Citation
Securing the commons

Material Information

Title:
Securing the commons
Alternate Title:
Who’s Managing the Commons? : Inclusive management for a sustainable future
Creator:
Drylands Programme ( Author, Primary )
Shared Management of Common Property Resources (Program) ( contributor )
Hesse, Ced ( Author, Secondary )
Trench, Pippa ( Author, Secondary )
Bass, Christine Kae ( illustrator )
Place of Publication:
[London]
[Oxford]
Publisher:
International Institute for Environment and Development. Drylands Programme
SOS Sahel International UK. Shared Management of common Property Resources
Manufacturer:
Russell Press
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
أفريقيا -- الساحل
Afrique -- Sahel
Sahel ( LCSH )
Sahel -- Periodicals ( LCSH )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
Africa -- Sahel
Coordinates:
16.024646 x 13.321854

Notes

General Note:
This title was published jointly by IIED and SOS Sahel International UK
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Hesse, Ced : URI http://viaf.org/viaf/26799457
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Trench, Pippa : URI http://viaf.org/viaf/275277823
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : SOS Sahel (Organization : London, England) : URI http://viaf.org/viaf/133850012
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Shared Management of Common Property Resources (Program) : URI http://viaf.org/viaf/153936819
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : International Institute for Environment and Development : URI http://viaf.org/viaf/126352479
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Drylands Programme : URI http://viaf.org/viaf/155236283
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Bass, Christine Kae : URI http://viaf.org/viaf/48001687

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SOAS University of London
Holding Location:
Special Collections
Rights Management:
This item is licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial License. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this work non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms
Resource Identifier:
1605-2293 ( issn )
1074994516 ( oclc )
241379838 ( oclc )

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Full Text
Seaunryg thre caonmers No 1

Who's Managing
the Commons’

Inclusive management for
a sustainable future.

by Ced Hesse and Pippa Trench
May 2000







Design: Eileen Higgins & Andy Smith. Cover illustration © Christine Bass
Printers: Russell Press, Nottingham, UK. Printed on Highland Velvet Pro, 100% chlorine free
ISSN - 1605 - 2293



Contents

PREFACE oo iii cece teenie ettetieetintiteninitnteniessienteeniersreeeeneen 2
INTFOCUCTION oo. ieee cece etter eetteetietnientttiesiieniietisitesteneenresteenes 5
1.1 The Challenge ......ceccccceccceeceeceeeeeseeecceeeceetseeseeecteeecessestessietoteeneesserees 7
Managing change and recognising Civersity 0.0.0.0... eceeeetteneeneees 9
2.1 An unpredictable reSOurce DaSe ..........cccccccceeceececeeeeceeeeseetenetuneenteeeeeaes 9
2.2 Multiple users, multiple rights 0.0... ccc eee eeeceeeeeteneeeeteseeneteeees 10
Constraints to shared management of common property resources ..13
3.1 The policy CnvirONMeNt 0... eee cece ee eee cee eeeeceeeceeseeteeesteeoteesteeeeees 13
3.2 Improving development approaches to decentralised NRM ...........068 19
3.3 Promoting GOOd GOVErNANCE 0... ec ceec cee eee cee teeeteeeeetetentetnteeeteeetenes 23
CONCIUSION..0. eee en nee ines ernie tnnte ries tnieteneeenieeneeeenniees 27
Appendix 1: The programme 2... cece einen enteritis tieeneeeneesieeneees 31
Appendix 2: Useful Publications... ener eei een erieteieneeniee 33
Appendix 3: REfEPeN CES... eee eee nee enieten ene eneteneeenetietineeentenieees 35

Inclusive management for a sustainable future

1



@ Who's Managing the Commons?



Preface

What are the commons, how should they be managed, and by whom? These are
critical questions in the current wave of decentralisation and tenure reform
sweeping many Sahelian states. Governments are passing new legislation to
devolve the responsibility for managing natural resources to local communities, but
despite growing awareness of the vital role of the commons in local livelihood
systems, there is still some resistance to transferring full management of their use
to the communities that depend upon them. Some policy makers are doubtful as
to whether these areas can be properly managed by community-based
organisations, and it is still believed in some quarters that privatisation or state
control are the only means of preventing the degradation of resources that are
customarily held in common. The alternatives, which range from full local control
to joint management by the community and the state, are relatively new and
untested.

There are no simple solutions or blanket remedies that can serve as models for
managing common property resources, whose very nature, particularly in highly
diverse and dynamic environments such as the Sahel, requires processes that can
be tailored to suit specific circumstances. However, as local organisations and
projects attempt to identify institutional mechanisms to regulate competing claims
and practices relating to the use of common resources, it is essential that their
experiences are documented and disseminated in order to develop more effective
systems for managing resources in the Sahel.

