DAR ES SALAAM - A commitment was made by a group of key stakeholders to develop a process to seek strategies for equitable, sustainable and effective community wildlife conservation in Tanzania.
The commitment came at the end of a two-day roundtable meeting hosted by the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum, “Wildlife for Communities in Tanzania.” The roundtable brought together selected stakeholders from communities, the private sector, civil society, government, development partners and national and international experts, with the goal to enhance shared understanding of opportunities and challenges facing community wildlife management and development of multi-stakeholder initiatives for its improvement.
 “These are important gatherings and I think we need to have such meetings as frequently as possible,” explained Professor Sosevele, Policy Program Coordinator for WWF.  “They provide an opportunity for people to share experiences, to exchange ideas, and to develop new thinking for how best we can improve conservation and extendmore benefits to the local communities,” he said.
Many were in agreement that more coordinated efforts and increased stakeholder involvement are needed to improve community wildlife management in Tanzania today.  The meeting concluded with an informal committee tasked to develop a process and strategies that will lead to a more coordinated and inclusive approach.
“It’s very important that stakeholders at different levels share perspectives so that policies benefit from those that have experience on the ground and those that have been gathering information on the performances of those policies,” said Mwape Sichilongo, WWF-Zambia Coordinator of Regional CBNRM Program.  “Otherwise, we risk policies remaining static and practice on the ground demanding more out of the policy framework,” he explained.
Information was exchanged through presentations and discussions on new research, community experiences, private sector engagement, policy analysis and regional experiences with community wildlife management. 
Major themes emerging included the need for better governance and management, improved applied research for informed decision making, exploration of the economic viability of WMAs and other approached to CWM and increased capacity building and training efforts on the ground.     
“This is a great workshop in that it brought many stakeholders from all over the country and even outside this country to discuss about natural resource issues, particularly WMAs in this country,” said Alais Morindat from the International Institute of Environment and Development.  “And as we have seen, there are a lot of opportunities, but also many challenges that need to be addressed.”