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Co-management and protected areas in Canada: The case of Gwaii Haanas

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Hawkes, Susan Lesli Elizabeth





The notion of co-management springs from recent critiques of conventional approaches to common property resource management. These state-level approaches have long been aimed at avoiding the "Tragedy of the Commons". However, a growing number of critics are questioning both their effectiveness and the fundamental assumptions on which they are based. At the same time, traditional, community based approaches to the management of common property resources are being "rediscovered". Over the past two decades, several co-management agreements have been negotiated with First Nations for fish and wildlife, particularly in the North. More recently, four such agreement have been negotiated for protected areas. One of these is the 1993 Canada-Haida (Gwaii Haanas) Agreement, reached between the Government of Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation after six years of complex negotiations. In terms of shared decision-making power, it is the most far-reaching co-management in Canada to date. Evaluative criteria against which to measure the Canada-Haida Agreement were developed from a literature review on common property resource management. A case study approach is used to describe the Agreement in its political, cultural and biophysical context. This case study is based on a series of multiple, semi-structured interviews, augmented with literature when necessary. Based on ten criteria, or principles of success, it is determined that the Agreement is likely to be successful (to achieve its goals) in the long term. However, the criteria concerning the Agreement's enforcement and decision-making provisions and the representation of third parties, are not clearly met. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

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