An added challenge for institutions is how to bring other actors into the policy-making process. The inclusion of civil and private sector groups and citizens into policy making, environmental management and decisionmaking processes can have positive effects.

Chapter 9: Genetically Modified Crops considers how such an approach can contribute to policy that responds more effectively to national and local priorities and values. As discussed in Chapter 1: The Human Dimension, opportunities for greater involvement in decision making are being created at the regional and sub-regional levels. However, these have not been able to effectively take on these challenges.


Regional organization faces the challenge of effectively linking national responses and policies with those at the regional level – linkages need to be developed not just between countries but also within countries. Certain kinds of regional cooperation, such as the management of transboundary parks and spatial development issues, require an interlinkages approach that brings together the relevant players across, and within, countries.

How is this to be achieved in an efficient and effective manner? Large organizations and committees that bring together all stakeholders are often cumbersome, ineffective and become overly bureaucratic. One approach is to systematically develop processes for harmonizing law at the sub-regional and regional level. In the SADC region this has been a key focus of environmental collaboration, which has developed several protocols to their founding treaty that establish an agreed approach in a given area. With this understanding, and clear and harmonized responses, the basis for partnerships and increased collaboration across sectors becomes easier. Law harmonization is a costly, intense and time-consuming process which requires extensive consultation and discussions at the national level that result in the clear identification of priority issues and the range of acceptable responses. A second option is to establish a process of regional engagement in which the different priority areas and responses are reconciled. This may require negotiation and mediation.

Evolving partnerships in natural resource-based management includes organizations for water, forests and wildlife. For example, the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) brings together ten riparian countries to manage the entire basin of the Nile. Central African countries established the Congo Basin forest partnership to effectively manage the sub-region’s forest resources. This initiative is strategic in that forests in Central Africa have been overexploited due to conflict in the subregion. Nine countries, namely, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Burundi, Rwanda and São Tomé and Príncipe, established the Forest Commission of Central Africa under the Conference of Ministers for the Forests of Central Africa (COMIFAC). The aim of COMIFAC is to facilitate the harmonization and monitoring of forest policies in Central Africa (COMIFAC 2004).There are also examples of similar partnerships in the wildlife sector. These include the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, an international park between South Africa and Namibia, established by a treaty in 2003, and the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park connecting South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park and Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park (Mohamed-Katerere 2001). Initiatives for collaborative marine management include the agreement between Angola, Namibia and South Africa to jointly manage the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (Mohamed-Katerere 2001).