Enabling Policy Frameworks for Successful Community Based Resource Management Initiatives

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East-West Center and Regional Community Forestry Training Center
"The workshop is the ninth in a series on 'Community-Based Management of Forestlands'. Since 1986, the Ford Foundation and the East-West Center have attempted to document the changes taking place in the management of Asia's forests as national governments collaborate with local communities and civil society to design win-win land management scenarios. The workshops have engaged key actors in dialogue and debate over new policies and practices. These brief sabbaticals provided an opportunity for forestry practitioners to assess and anticipate these changes within their countries, and to compare their experience with other national efforts. The writing workshops are also an important venue for busy practitioners to the take time to reflect upon and document their experience for wider analysis and sharing. The 2001 writing workshop brought together fifteen participants from eight countries. These people have all been involved in promoting collaborative approaches to environmental management. Though emphasis is generally on forestland management, this year's workshop was expanded to include irrigation management (papers by Pangare, Parajuli and Tan KimYong) because of the long history of institutional development in the management of irrigation resources. In all cases, participants are operating within a policy framework that espouses varying degrees of decentralization. Although decentralization holds the promise of administrative efficiency and more equitable distribution of benefits (Cheema and Rondinelli 1983), many decentralization efforts have neither empowered local communities nor improved forest management. Agrawal and Ribot (1999) have argued that, in order to realize many of the lauded benefits of decentralization, powers need to be transferred to lower level actors who are both elected and downwardly accountable. Empirical analyses of the lines of accountability are key to our understanding of the nature of decentralization and community-based resource management initiatives. Equally important is an examination of the conditions that facilitate downward accountability such as policy environments and local socio-political institutions."
resource management, forest policy, CBRM, community participation