Review of “Rights Without Responsibility: Governance Crisis in the Management of Natural Resources in Malawi”

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Chapter review by Rodwell Katundu

Chapter 13 – Rights Without Responsibility: Governance Crisis in the Management of Natural Resources in Malawi, by Wapulumuka O. Mulwafu (pp. 306 – 323)

This chapter unveils the relationship between politics, sustainable development, and the management of natural resources in Malawi. The author demonstrates that, as citizens have assumed more rights and freedoms to access and use natural resources, there has been a corresponding lack of responsibility for the management of the same resources. This chapter is very significant in this era as it shows the relationship between politics and the management of natural resources, and how the two may affect each other positively or negatively. In addition to this, the chapter has presented the role and influence of environmental narratives on environmental governance and through these narratives, it has shown how the interests of citizens, the state and its institutions have contributed to the degradation or the conservation of the environment since the colonial times. It also highlights the cost of environmental degradation in Malawi and the means of dealing with the crisis.
This chapter has two weaknesses: firstly, it fails to analyze the extent to which corruption and abuse of office by politicians and public officials responsible for the conservation of natural resources have contributed to the problem of environmental degradation in Malawi. It can be argued that the current institutions on the governance of natural resources and their agents have played a part in the problem of degradation. Secondly, this chapter fails to explain explicitly why people in this democratic era are not deterred by the current laws on environmental management.

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