Context of the Establishment of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Area in Southern Africa

Date: 9 January 2014

Venue: UAntwerp - Stadscampus - Building S - Nile Room - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerp

Time: 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: Institute of Development Policy and Management

Short description: IOB Seminar: Marja Spierenburg (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

The establishment of the Great Limpopo Tranfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) was one of the flagship projects of the Peace Parks Foundation, a South African NGO promoting transfrontier conservation areas. The park encompasses conservation areas in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. By arguing that residents living in or close to the TFCA were to participate in its management and benefit economically, TFCA proponents claimed social legitimacy for the project. 

The establishment of the Great Limpopo required negotiations among the three nation states, different government departments within these states, and various donors contributing funds. This presentation explores how these negotiations and interactions affected the institutional choices made with regards to the management of the Great Limpopo and how these shaped the control and benefits of local residents. 

This presentation examines the differences among the different actors in terms of power and capacities, which are often ignored in the promotion of TFCAs. In South Africa, one community managed to successfully lodge a land claim on part of the TFCA through the country’s post-apartheid land reform programme. Mozambican residents of the TFCA, on the other hand, risked losing their land, as the area they are residing in is deemed most suitable for tourism development. Due to organizational problems and local resistance, however, resettlement of residents to an area outside of the TFCA has been seriously hampered.

Dr. Marja Spierenburg 
Dr. Marja Spierenburg is Associate Professor in the Department of Organization Sciences at the VU University in Amsterdam. Since 2010 she is also affiliated to the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa as an Associate Professor. Marja Spierenburg coordinates several research projects focusing on the role of the private (profit and non-profit) sector in nature conservation and land reforms in Southern Africa. Her research addresses the growing importance of public-private partnerships in nature conservation and of private wildlife conservation areas, and the impacts of those developments on the land rights and livelihoods of local communities.

Between 2003 and 2006 she participated in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Currently she is vice-Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS). Marja Spierenburg's publications include, apart from numerous journal articles and book chapters, the books Sponsoring nature: Environmental philanthropy for nature conservation' (co-authored with Maano Ramutsindela and Harry Wels, published in 2011 by Earthscan) Strangers, Spirits and Land Reforms, Conflicts about Land in Dande, northern Zimbabwe (Brill 2004) and Competing Jurisdictions. Settling Land Claims in Africa (co-edited with Sandra Evers and Harry Wels, Brill 2005).


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