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resource Africa

Respecting rights, resources and livelihoods

Our Vision

Empowered and motivated communities effectively exercising their rights to sustainably manage, benefit from and conserve their natural resources.

Our Mission

To support Southern African communities’ efforts to exercise their rights and improve their livelihoods by promoting greater global, regional and national commitment and action towards policy, market and legal reforms that secure their rights to own, control and benefit from natural resources, especially land, wildlife, forests and water..

our approach

Resource Africa works to ensure that rural communities in Southern Africa are able to exercise their rights to access and use in a sustainable manner the natural resources present in their communities that are required to enjoy adequate living conditions. To achieve this we believe that it is essential that policy making processes at international, regional and national levels are informed by and respond to the perspectives and needs of rural communities and that rural people should be equal partners in policy making and have the ability to address policy making processes directly. Our work is founded on the recognition, informed by decades of practice and scholarship, that policy is most likely to lead to sustainable environmental management when it strengthens the rights and enhances the livelihoods and well being of those immediately dependent upon it. In placing recognition of rights as an obligation at the heart of our work we recognize the interdependence between human rights and the integrity of the natural environment. We believe that effective environmental protection both promotes and depends on the exercise of human rights as an obligation and must bring to the forefront related issues such as land and resource tenure, governance, enhanced livelihoods, gender equality, equity and empowerment.  This makes direct connections between human wellbeing and the environment by clearly connecting biodiversity conservation, sustainable ecosystems management and human rights to secure livelihoods, creating and/or maintaining productive environments and ensuring all people live in dignity. Our focus is specifically on rural communities as it is these people in whose hands the future of wildlife and other natural resources primarily lie and whose livelihoods are threatened when their rights to manage their resources are not recognized. Nature and biodiversity currently account for up to 60% of GDP of the poorest in African societies and whilst globally wealth is increasing, Africa is the only region where in absolute terms people are becoming increasingly poorer. In many African countries the majority of iconic species occur outside of protected areas. For example,  60% of elephant range is outside of protected areas and typically on communal areas. This makes rural communities de facto guardians of wildlife and the fast degrading ecosystems on which we all rely. Sustainable Use of wildlife and ecosystems by communities and rural people is a basic human right recognized in both national and international law.

Sustainable use

Sustainable use is the use of species and ecosystems at a level that maintains their potential to meet current and future human needs and aspirations and prevents their long- term decline. It includes both consumptive forms of use (harvesting, fishing, hunting, forestry, agriculture) and non-consumptive (photographic tourism). It further requires reducing any adverse or unintended impacts on the broader ecosystem to acceptable levels, consistent with long term species and ecosystem conservation. Use takes place as part of complex social-ecological and political economy systems, and its sustainability is affected by cultural, economic, social, and political dynamics.

Explore more in our Knowledge Hub and a list of recent research and reports on sustainable use here

Meeting of people in village in uganda africa

Collaboration and Partnerships

… lies at the heart of all we do. Firstly, collaboration with representative networks of communities and individual community representatives engaged in natural resource management. This may include providing information and capacity building to strengthen networks and enable communities to be aware of and effectively exercise their rights, as well as advising on appropriate policy making forums and how to negotiate and interact with these effectively. We also collaborate with other civil society organization, governments and scientists regionally and internationally, to ensure synergy, access to appropriate expertise and effective delivery.

Historically, RA has collaborated mainly within the conservation community and revitalizing these networks will be important. However, we recognize that given the shifting context it will be necessary to work with and gain insights beyond this traditional realm, seeking expertise, insights and collaboration with organisations involved with human rights, social and environmental justice and climate change whilst engaging with the broader political economy affecting resource rights. Emphasis will be placed on bridging the divisions between science, networks, policy and practice.

In order to achieve our objectives, RA seeks to act as catalyst for and create synergy between new and existing programmes, networks and partners, relying on and enhancing the implementation capacity of partners and networks, rather than on the development of significant internal implementation capacity. This will enable us to have extensive influence and outreach but maintain small operating overheads and cost-effectively achieve objectives.