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Community-Based Governance of Coastal Zone and Marine Resources in Madagascar


June 13, 2007


Washington, DC

On account of the “legal transplant” of French civil law into traditional customary law in Madagascar, the traditional social code generally known as “Dina” has coexisted with the modern law since the pre-colonial era and has conditioned the implementation of such law. The concept and use of Dina has been influenced by that process. This presentation will illustrate the role of Dina as a mechanism for reconciling modern decentralized and traditional governance of marine resources and the coastal zones in Madagascar. Democratic participation is important for enforcing the regulations governing marine resources and coastal zones. As law should be the will of people themselves, it is necessary to develop legislation in community fashion such as through Dina. It is especially critical that regulations be imbued with community aspiration and culture so that the population can respect laws freely. The three cases cited in this presentation will illustrate the different ways in which Dina may be used depending on the interests of the actors. Integrating the “legal” and the “legitimate” is a big challenge. In some cases, Dina is not successful at protecting local community or fishermen rights. Given the potential for integrated coastal zone management and community-based management, Dina, as a legal mechanism, may be strengthened in order to more effectively protect local people’s rights.


Dr. Lalaina Rakotoson, ELI Visiting Scholar