From international conventions to local park management plans : an analysis of the vertical integrity of Zambia's national park system : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Management at Massey University, New Zealand
National parks, particularly in the Global South, are struggling to achieve their economic,
ecological, and socio-cultural objectives and their sustainability is now in question. The
challenges faced by national parks cross jurisdictional boundaries, cutting through
vertical tiers of governance, from supranational organisations, via national
governments, to sub-national entities. Given this complexity, it is extremely challenging
to make system-wide improvements. Sustainable national park management requires
whole-of-government approaches and policy consistency across different governance
levels. Aligned policy frameworks are essential for achieving consistency, driving
collaboration, and, ultimately, coherence where subnational actors work together with
other actors to achieve common goals towards global challenges. Examining the
alignment of policies used across the different governance levels could provide
information to help improve sustainable national park management.
This study focuses on Zambia’s national park laws, policies, plans, and reports, and
particularly how these align with international principles for national park management.
Thematic content analysis is used to examine how a set of IUCN national park
management principles are considered in Zambia’s national park legislation, policies,
plans, and reports.
The results reveal wide variation in the extent to which Zambia’s national park laws,
policies, plans, and reports reflect the IUCN principles. They highlight isolated outcomes
of positive alignment with the IUCN principles both at national and local level, amidst a
general picture of uneven support for the IUCN principles. This is because international
principles are introduced, or interpreted, contingent on specific local conditions, making
it difficult for policymakers to develop local policies that mirror global policy models. A
balance between the respect for international principles and an understanding and
appreciation of the local context thus appears to be a way for strengthening policy
linkages between the global and local. International and local level policymakers retain
an important responsibility in this regard.