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The Pan Amazon Rain Forest Between Conservation and Poverty Alleviation: Property Rights Regimes at the Triple Border in the Southern Colombian Trapecio Amazonico

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Muller, Sascha
Conference: Survival of the Commons: Mounting Challenges and New Realities, the Eleventh Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bali, Indonesia
Conf. Date: June 19-23, 2006
Date: 2006
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/1931
Sector: Global Commons
Region: South America
Subject(s): IASC
property rights
poverty alleviation
Amazon River region
Abstract: "Sustainable development and the reduction of poverty and hunger are internationally agreed goals. Achieving them is crucial, but currently the world is falling behind on both - a circumstance that applies to the Amazon as well as many other forest regions in the so-called Third World. Though the Amazon Rainforest - being the largest remaining rainforest, covering six percent of the earth, and crossing nine countries - remains a mayor hotspot for successful natural resource management in the context of linking conservation and poverty alleviation. Currently, the Colombian legislature is about to approve a new forest law ("ley forestal 264/04") that envisages forest concessions allocated by government authorities. The de jure allocation of natural resources will be under state ju-risdiction without participatory planning mechanisms, at the same time ignoring and undermining de facto existing local institutions which until now have, to a certain degree, been able to stem the pressures of deforestation. Peru has implemented a similar forest law, already fraught with enormous negative social and environmental consequences. Brazil has also taken steps toward forest concessions in hitherto inaccessible and relatively untouched forest areas. "In December 2005, relevant actors from the three countries gathered in the Colombian border town of Leticia to discuss their respective expectations and sketch a coherent collective approach for the Pan Amazon. The paper picks up this discussion process and focuses on the use and conservation patterns concerning common-pool resources (CPR) and regimes in the different action arenas at the local level in Colombian indigenous territory and at the triple border. In the different de jure variations of property rights, the strategies of legal, illegal and paralegal use of natural resources through the relevant actors--owners and non-owners (i.e. as possessors)--and their conflicts are presented. The specific objective is to contribute to a better understanding of the incentives set by competing action arenas and regimes in the triple border setting. "The general hypothesis can be formulated as follows: Sustainable development in the region can only be achieved through collaborative and participatory planning and by taking into account the incentives given through the competing property rights regimes in the different countries. It is the inefficiency of the policy-based allocation mechanism that supports the de facto open access regime with the consequence of unsustainable exploitation and overuse. Since resource-conflicts are embedded in the overall conflict environment of the region and its own institutions, this case is particularly interesting. While most research focuses on the structure of the bundles of rights held by different actors, this paper aims to understand the influence of the process of allocation of natural re-sources through local as well as national authorities and co- management organizations (de jure as well as de facto, legal as well as illegal ones) on the use and conservation strategies of the relevant actors and their conflicts."

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