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Voices from Below and from Within: Institutions and Resource Management in Coastal Ghana

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Soeftestad, Lars T.
Conference: Voices from the Commons, the Sixth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Berkeley, CA
Conf. Date: June 5-8
Date: 1997
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8044
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Africa
Subject(s): coastal resources
local knowledge
indigenous institutions
property rights
conflict resolution
World Bank
Abstract: "With reference to resource management, the two interrelated issues of tenurial arrangements and the social organization of production are of overriding importance. It is crucial to understand these issues in detail in connection with implementing work along the lines of both poverty alleviation and sustainable development. The call for sustainability is useful specifically in that it emphasizes close scrutiny of the factors that make development and poverty alleviation interventions more likely to succeed. An 'enabling environment' refers, in part, to a situation where people are motivated to participate because they identify individually and collectively with an enterprise, whether it be part of traditional culture or planned development activities. Therefore, creating an enabling environment requires increased emphasis on 'localizing' development to the extent that it makes possible meaningful local participation and communal development. The impact of national policies and policies at the local level depends largely on the effectiveness, efficiency and outreach of the national government. Given the variability of governments' presence at the local level, centrally initiated government interventions on CPR management institutions are likely to have different effects and interact differently with institutions, NGOs and community groups. Based upon field work in Ghana, the paper examines the interaction between government and local-level planning on the one hand, and the modern and traditional spheres on the other hand, in the context of coastal resources management. The emphasis will be on constraints and incentives operating on the macro and micro levels, as well as the interaction between them, resulting in the mode in which local systems adapt to various macro-level interventions. Topics discussed include: NGOs, traditional knowledge, local institutions, conflict resolution and design of property rights systems."

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