BRINGING THE INTEGRATIVE ASPECT OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INTO COMMUNITY NATURA L RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: THE CASE OF AGRICULTURAL LAND USE IN LIMPOPO, SOUTH AFRICA
Free (open access)
Volume 9 (2014), Issue 3
445 - 463
C. MUSVOTO, K. NORTJE & M. MURAMBADORO
Rural communities in South Africa manage natural resources under conditions of resource degradation driven by unsustainable practices. This is against a backdrop of the country adopting the principle of sustainable development and putting in place policies to facilitate integrated decision making, which is pivotal to sustainable development. Sustainable development is an integrative concept with a basis in a ‘whole systems approach’. There are no tools tailored to facilitate integration in community level decision making in South Africa and there is need to develop such tools. In line with the stakeholder approach, users have to be involved in the development of the tools and inform their content. The question is whether community level users are able to adequately inform such tools. The objective of this study was to assess the input of potential community level users into development of a decision support tool for improving integration in natural resource management (specifically agricultural land use) decision making. Stakeholder analysis was used to identify decision makers and their responsibilities and elucidate decision-making processes, criteria, context and characteristics of the tool. The main findings were that (i) community agricultural land use decisions focus on addressing social and economic needs with no consideration for the environment; (ii) users visualised the tool as a set of guidelines for enabling equal consideration of social, economic and environmental factors and expected it to facilitate group decision making, communication and participation of different stakeholders in decision making. Stakeholder expectations for the tool were different. Stakeholder analysis was used to accommodate these different perspectives and reach consensus on issues. Stakeholders were able to provide integral information to developing a tool that is both acceptable to users and addresses the integration principle of sustainable development.
Agricultural land use, decision-making, integration, natural resources, support, sustainable, tool, utilisation.