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Resource Africa
History and Background

ResourceAfrica champions new collaborative management approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in Africa. We aim to deliver tangible and equitable community benefits, that in turn help encourage more effective resource conservation.

Conservation and natural resource management is mainly undertaken by the State. There is private sector involvement in conservation, especially in protected areas. However, the interests of rural communities who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods are invariably marginalized. In response, ResourceAfrica works with various partners to encourage and deliver new models of resource management based on community participation. Uppermost are the values of transparency, equity and respect for local people, their needs and customs.

ResourceAfrica has offices in Pretoria, South Africa and Cambridge, England. This ensures that the lessons of sustainable resource management in Africa are brought to the attention of international policy-makers. Likewise, resource managers in Africa learn of emerging international trends in policy and practice related to the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, especially where this impacts upon the rights, aspirations and livelihoods of rural people.

ResourceAfrica has worked to support the rights and aspirations of rural communities to manage their natural resources since the early 1980s, and was formerly known as the Africa Resources Trust.

ResourceAfrica has engaged in projects in eight countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) including:

Managing a regional network of CBOs and NGOs concerned with the conservation and development opportunities that are presented by the sustainable use of biological diversity in the communal lands of Southern Africa.
Carrying out the Community Mobilization and Institutional Development Initiative (COMIDI) in South Africa''s Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve, which aims to increase awareness of, finalise the institutional arrangements of, the Biosphere Reserve;
Building capacity and providing technical support to communities engaged in conservation-based community development in South Africa;
Mobilising communities and developing micro-enterprises in the Bushbuckridge area of South Africa''s Limpopo Province.
ResourceAfrica has won support from the UK Darwin Initiative to support various conservation activities at Afi Mountain in Cross River State, Nigeria.

ResourceAfrica has been particularly concerned with the policy issues affecting natural resource management and rural livelihoods in Africa, notably:

Factors affecting resource and land tenure, which hugely impact on the ability of communities to sustainably manage and benefit from resources;
Issues relating to true participation and empowerment of rural people to manage and benefit from their natural resources sustainably;
Market forces, which determine the long-term sustainability of a particular resource use regime;
The effect of changing narratives in conservation and natural resource management;
The role of the precautionary principle in conservation and natural resource management;
The evolving relationship between multilateral environmental agreements, particularly CITES and the CBD;
The appropriate roles of regulation and enforcement in the trade of natural resources.
In November 2001 a donor''s evaluation of ResourceAfrica''s work concluded that ResourceAfrica "is strongly positioned as facilitating a voice for Africa in international policy making", and "ResourceAfrica is well known and widely respected", "In addition ResourceAfrica''s work is considered relevant, successful and influential".

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