Evolution of Forest Law and Regulation in Zambia from 1973 to 2015: Analysis of the Gap Between Text and Context


Makweti Sishekanu

Part time Lecturer of Environmental Law and Governance in the School of Education, The University of Zambia (UNZA), Lusaka, Zambia;

Legal and Regulations Expert, National Safeguards Technical Working Group of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Lusaka, Zambia;

UN FAO Zambia National Consultant Trainer in Community-based Forest Enterprises, Lusaka, Zambia,



The legal and regulatory environment of the forestry sector in Zambia has undergone significant shifts from a socialist approach post-independence to a public participatory approach in the 21st Century. However, the shifts have in themselves carried forward a legal/regulatory gap which this paper focuses on. The paper contends that this regulatory gap has been perpetuated by a lack of attention to the legal and regulatory trilemma of effectiveness, coherence and responsiveness of the legal rules to social context. Therefore, the paper takes a critical legal-empirical examination of the legal/regulatory infrastructure and the implicit ethos around which it has been built from 1973 to 2015. Ultimately, the paper finds that, in protecting and enforcing its values for forestry, the state perpetuates a historical culture of Command-and-Control and consequently, loses focus on the effectiveness, responsiveness and coherence of the legal/regulatory machinery to the targeted socioeconomic context.  


Command-and-Control and Deregulation (Regulation in many Rooms), Law, Regulation.


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