Community resource governance in support of protected area and landscape planning (top-down/bottom-up synergy)

Published: 10 August 2021
Last edited: 18 April 2023

MEP used Mali’s decentralisation legislation to create, with local people, a model of “elephant-centred” CBNRM. This legislation performed a vital enabling function that resulted in a model of resource governance at the village and commune levels, that was enshrined in local and commune conventions, as well as the commune socio-economic development plans. The MEP then worked with government to further reinforce these systems by drafting new legislation that created a new protected area covering the whole of the elephant migration route using a biosphere model which supported the community conventions. The aim was to give a mandate to the government foresters to be able to support local communities in the enforcement of their conventions if need be, thereby strengthening the community systems. This aligns government and community interests to mutually reinforce each other and provide a cost-effective approach to reserve management. This top-down approach complements the bottom-up approach of community engagement.


Alliance and partnership development
Co-management building
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Enforcement and prosecution
Legal and policy frameworks, policy advocacy
Management planning
Sustainable livelihoods
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Planning phase
Inception phase

Enabling factors

The model of “Elephant-centred” CBNRM that had been devised.

Lessons learned

The importance of enabling legislation to catalyse grass-roots empowerment.


The need for a neutral “facilitation” agency to bring the different parts of the community together.


The speed of the process of creating new legislation is lengthy and depends on the degree to which government partners are engaged and championing the initiative, however NGOs can provide technical support and reminders to generate forward motion.

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