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Collective Action Faliure and Environmental Degradation in Colombia's Pacific Coast: The Case of the Naya River Basin

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Velasco, Marcela
Conference: Capturing the Complexity of the Commons, North American Regional Meeting of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Conf. Date: Sep. 30-Oct. 2
Date: 2010
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/6552
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: South America
Subject(s): capacity building
local participatory management
river basins
resource management
ethnicity
Abstract: "To rein-in violent state-building, improve environmental governability and address issues of social justice, the 1991 Constitution reconfigured Colombia’s territorial regimes, decentralized politics, and legalized the rights of ethnic communities to ancestral territories. However, low implementation of the rule of law means that ethnic-group governance depends on the organizational capacities of local users and their ability to hold the government accountable. This paper analyzes organizational capacities in a remote resource system located in Colombia’s Pacific littoral. The multiethnic residents of the Naya River basin are losing territorial control as a result of violent uprooting and government failure to offer security and respect ancestral land rights. This paper argues that government malfeasance, overlapping legislations, and violent territorial control and rent seeking weaken local organizations and exacerbate the negative effects of elite-capture of representative institutions and inter-ethnic divisions on local governability and resource management. The paper adds to the study of ethnic territoriality and inter-ethnic relations in Latin America and collective action failure in the management natural resources."

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