Guest lectures Marcel Rutten on conflicts around land, water and wildlife-based tourism in Kenya

Within the framework of the Cocoon Initiative Kenya project, that focuses on conflicts around land, water and wildlife-based tourism in Kenya, ASCL senior researcher Marcel Rutten will give a lecture at the University of Salzburg on 14 December 2015. It is the final in a series of four guest lectures that started in February 2015, and that Rutten gave respectively at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Toulouse.

About the lecture
Africa has witnessed a boom in community-based tourism enterprises since the early 1990s. These private community partnerships in wildlife based tourism have emerged in the wake of the realization that the future of national parks depends upon continues access of game to neighboring dispersal areas. As a result, the role of local communities has obtained a more pronounced position.

Community-based conservation would, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), change the top-down nature-conservation policy by emphasizing the position of those people who bear the costs. These ideas were implemented in the ‘Parks beyond Parks’ approach since the mid-1990s. The idea of channeling some of the financial benefits gained from wildlife-based tourism in the direction of local communities is laudable. This concept was expected to bring about a win-win situation for both man and game, although some speak of at best ‘win/lose less wildlife’.

Support for the idea was confirmed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), and the World Bank. They propagate so called Conservation-Based Ventures (CBVs) to (pastoral) communities in Eastern Africa who live next to wildlife endowed areas. This position calls for a thorough analysis of community-based tourism projects initiated in the Maasai area over the last 15 years. Results from some of these projects (Kimana, Selengei and Shompole) will be presented giving a detailed background to the origin and development of and the opinion of the local community towards these initiatives.