Accepted paper:

The dynamics of the environmental NGO - State relations in forest and wildlife monitoring and law enforcement in the Congo Basin


Aurelian Mbzibain (University Of Wolverhampton)
Teodyl Nkuintchua Tchoudjen (University of Wolverhampton)

Paper short abstract:

Using the Four-C model (Complementarity, Co-optation, Confrontation, Cooperation) and drawing on a multi methods qualitative study approach, this paper provides insights on ENGO strategies to navigate complex relations with the State

Paper long abstract:

The role, functions, and influence of African Environmental NGOs (ENGOs) over the past 20 years is gradually being documented, but there remains an important gap on the understanding of their relations with State. In this paper, we ask: which strategic interests drive the relations between ENGOs and State, and how could a relevant adjustment of those relations reflect on ENGOs' efficiency? We address these questions through analysis of four ENGOs leading independent forest and wildlife monitoring and enforcement initiatives in four Congo Basin countries. Data were collected through a multi-method approach comprising content analysis, case study and semi structured interviews with leading practitioners. Complementarity, Cooperation, Co-optation and Confrontation are the main types of ENGOs - State relations in line with Najam (2000). The cross-country approach allows us to highlight the underlying drivers, opportunities and constraints associated with all four types of NGO-State relations. Ultimately, we argue that ENGOs conducting forest monitoring and wildlife monitoring are more likely to achieve predefined outcomes when they are able to navigate through the fluidity and hurdles of constraining interactions with the State, and harness the full potential of positive interactions. Overall, the paper demonstrates that while space has been created for increased NGO participation and contribution in the area of resource governance, the role of the state has not diminished with the recognition that the ultimate enforcement of relevant legislation remains the mandate of the sovereign State. The implications for policy and practice are discussed.

panel I6
Opening up natural resource governance: the roles of non-state and non-traditional actors