Local rules trump regulations imposed by outsiders in Madagascar

/ Wildmadagascar.org

Unwritten rules and social norms can be an effective means to manage protected areas in rural parts of Madagascar, reports a new study published in mongabay.com's open access journal Tropical Conservation Science.

Unwritten rules and social norms can be an effective means to manage protected areas in rural parts of Madagascar, reports a new study published in mongabay.com’s open access journal Tropical Conservation Science.

The research, conducted by Gildas Andriamalala of Blue Ventures Conservation and Charlie J. Gardner of WWF and the University of Kent, examined the creation and application of dina—an unwritten set of rules and social norms that govern life in rural communities—as tools for the governance of new protected areas. Andriamalala and Gardner used Velondriake, a community-managed marine protected area in southwest Madagascar, as a case study.

The authors describe the process of dina creation, from village-level meetings in which rules were decided to the legalization of the dina in court, and summarize the hierarchical enforcement procedures: rule-breakers are initially tried and fined in village meetings, but the legalisation of the dina allows villagers to call on legal procedures in case local enforcement fails. Andriamalala and Gardner conclude that such agreements can only be effective when they reflect the wishes of the community, and that externally-imposed dina may lack legitimacy and will therefore not be respected.

CITATION: Gildas Andriamalala and Charlie J. Gardner 2010. L’utilisation du dina comme outil de gouvernance des ressources naturelles : leçons tirés de Velondriake, sud-ouest de Madagascar. Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 3 (4):447-472.

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