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Exit (s) from war and nature conservation. Trajectory of a national park in Mozambique



ID: <10670/1.s201tk>


International audience Since colonial times, Gorongosa national park has been the jewel of conservation public policies in Mozambique. It has also been at the centre of multiple armed confrontations, whose logics and configurations have constantly changed: a national liberation struggle from the 1960s to 1975, a civil conflict from the end of the 1970s until 1975, and the resurgence of tensions between Frelimo and Renamo ever since the 2010s. Most of these confrontations are localized around Gorongosa, and this feeds an old collective imaginary regarding the symbolics of a natural space whose control (or at least the prevention from attacks) is synonymous with military victory and of political domination on the national scale.Even if the country is officially in a post-conflict situation, and if the United Nations peace-keeping mission ended in 1995 and Mozambique is considered to be “a donor darling”, if Gorongosa national park is managed within the framework of a public-private partnership largely funded by a philanthropic foundation, it is conflict, or the possibility of a conflict, that underlies everyday life in general, and conservation policymaking in particular. This article thus questions the historicity of the undetermined dimension of the notion of “the end of the war”, by analysing the flexible relationship between conservation public policies and war’s permanence.

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