With daily reminders about pandemics, transnational crime, weapons proliferation and other evils associated with the “dark side” of globalization, it’s good to remember that the connectivity that defines globalization also offers opportunities for new approaches to combating these challenges. In developing countries, policy creativity, often in the form of nontraditional partnerships, can mean the difference between life and death. In Mozambique, one of the poorest countries on the planet, cooperative initiatives that combine the capabilities of the government, international institutions and regional neighbors offer just such an example of how strange bedfellows can make for effective partnerships.
Mozambique is rich in many things dear to conservationists: exotic and sometimes endangered wildlife, fish stocks and timber, to name three. Indeed, the country relies significantly on wildlife for tourism, on the oceans and waterways for food stocks and on timber for export. Because Mozambique is so poor, though, the government does not have the necessary resources or capabilities to effectively counter those who threaten those treasures. For example, Mozambique’s navy has only some 25 boats, mostly donated, to cover a coastline almost twice the size of California’s. In addition, government funding for fuel is extremely limited, and maintenance issues abound, further decreasing the potential for effectively using the few boats that are available. Similarly, the police and military are woefully understaffed and underequipped.
The same cannot be said, however, about the poachers they are battling against, who are often well-equipped and well-armed and have full access to modern technology.