Has Decentralisation of Forest Resources to Local Governments Really Taken off on the Ground? Experiences From Chongwe District in Central Zambia

Orleans Mfune


This paper questions the extent to which decentralisation of forest resources to local governments has really taken off on the ground in Zambia. Using the experiences of Chongwe District in Central Zambia, the paper examines the nature of powers over forest resources devolved to local governments, how this power is used, the outcomes of the use of this power and the challenges faced in the devolution process. Interviews were conducted with policy makers, district administration officials and members of two selected forest dependent communities in Chongwe. The results of the study show that decentralisation largely remains at policy rhetorical level and has hardly impacted on actual natural resources management practice on the ground. It shows that progress in decentralising forest resources to local governments is conditional on a number of factors including the prevailing political will of the authority devolving power, the capacity of local governments and the institutional context within which it is being implemented.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/jsd.v6n10p57

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