence regarding the degree to which CBC is achieving equitable governance in practice, at a local scale of decision-making.

Exploring and clearly communicating the purpose and objectives for including equity as an integral part of conservation governance has emerged as a necessary step in addressing equity concerns Bennett et al.

Within CBC, consideration of equity can be seen to be motivated by both fundamental and instrumental objectives Law et al.

Fundamentally ethical rationales of environmental justice and the rights of indigenous and local peoples to control their land and be recognized for protecting their resources underpin the need to increase equity in CBC governance structure Martin et al.

Worldwide, CBC areas are often initiated by external actors in landscapes with strong cultural and indigenous connections to the land, coupled with high biodiversity Barrow et al.

Community-based approaches are often complex networks of actors working within an introduced governance structure, funded and potentially co-managed by partner NGOs, governments or private partners Alexander et al.

This paper takes a critical look at the current operation of Sera Community Conservancy in northern Kenya to explore issues of equitable procedures and recognition within arrangements of CBC governance.

The concept of equity in the context of formal protected areas is often categorized into the three dimensions of distribution, procedural and recognition, constituting an equity framework Schreckenberg et al.

Some researchers have also argued for context as an alternative dimension to recognition McDermott et al. Here, by paying attention to social histories, politics and culture, we include evidence of context within the dimensions of recognition and procedure.

Within each dimension there are specific elements constituting the guiding principles of assessing each dimension of equity Table 3.

Target 16 addresses the fair and equitable distribution of benefits. Target 18 addresses the respect towards customary rights and equitable representation of indigenous peoples in conservation Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, The majority of equity literature in conservation has focused on distributional equity because of the overemphasised egalitarian perspective, directly linking financial benefits to fair engagement in conservation Friedman et al.

Access to direct benefits has been the cornerstone of the CBC effort and foundational to the justification of commodifying natural resources on community land Butt, ; Calfucura, Looking forward towards sustainable CBC governance, there is a greater need to focus on procedural and recognition elements of equity to ensure CBC can function beyond and even within the overemphasized financial incentives and neoliberal values Damiens et al.

Drawing on the three dimensions of equity outlined above Table 3. This paper addresses the following specific question: How, and in what ways, are procedural and recognition dimension of equity operating within the introduced governance structure and practices of Sera Community Conservancy?

It comprises of two group ranch land units, Serolipi and Losesia4. The entire area is home to a semi-nomadic population of approximately 6, Samburu peoples NRT, Sera Conservancy is one of the first community institutions in East Africa to become the primary custodians of a rhino sanctuary.

All previously established rhino sanctuaries in Kenya exist on private or state owned and managed land, making the Sera Rhino Sanctuary a unique community conservation investment, and a project with the involvement of a diverse 4 While exploring the land policies and historical impacts of the group ranch system is beyond the scope of this paper it remains a vital component in the history of movements, restrictions and land ownership particularly within the context of pastoralism in northern Kenya.

For thoughtful analysis see Kibugi, , Mwangi and Pas Ten black rhinos were moved into a fully electrical fenced area of square kilometers within Sera Conservancy in Nothern Rangelands Trust, Considering the substantial power and influence increasing funds and geographic scope brings to the NGO, Sera Conservancy and its affiliation with the NRT is an important case study to investigate scalar issues of equity within important conservation programs.

Exploring the governance of community institutions, particularly in relation to under examined equity considerations identified above, becomes increasingly pertinent as the profile and authority of conservancies both regionally and nationally increases USAID, Sera Community Conservancy and the rhino sanctuary project provides a distinct opportunity to explore procedural elements of participation and access to important decision-making spaces as well as recognition elements of inclusions of diverse forms of knowledge and attention to relative power im balances between groups.

Feedback from these meeting informed the final design of the research for example by identifying key issues of concern and current conservancy projects relevant to the research and set the foundation for ongoing communication with everyone who interacted with the project.

This research was approved by the institutional ethics review board at the University of British Columbia as well as the Kenya National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation.

