Resettlement and local livelihoods in Nechsar National Park, Southern Ethiopia

Thesis by Abiyot Negera Biressu

This thesis deals with resettlement and local livelihoods in Nechsar National Park, in Southern Ethiopia. It asks three main questions: Why is resettlement of the Guji out of Nechsar National Park emphasized? What are the arguments? What is the relation between the park and its natural resources and the Guji livelihoods? What is the place and right of local communities in natural resource management in the national political context? To answer these questions, data was collected through fieldwork that involved the collection of both oral and written sources. Qualitative analysis of the data shows that the Guji in Nechsar area are dependent on the natural resources of the park for their livelihoods, as they get key resources like water and pasture for their cattle from there. Despite this, park development projects in Nechsar National Park have emphasized resettlement of the Guji out of the park. The move with which the park tried to implement the resettlement was more coercive than participatory and consensual, despite government decentralization policy’s recognition of the importance of local communities’ participation in natural resource management and the protection of their livelihoods, in case environmental projects impact them. Such emphasis on the resettlement of the Guji out of the park is embedded within conservation ideology, perception of mode of life of the Guji and local political contexts. In view of the fact that emphasizing on the financial and environmental aspects of protected area management to the neglect of its social dimension causes problems both to the resource users and the wildlife, the thesis recommends the pursuance of double sustainability, in which the protection of the environment and local livelihoods should be emphasized simultaneously, in line with Cernea and Schmidt-Soltau (2006).

Thesis available