Seeking Social Equity in National Parks: Experiments with Evaluation in Canada and South Africa
governance and politics
Land Tenure & Use
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Abstract"Many national parks (NPs) and protected areas (PAs) worldwide are operating under difficult social and political conditions, including poor and often unjust relations with local communities. Multiple initiatives have emerged as a result, including co-management regimes and an increased emphasis on the involve-ment of indigenous people in management and conservation strategies more broadly. Yet, controversy over what constitutes an appropriate role for local people persists, and little research has been conducted as yet to systematically evaluate the extent to which NPs are socially (and not just ecologically) effective. This paper discusses a first attempt to examine the efficacy with which NPs address social equity, includ-ing property and human rights, and the relationship of indigenous people and NP managers. The results from an evaluation of equity in a purposive sample of six NPs in Canada and South Africa are presented. All but one of the case study NPs is found to be achieving or moving towards equity. In particular, NPs with more comprehensive co-management and support from neighbouring indigenous groups demonstrate higher equity scores across a variety of indicators, whereas NPs with lower levels of co-management do less well. NPs with settled land claims have not necessarily been more equitable overall, and a few NPs have been co-managed in name only."
Conservation and Society