All research reported here was conducted during a month period of engagement in the field May to June The scale of interests is the community conservancy Figure Above in a hierarchal sense is the regional authority and membership organization of the Northern Rangelands Trust NRT.

Additionally, local and national government, Kenya Wildlife Service KWS and private sector partners were considered within this scale.

Below the conservancy existing within, around and including a broader range of individuals is the traditional elder-led customary leadership and the community at large.

All three scales were considered in relation to how they interacted and influenced the governance of Sera Community Conservancy.

Figure Organizational diagram of Sera Community Conservancy landscape. The Community is defined as the first scale, the conservancy and its management and sub-committees as the second scale, and the NRT, County Government and other external actors as the third scale.

Inclusion criteria included representing specific roles in the community, positions of power or influence within the conservancy, key partners or collaborators with the conservancy, or those with Figure Map of Sera Community Conservancy 60 considerable control over decision-making.

Interviews conducted in Samburu were translated to English and back translated by a second interpreter to ensure reasonable accuracy in the English language version.

Secondly, participant observation data was collected by the first author at 14 meetings and events of the conservancy including AGMs, tourism meetings, security planning, grazing conferences, council of elders and others.

These observations were guided by an interest in identifying who is involved and not involved , details of where the meeting is hosted, understanding how issues are framed, and recording how discussions were undertaken of contentions issues.

Participant observation data was compared between meetings to look for patterns and differences, with respect to observed attendees, their participation, meeting agendas and characteristics of discourse.

Additionally, 17 conservancy records related to these meetings were analysed to identify reported project decisions, actions of the conservancy and recorded responsibilities of actors.

These included records or proceedings from all meetings attended and all meetings held in the last two years of the conservancy through Documents also disclosed stated objectives and intent of different actors based on the elements emphasised and recorded.

Meeting minutes before were not available. In addition, official reports from the NRT, donors, partners and affiliates specific to Sera Community Conservancy programs were included.

In total over pages were examined with respect to identifying equity constructs in practice Table 3. Finally, in collaboration with a separate research project in the same region, focus groups with elders and older women in the Sera region were held to discuss drought and pastoralism over the last 30 years.

The purpose of these focus groups with respect to the research reported here, was to spend extended time with local leaders in the community to understand how decisions and knowledge are formed and shared in the local context.

Part of the focus group focused on discussion questions related to the operations of Sera Community Conservancy and the 61 interactions local elder leadership had with for conservancy governance.

These questions were adapted from the semi-structure interview questions to explore similar themes in both the interviews and the focus groups.

Four separate focus groups were held within the boundaries of Sera Community Conservancy in two locations. At each location one focus group was held with men and a second was held with women, each lasting a minimum of three hours.

Individuals were selected based on age over 45, within specific cultural age sets and activity within local leadership. Each group was made up of individuals.

The focus group discussions were transcribed in real-time by two local translators and hosted by a third translator and two researchers. An open style of inquiry serves to retain and reflect the language and ideas as expressed by participants themselves Saldana, This strategy is important so as to mitigate the potential imposition of a western, academic research paradigm onto the language, cultural, and knowledge-related worldviews of participants.

To facilitate our interests in the equitable distribution of procedural and recognition, a second, deductive, coding of the transcripts and documents was then applied so as to explore the ways in which equity-related issues were identified by participants, reflected in documents and visible to actions of governance.

By taking a layered analysis approach and coding line-by-line using NVivo software program While recognizing the highly inter-dependent nature of procedure and recognition, the findings below are presented independently, and in relation to the governance processes that structure participation and movement of knowledge within Sera Community Conservancy.

This is in part because the dimensions of equitable governance are theorized to be non-substitutable and therefore limitations in one area cannot be compensated for in another dimension Zafra-Calvo et al.

Also, governance structure and external actors impact each equity dimension in different ways, making independent evaluations valuable for examining governance structure, practice and function.

We investigate both dimensions of equity within a scalar framework, paying particular attention to interactions and difference between regional, conservancy and local scales of decision-making.

The two themes relating to procedural equity identified through the analysis intersect all elements discussed above in different but interdependent ways.

