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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 562-587

Staying Afloat: State Agencies, Local Communities, and International Involvement in Marine Protected Area Management in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA; Current affiliation: Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, 2570 Dole Street, Honolulu, HI, 96822, USA

Correspondence Address:
Arielle Levine
Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, 2570 Dole Street, Honolulu, HI, 96822
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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As funding for international conservation initiatives has shifted away from directly supporting developing states towards privatisation and decentralisation in natural resource management, developing countries are working increasingly through international NGOs and private sector organi­sations to support protected areas. The government of Zanzibar has come up with an innovative system to guarantee access to international funds through its Environmental Management for Sustainable Development Act. This Act strategically enables external organisations to be designated as protected area managers while maintaining a role for the state as an intermediary in reaching local communities. The positive outcome is that it allows protected areas to be established when government resources are limited, but it also es­tablishes a dynamic where the state's struggle to maintain power and rele­vance has negative implications for programme outcomes and sustainability. In the case of Zanzibar's marine protected areas, this system results in many challenges, including confusion over the links between conservation and de­velopment objectives, the limitations of ecotourism as a development strategy, the uneven concentration of programme resources, a lack of institutional in­vestment in protected area programmes, and the negative implications for lo­cal capacity building if in future the state could be threatened by a strong civil society. More attention must be given to acknowledging the role played by the Zanzibari state, as well as strengthening local initiatives for natural resource protection.

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