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Rehabilitation of CPRs Through Re-Crafting of Village Institutions: A Comparative Study from Ethiopia and India

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Wisborg, Poul; Shylendra, H. S.; Gebrehiwot, Kindeya; Shanker, Ravi; Tilahun, Yibabie; Nagothu, Udaya Sekhar; Tewoldeberhan, Sarah; Bose, Purabi
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, IN
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/661
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
joint management--comparative analysis
forest management--comparative analysis
institutions--comparative analysis
village organization--comparative analysis
regulation--comparative analysis
Abstract: "The study examines approaches and experiences of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working with social and ecological rehabilitation of common pool resources (CPR), specifically the Joint Forest Management (JFM) programme in India and the 'area enclosures' programme in Tigray, Ethiopia. The paper is based on comparative field-research in the marginal, semi-arid project areas of N. M. Sadguru Water and Development Foundation (SWDF), Dahod District, Gujarat, India and the Relief Society of Tigray (REST), Wori Leke Woreda, Tigray, Ethiopia. A multidisciplinary team of practitioners and researchers carried out field observations, mapping and interviews with households and key informants in two villages from each of the project areas. "Similarities were observed in histories of resource depletion through increasing economic pressures and institutional break-down, as well as present-day community-initiatives to revert negative trends. In both India and Ethiopia the government claims ownership to the village commons, and in both situations people refer to lack of or unclear property rights and short-sighted CPR policies as the explanation for resource depletion. However, within similar institutional frameworks, local specific histories and empowerment processes shape contrasting outcomes. "The comparison of the two study villages in India showed a considerable achievement, but also vast untapped potential, for regeneration of commons. Major reasons for the depletion of forest resources and absence of appropriate institutions appeared to be the lack of long-term resource security through CPR ownership or well-defined and substantial user rights. People favoured the re-framing of rules, practices and remuneration patterns which the JFM framework provides. JFM appears to be the major avenue for the NGO to support management of CPRs. Yet, in spite of the formal instruments, conflicting interests and uneven motivation among government officials continue to create hurdles, uncertainty and conflict. "The area enclosures in Tigray, Ethiopia evolved through a grass-root process. Local people support it as a positive initiative for soil and water conservation, and it has had a clear bio-physical impact on large parts of the degraded commons. The local government institution (the baito) is empowered to control the management of commons, unlike in India where the formal local government body (Gram Panchayat) is not involved in CPR management under the JFM. "Differences in the empowerment of local institutions is interpreted as one of the main factors responsible for the varying processes and outcomes observed in the two study areas. "The political and institutional contexts of the two countries present NGOs with contrasting rules and opportunities, creating a need for a thorough, local-specific understanding of the processes of CPR management. The present South-South research cooperation has documented and analysed similarities and differences, and will further pursue their context-specific implications for NGO strategy, advocacy and policy. The study confirmed that partners gain from joint learning and experience sharing on CPR approaches, but also showed that institutional, cultural and economic differences make transfer of models and practices challenging."

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