The themes presented below connect issues of procedural equity to the impacts of governance structure and influence from external actors.

Overall, particular individuals hold positions where they both speak for a wide range of individuals and report back to a large constituent of people both community or institutionally.

This structure was implemented by external actors to the conservation governance spaces, with the motivation of building an institution which could make conservation and development decisions with local buy-in.

When a senior founder of the NRT was asked about the motivations behind implementing the first conservancy, the following story was given about his travels through northern Kenya.

It is significant to note that when these conservation initiatives were introduced, external actors built new institutions rather than working with group ranch committees or other land and government institutions already representing the landscape.

Only two participants commented on viable reasons to design a new institution. They offered the reasons of requiring a limited liability company to operate businesses and recognizing the possible corruption and ineffectiveness of the group ranch institutions Interviews.

However, many more participants did not question the introduction of a new institution and simply summarized that there was a need to do new projects and therefore we needed a new institution to operate new programs.

The below answer from an NRT employee who has been at the NRT since the first conservancies were introduced is typical of the standard response.

And again has a good way of doing things other than the group ranch committee. You know a group ranch of committee is just a formality, they should, must be there anyway.

So when an AGM comes, or when maybe the time comes for a new group ranch committee they just do it for formality purposes, not thinking what could the group ranch do to develop their lands.

So it is just for formality. However, who was the institution seeking respect from and why could the 64 existing institutions representing land and communities not be respected partners in building projects remain unanswered.

The emphasis on conservancy development as being outside of existing intuitions allows for a certain amount of control by the funding NGOs over the governance process.

The rhino sanctuary project in Sera Community Conservancy was implemented under similar motivations of external actors and similar processes of separating projects from existing structures and institutions.

A staff member of Sera Conservancy explains the process of the rhino sanctuary introduction to the community of Sera Conservancy.

Compiled in Table 3. Local meetings were often perfunctory, dealing only with day to day issues and discussing how to implement a project.

No discussions were recorded at a local level of what projects should be 65 implemented or generating new project ideas. Meetings at the regional level focused much more on strategy, policy development and new project design Table 3.

Table Comparison between regional and local meetings. No meeting had less than 4 represented groups.

Maximum was 8. Meetings hosted at various locations including under a tree, in a temporary structure or at Conservancy HQ.

Protocols weakly observed, often minutes are not taken. Heated discussion, disagreement and strong opinions are common.

Meetings always held in a formal board room, official setting and all meeting protocols observed.

Notably, representation of women and youth within the decision-making contexts of the conservancy has visibly improved because of the governance structure.

Particularly at the conservancy scale we saw some representation of these groups compared to other scale of governance Table 3.

Whether these groups are then able to make meaningful contributions which are valued on equal grounds to other actors are mediated by factors discussed elsewhere in this paper.

One of the implications of groups and responsibilities separated in this manner is that it limits the ability for different knowledge holders to interact and potentially foster collaboration, create new ideas, or integrate different perspective.

Respondents at the NRT indicated that creating 66 agreement was a core objective of their engagement in conservancy level decision-making, which often resulted in delivering knowledge and information for the purpose of persuasion.

A good example of how the NRT talks about awareness is from an early published report on the rhino sanctuary written by the NRT.

The term awareness was so widely referenced that it was used and raised by participants in almost every governance context examined.

The term was always spoken as an English word, even when people were discussing or meeting in local languages. However, others noted how this view served to diminish opportunities for other ideas because of the focus on generating support for the one idea already debated at higher scales of decision-making.

This constricts knowledge and information transfer to only top-down delivery. The practice of awareness creates a paternal relationship with higher scales of decision-making limited growth, ingenuity and learning at a local scale.

Limiting collaboration, integration or even a broader form of understanding between knowledge groups means decisions made at one scale are delivered to another scale with very different internal knowledge priorities and systems of problem solving.

Imposed ideas are often difficult for other groups to understand, especially the motivations, intent, meaning and purpose behind an idea or project.

The creation of the rhino sanctuary highlights how the process of awareness within the conservancy engagement model is primarily top-down. Google Play Spiele Id.

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