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Strengthening or Weakening the Power of Municipal Governments? The Hidden Dimensions of Forest Governance in Bolivia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Pacheco, Pablo
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/10535/467
Sector: Forestry
Social Organization
Region: South America
Subject(s): IASC
state and local governance
forest management
Abstract: "In the last years, a plethora of studies have argued that strengthening municipal governance could effectively solve forest management issues in Latin America. Based on an evaluation focused in Bolivia, a country that has launched the most successful case of forestry decentralization worldwide, this paper suggests that strengthening municipal governance do not solve main problems of forest governance, and rather it would not solve the degradation of forest resources. Shrinking the role of municipalities in forest governance, while at the same time expanding the autonomy of community-based forest management for decision making, as well as securing them with forestland property rights, could result in a qualitative shift in forest governance. The little progress made in assembling a better distribution of powers among the different levels of government and a more equalitarian access to resources, limits seriously the likelihood for the local forest users, mainly the poorest people, to overcome their situation of marginality, enlarge their capacities for self- governance, and get access not only to land and forest, but to financial resources, and technical assistance to make full benefit of their forest resources. It is important to understand that municipal governments are good for local governance, but not necessarily good for forest governance."

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