I-CAN – The Institutional Canopy of Conservation: Governance and Environmentality in East Africa program is a 7-year, $2.5M (CAD) research initiative funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the International Development Research Centre of Canada as part of their International Partnerships for Sustainable Societies initiative. The project officially started on August 1, 2014 and will end on July 31, 2021. Led by the African Conservation Centre (ACC), Kenya, and McGill University, Canada, this partnership project involves a rich network of collaborators and partners from universities, research institutions and non-governmental organizations in Canada, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, the U.S., Netherlands and Germany. The co-directors of the project are Prof. John Galaty from the Department of Anthropology, McGill University, and Dr. David Western, the Chairman of ACC.
The project focuses on the rangelands, wetlands and forests of the East African savannah, especially in the borderlands between Kenya and Tanzania where the world’s greatest concentration of biodiversity and its most significant repository of wildlife lies. The I-CAN research team addresses the challenge of combining protection of biodiversity with strengthened livelihoods, whether through recognizing local rights over resources, livelihood diversification, or stimulation of a new green, post-oil economy, including ecotourism. The major goal of the project is to identify the most effective designs for future Community-Based Conservation programs by examining the impacts of ongoing conservancy experiments on community livelihoods and members’ attitudes and practices towards natural resources. On the basis of the results obtained, critical issues of public policy – at local, national and global levels – regarding the rights and obligations of communities in managing and utilizing the natural resources on which communities depend, will be assessed. The I-CAN project therefore addresses the conundrum of whether often-indigenous community members should be included in the management of protected areas and in conservation enterprises, as partners and stakeholders.
Program Directors: John G. Galaty and David Western