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Resource Entitlements and Conflict Management in Common Grazing Lands: The Case of Yerer and Daketa Valleys, Eastern Ethiopia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Bogale, Ayalneh; Hagedorn, Konrad; Korf, Benedikt
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Conf. Date: August 9-13
Date: 2004
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1025
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
conflict resolution--case studies
pastoralism--case studies
institutional analysis
social networks
traditional institutions
Abstract: "The livelihoods of both livestock-keeping pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in eastern Ethiopian lowlands largely depend on livestock production based on property right systems originated from communal ownership for grazing lands and with exclusive rights of the household to crop lands. Even though these systems served well during low population and livestock density, the debate over common property regimes among development and resource economists is progressively more lively. "Since Hardin's prediction that all commonly managed resources would inevitably end in tragedy, many studies have challenged the overall acceptability of his theory (See for instance: Ostrom, 1990, Bromely, 1992, Swallow and Bromley, 1995, White and Runge, 1995). These studies shed light to the institutions-resource entitlement relationships in ever changing environment and shift in policies in pursuit of new strategies. The notion of entitlement which was first introduced by Amartya Sen to explain how it is that people can starve in the midst of food plenty in the early 1980s and adapted to capture spatial and temporal variability and dynamic processes inherent in environmental goods by Leach et al. (1999) is helpful in clarifying this shift in emphasis. Leach et al. (1999) shows how access to and control over natural resources is mediated by a set of interacting and overlapping institutions, both formal and informal, which are embedded in social life of rural communities. "The management of rangelands in Yerer and Daketa valleys depends on a complex body of rules established by local groups-rules established over time to resolve how best to regulate access to grazing lands. The definition of these rules, their supervision and adjustment depend on local organizations acting under the authority of traditional institutions. These organizations rarely act without having obtained widespread support for the decisions that need to be taken, by seeking the advice of tribal headmen and various local interests. In order to reinforce local management capacities, one needs to think it very important to strengthen these consensual decision-making systems. "Therefore, this study will sensitise policy makers, contribute to the policy debate and to the development of actions, which enhance sustainable pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods and to help households to cope during conditions of particular scarcity. The research study investigates how conflicting interests to multiple resource use and users are managed and how increasing pressure for resource access affects different communities as soon as pressure on resources increases. The research assesses local institutions, including social networks that mediate resource entitlements and how these institutions (1) are able to resolve conflicts and disputes on resources use and (2) how they mediate distributional issues over resources. We understand institutions as emerging sites of social interaction, negotiation and contestation comprising heterogeneous actors having diverse goals. Given the ecological uncertainties and the variation of resource users over space and time, institutional arrangements for resource governance may be ad hoc, ambiguous and overlapping. "Although limited in scope/coverage, it is expected that this study will identify significant variables in the resource entitlement conflict management linkage. It focuses on institutional arrangements that prevail in the study area which facilitate mobility of pastoralists for mutual benefits."

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