Challenges to polycentric governance of an international development project tackling land degradation in Swaziland


To effectively address the drivers and impacts of land degradation requires polycentric governance systems that facilitate international development projects (IDPs). This paper analyses an IDP aiming to reduce land degradation in Swaziland. A longitudinal-style qualitative approach draws on repeat household surveys, semi-structured interviews and focus groups. We aim to identify the changes that have taken place since the departure of the IDP funders, and the subsequent dynamics between stakeholders. We: (1) chart the evolution of the institutional structures and processes of the IDP; and (2) assess community perceptions of IDP outcomes. Lack of meaningful participation at various stages of the PMC caused the project to lose momentum following the departure of the funders. We discuss these findings in relation to a polycentric approach, and identify how multi-stakeholder IDP can be facilitated as part of wider polycentric governance approaches to inform policies to combat land degradation within Swaziland and more widely.


Erosion Soil degradation Natural resource management Sustainable land management Rangelands Semi-arid