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Community Land and Natural Resource Management in Mozambique: Experiences of Pilot Community- Based Project: The Case of Gondola, Manica Province

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Tique, César A.
Conference: Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium, the Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/227
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
traditional resource management
institutional analysis
structural adjustment
community participation
political economy
social organization
Abstract: "Current data illustrates that the use and management of natural resources in Mozambique is developing quickly after sixteen years of civil war, particularly after the political transformation occurred, with introduction of a Structural Adjustment Program. Although, most recently data shows that Mozambique economy has grown at impressive rates, in which recent estimates indicates a GDP growth of 14% in 1997, the transformation from subsistence to market oriented production has been creating dramatic changes in the socio-economic relations of the resources users in community areas of Mozambique. Although those changes in the use of natural resources, including land and forest resources reflect the overall ongoing challenges in other sectors of the economy, towards a reallocation of productive resources from the traditional channels to the open market. Therefore, this paper looks to the breakdown of socio-economic customary units as a result of the introduction of competitive market oriented policies within community management of resources, using examples of community land resources management in Mozambique. "The central argument is that post-independence economy policies, particularly after the civil war and first democratic elections, have dramatically altered customary production systems and caused large imbalances in access, use and exploitation of land resources among local community members. This paper results from field visits to pilot experiences within community land resources delimitation project conducted in 1998 along the country including a field study conducted in the community management of forestry resources in Mabalane, in which a number of community member, local authorities and key informants were interviewed. "The result of this study indicates that current changes in political economy environment, particularly because they do not involve, de facto, the local people participation in decision-making processes has led to community management systems for not coping with all those changes. The results also show that local communities continued to be forced into dependence to local bureaucratic institutions or its competitors (who according to the community based management laws are supposed to be their partners) and socio-economic inequalities within their traditional community organization are taken place. This situation creates different access to land and resources within their communities and consequent weakness of their household structure and wealth. The study shows also that due to the absence of appropriate mechanism to defend communities in the community law, local bureaucratic institutions and 'competitors' fail in the patronage role, mainly because they continue to make all the decision and allocate resources, without taken into account community interests. The end result is that local communities have been trying to adopt inter and intra mechanisms to cope with those changes in resource allocation and use. "The paper concludes that those post-independence policies have resulted in unequal power relationships, inequitable access and distribution of resources among local communities. The paper recommend that community property policies and strategies should establish mechanisms to clearly involve local users in the decision-making processes, particularly when they are dealing with community resources with high socio-economic and market values in order to assure appropriate utilization and conservation."

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