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Participatory Governance and Institutional Innovation: A Case of Andhra Pradesh Forestry Project (JFM)

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Reddy, M. Gopinath; Bandhii, Madhuusudana
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/10535/1867
Sector: Forestry
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): IASC
participatory management--case studies
joint management--case studies
forest policy--case studies
community forestry--case studies
institutional design
Abstract: "JFM is a different concept from many earlier attempts to promote forestry needs of the people, simply because it builds from the roles played by both local forest users and the professionals employed by the State to act as custodians. The combined effort of community and Government is the ultimate solution under prevailing circumstances therefore the Government intervention is expected to address the equity and transparency aspects to strengthen the voice of the poor. In the same way, participation of the people will warrant a constant vigil against all odds to protect the forests, hence VSS / FPC should be viewed as an entity for an overall development of village resources and its people, and not merely an instrument of developing the degraded forests, more so when the forthcoming endeavour of graduation from JFM to CFM focussing on alleviating rural poverty. This would be carried out through improved forest management and community development through participation of the stakeholders in a democratic participatory approach and empowering forest dependent local communities are expected to improve the forest development. "For the success of any programme of this nature and magnitude needs, top-level commitment at both political and official levels and process transparency. Unless the commitment is extended beyond missionary zeal towards humane and social regard the results would be ineffective. In the same way transparency wins the confidence of the people targeted by the programme. At the same time not ignoring the potentiality of the involvement of NGOs, who could play a crucial role. Above all if the programme is tailored to local conditions, culture, institutional and geoclimate not throttling local creativity and innovation there will be no stopping. Though most of these aspects are addressed in the CFM initiative of AP, the effectiveness of the programme depends largely on the implementation. As observed in other development programmes in AP, the implementation could suffer due to the scaling of the programme. This issue was observed to 29 be crucial for the success of JFM by many district forest officials. For, even in the case of CFM FD continues to be the main implementing agency. The human resources of the department are not enough to follow the intensive approach of sustainable community participation when the scale of the programme is large, especially in the districts with larger forest areas. In this context, it is necessary to consider NGOs and Panchayats as implementing agencies. There is also an urgent need to first resolve the contentious issues of forest dwellers land and forest rights, providing them with tenure security for devolved management of community forests based on enhancing both livelihood and ecological security. At the same time Conflicts Resolving Mechanism need to be developed to cope with the newer conflicts emerging out of the implementation of the programme of this magnitude."

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