The article shares some ideas about community-based natural resource management programmes (CBNRM), which focus on three areas: rural development, nature conservation, and strengthening of local governance. Arguing that the prerequisites of a successful CBNRM programme are a favourable legislative context, a self-defined community, and the absence of basic felt needs, the article discusses the initial experiences of such a programme in Mozambique. It shows the rather slow response of an inland community that has some forest resources, but which is focusing on economic gains with minimum engagement of its own. By contrast, a fishing community was immediately inspired by the programme, organising itself into co-management committees and starting to use its already over-fished resources sustainably. The two cases show that CBNRM programmes are not universal blueprints but have to be adapted to each specific situation.
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