Strengths and Limitations of Conservation NGOs in Meeting Local Needs

  • Emmanuel O. Nuesiri
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Anthropology of Sustainability book series (PSAS)


Conservation nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) are often involved in the design and implementation of global forest management initiatives such as the REDD+, which currently is being rolled out by the UNFCCC, the UN-REDD Programme and the World Bank as part of efforts to mitigate climate change. Nigeria joined the UN-REDD in 2010 and submitted its REDD+ readiness proposal in 2011. The proposal has a national component and subnational forestry activities in the Cross River State (CRS) as the pilot site. This chapter examines the involvement of local NGOs in the CRS consultative participatory meetings to validate the Nigeria-REDD proposal. It shows that political representation of local communities in the validation exercise was through customary authorities and NGOs who claim to speak for and are recognised as advocates for the communities. Local government authorities, the substantive political representatives of local communities were left out of the process. The chapter also shows how the CRS Forestry Commission, which organised the validation exercise, used NGOs as pawns to legitimise it, and how these NGOs were powerless to challenge the Forestry Commission. In contrast, local governments, the third tier of government and political authority routinely disrespected by state-level administrators, regularly challenge such higher level government actors in the courts and the national legislature. Thus, local NGOs may speak and work for local social development but compared to the substantive political representatives at the local level (e.g., local government authorities), local NGOs have limited resources to challenge the political shenanigans of the state.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emmanuel O. Nuesiri
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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