The impact of co-management on wildlife conservation and local livelihoods in Karenga Community Wildlife Area (KCWA), Northern Uganda
Co-management of wildlife outside the protected area (PA) is fast becoming a critical action for the survival and expanding of wildlife resource on community wildlife areas, and expectations about the functions these areas deliver are optimism, though there are mixed findings on performance of co-management of wildlife. There is a need to advance knowledge on effective implementation of Co-management governance systems in PAs. Effective application of comanagement governance systems in PAs, recognizes that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. This study sought to determine the impact of co-management on wildlife conservation and local livelihood with focus on KCWA. Descriptive, explanatory and interpretive survey research design was used in this study. The application of the principles of good environmental governance system and performance of Karenga Community Wildlife Area (KCWA) in Uganda was analyzed. The contribution of co-management to HWC reduction, wildlife population and controlling poaching, and livelihood capitals was also analysed. The findings show that the co-management form of governance resulted into increased wildlife resource base, social network, but was short on HWC mitigation and financial capital. It also revealed that there are some levels of access to information on the management of KCWA, albeit with no effective mechanisms in sharing reports, feedback from communities and integration of their views in decision making. Participatory forums are provided for the public to access information about the management but they are only used to inform and not dialogue with the communities. Redress and legal remedies to contest the denial of information and the denial of opportunities to participate in decision making in the management of KCWA is lacking. Distributional equity is lacking in the co-management of KCWA. Equitable involvement of stakeholder in making rules and decisions (procedural equity) is also lacking because most decisions are made by UWA and local government authorities. Local communities are not influencing decision-making in KCWA. Respect for knowledge systems, values, social norms and rights of stakeholders is reflected in the management of KCWA. acknowledgement of existing power dynamics, differences in gender, age, and education within the community are not reflected in the management of KCWA and thus contextual equity is not prioritized. Professional accountability is lacking in the management of KCWA. Public accountability is also lacking in the management of KCWA and it is reflected by lack of quick response to public concerns and complaints. The management of KCWA does not reflect personal accountability in their day-toxiii day implementation of management decisions, this is reflected by weak preventive actions. The local communities generally have a negative attitude and perception in relation to efforts by KCWA management to control human wildlife conflicts. Local communities have positive attitude and perception on the management of KCWA and its effort to increase wildlife population and controlling poaching. There is need to empower communities to enable them participate in negotiations and have influence on the decision-making including voices of all the existing social categories, improve responses to incidents or damages caused by wildlife and reduced bureaucratic red tape which hinders and delays immediate response to public concerns.