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Building Local Democracy through Natural Resource Interventions: An Environmentalists Responsibility

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Ribot, Jesse C.
Date: 2008
Agency: World Resources Institute, Washington, DC
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/4396
Sector: Social Organization
General & Multiple Resources
Region: Middle East & South Asia
East Asia
South America
Subject(s): environmental policy
natural resources
governance and politics
institutional design
Abstract: "In practice, everything but democratic decentralization has taken place in the name of 'democratic decentralization' reforms: privatization, administrative deconcentration, NGOization, selective civil society inclusion, participatory processes, co-management, and committee-based project implementation. "The interventions being chosen by environmental policy makers or projects in the local arena are not empowering 'democratic' local partners. They do not support local democracy because they usually lack the two key elements of effective democratic decentralization: downward accountability and significant discretionary power. "While many interventions increase local participation in natural resource decisions, they may do so in non-sustainable ways or in ways that hinder the institutionalization of local democracy within local government. We still have a lot to learn about the best ways for governments, donors, and large NGOs to support local institutions to foster the emergence and consolidation of local democracy, and the research for this brief yields a number of important initial recommendations. "The brief includes detailed case studies of Benin, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malawi and Senegal."

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