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Disputing African Floodplains: Comparison and Conclusions from AFWeP Case Studies

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Haller, Tobias; Helbling, Jurg
Journal: The Common Property Resource Digest
Volume: 74
Date: 2005
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2450
Sector: Social Organization
General & Multiple Resources
Region: Africa
Subject(s): conservation
common pool resources
resource management
indigenous institutions
Abstract: "The AFWeP conference papers show that Common Pool Resources have been managed primarily by institutions developed by local ethnic groups: concepts of territoriality had developed already in pre-colonial times, often linked with specific techniques. Ethno-professional groups have been the basis of the institutional set up defining where fisher groups, pastoralists and hunters were entitled to use which resource during what time in a season. This is the case in Mali where the Bozo and the Somono fishermen as well as the nomadic pastoralist groups had their specific space of resource use according to technique and season. The same is true for the different ethnic groups in the Rufiji area and for local groups in the Okavango Delta. In other areas, such as Cameroon and Zambia, one finds indigenous groups establishing resource rights under villages and more or less centralised regimes. In many of the cases, religious ideology was an important aspect in the customary institutional set up: First-comers mostly established a kind of spiritual ownership over the CPRs, which is still seen in parts of the researched areas as the legitimacy behind CPR usage and regulation. Interestingly, many of the traditional access rules do not exclude outsiders but regulate the conditions under which they are given and open the way for reciprocity. Another important aspect is that local institutions have not been developed in order to protect nature but rather solve coordination problems, formalise access rights under dynamic conditions and try to restrain use for better gains (i.e. waiting to fish out ponds in order to have bigger fish). Therefore, at best, conservation might be a non-intended by-product of specific constellations of resource users."

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