Collaborative environmental governance in agriculture : a case-study from the Upper Breede Valley

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The focus of this research is in the area of collaborative environmental governance, specifically analysing the Upper Breede Collaborative Extension Group (UBCEG) as an operational example of collaboration. Collaboration is one approach of governing whereby various agencies consult with one another and work together to resolve a common issue or achieve a mutual goal. The research adopts a case-study approach, exploring the collaborative group UBCEG. Firstly, the research aims to improve understanding of collaborative governance in natural resource management in the context of UBCEG in the Upper Breede Valley. Secondly, the study aims to investigate the role of collaboration in practice, by analysing two environmental assessments projects influenced by UBCEG within the study area. The first was a soil conservation works project in six foothill rivers, which gained consent approval through a combined environmental assessment in 2011. The second project is an environmental assessment that includes a wetland study, which may lead to a combined environmental assessment. The second project is in the early stages of the assessment, and the outcomes were not known at the time of completion of this research. Nevertheless, the collaborative governance involved in setting up this second environmental assessment, provides further evidence for analysis of the functioning of the UBCEG group. The methods employed to collect data for this study were that of semi-structured interviews, participant observation of group and project meetings and review of documents, specifically minutes of meetings. The findings of this research highlight the attributes and aspects of UBCEG which were important for collaborative environmental governance. Stakeholder perspectives and opinions were explored, as well as the drivers and strengths of the collaboration. The findings were evaluated and referenced against two collaborative governance theoretical frameworks.

Includes bibliographical references.