This presentation will share insights into how the concept of transformative conservation can be applied to explore the role of transformative change in efforts to sustain the local commons in Africa. Using a case study of the Kafue River Floodplain in Zambia, the presentation will illustrate why efforts to build climate resilient local commons such as floodplains require long-term transformative conservation interventions. The presentation will argue that a transformative conservation approach, which is generative of change, is needed to deal with the many maladaptation challenges experienced by such local commons. It will show how climate change has adversely affected the Kafue River Floodplain and the ecosystem services it provides. Climate change has made weather patterns more variable, extreme, and unpredictable, and weather patterns have in turn shifted to more intense and frequent events with dire consequences for the local commons. Droughts in particular have become a major feature of the climate, socio-economics and politics of the local commons. These complex emergent issues related to climate change, floodplain management and the conservation of the local commons raise significant questions about the analytic linkages between adaptation and transformation. Can African local commons adapt to climate change with business as usual? Does climate resilience require more fundamental change and the subsequent emergence of a new state of the local commons? These and other provocative questions will be used to make a case for why the future prospects of the local commons in Africa will be defined by the capacity to transform rather than to adapt to these emergent conditions. Such capacity will require deliberate attention to governance processes that constrain and/or promote collective action among the users of the local commons.
Bimo Nkhata provides strategic leadership of the IIE Water Research Centre located at the IIE MSA campus (formerly Monash University South Africa) of the Independent Institute of Education in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Centre conducts applied research into water and other environmental related issues including climate change, forestry, wildlife, agriculture and energy. Nkhata is an internationally recognized researcher in the fields of water and environmental science. Over the years, he has worked closely as a researcher on several international initiatives with various research and academic institutions. He has published widely on common pool resources management, policy and governance. He is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of the Commons. Nkhata is a member of the Commission on Ecosystem Management of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) that provides global expert guidanc