This is the first of a series of working papers that will be published as part of a
regional action-research programme on the shared management of common
property resources in the Sahel (SMCPR).1 See figure 1 on page 12. By documenting
ongoing field-based experiences, we aim to promote learning and exchange
among those who are interested in the practices and policies affecting resource
management in dryland Africa.



1 SMCPR, or the Shared Management of common Property Resources in the Sahel, is co-ordinated by SOS Sahel
International (UK) and the Drylands Programme of IIED. A brief overview of the programme is given in Appendix 1.

Inclusive management for a sustainable future

3



This first paper sets the scene, presenting the Key issues identified by the partners
of the SMCPR programme, thus providing a benchmark of our current thinking,
while placing it within the broader debate on decentralised management of natural
resources in dryland Africa. It does not attempt to provide a comprehensive analysis
of the situation or of the theory of common property resources, as this has been
done elsewhere2. However, many of these issues will be considered in detail as the
series covers our partners’ growing experience in the field.



Picture: Ced Hesse



3 Se a = oe : z
Ersuing equitable aness to strategc rescrress such 55 this pernarert
Wetertcle in the Gouna @V&4li) is esertidl for the fUt_re deaeicnnert cf
tre Sarel.





2 A list of useful publications is given in Appendix 2.

4 Who's Managing the Commons?



Introduction

Local people have for many years been considered by policy makers, academics
and development workers to be incapable of managing common _ property
resources in a sustainable manner. Customary tenure systems with their communal
forms of ownership and management were considered to be archaic, locking
people into a ‘tragedy of the commons’ scenario. The community was considered
unable to stop individual users from over-exploiting the resource.

Pastoralists were singled out as a case in point. By holding land in ‘common’, it was
thought that individual herders had no incentive to limit the number of animals
they grazed on that land. Without such limits, the conditions were set for land
degradation and ‘desertification’ (Hardin, 1968; Pratt & Gwyn, 1977).

t was thought that the way to avert an environmental disaster was for the state to
take charge and impose an external solution, namely privatisation or
nationalisation. This rationale also served the interests of central governments. In
the Sahel, this lead to the wholesale appropriation of all common land and its
transfer to the public domain, under government controlled management?.
Common property resources in the Sahel have been managed in this way for over
AO years with very mixed results.



Conventional wisdom, however, is now leaning the other way and decentralised
management of natural resources? in the Sahel is back on the agenda.
International and regional conventions‘ are providing broad policy frameworks for
the involvement of local people in resource management. Central governments in
the Sahel are trying to implement the rhetoric of local participation by reforming
legislation and passing new laws to allow a greater involvement of civil society in
the management of natural resources.



2 In the Sahel relatively little land has been managed by the private sector though this is changing.

3 Decentralisation involves the transfer of decision making powers and authority from central government to actors or
institutions that are democratically elected to represent and are accountable to the people within their jurisdiction (Agrawal
& Ribot, 1999).

4 For example: United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Convention for Biodiversity.

Inclusive management for a sustainable future



Box 1 Common property and common property resources

There are several interpretations of the meaning of common property that derive from
different legal systems and traditions. In French law, the term bien commun is used to
designate a thing that does not belong to anyone and is understood as public property, in
the public domaine such as national parks, river systems or mountain lands.

Under Anglo-Saxon legal systems, common property refers to co-ownership rights. These
cannot be divided, alienated or developed without the unanimous consent of all common
property owners, or according to the rules established by the common owners.

In international law, the term ‘global commons’ refers to resources of value to the planet
which are ‘owned! internationally, such as marine resources, which have been defined as
‘owned by no-one and belonging to everyone’ (Berkes, 1989 quoted in IIED, 2000:16).

Common property’ resources are public goods which are used simultaneously or
sequentially by different users because of difficulties in claiming or enforcing exclusive
rights, or because they are so sparse or uncertain that it is not worth doing so (Ostrom,
1990:30 quoted in Cousins, 2000:152). In contrast to open access resources, common
property resources are governed by institutions who claim ownership and management
rights over the resources in question on behalf of a known group. These rights include, in
particular, the right to deny access to those who do not belong to the community (Bromley
& Cernea, 1989), and to regulate the exploitation of the resource by members (IIED, 2000).
Common property systems generally include all community based or customary resource
management systems.



There is a growing body of empirical evidence to suggest that local people are
more likely than the states to manage natural resources in a responsible way
because their livelihoods depend on it (Winter, 1998; Swift, 1991; Cousins, 1996).
There is also growing recognition that they have been doing so for many years in
spite of central government control. Research has also shown how common
property systems actually work (e.g. Ostrom, 1990; Berkes, 1989) and how they
act to assure access to important natural resources by all members of a community,
including the landless and other marginalised groups (e.g. Arnold, 1998). They
fulfil important social functions such as maintaining conflict resolution mechanisms
and can also assure conservation of natural resources and biodiversity.



5 The concept of property is ambigious and the term is used in several distinct ways. It can mean the set of rights and
obligations concerning a thing; it can also mean the thing itself. When used in the former sense, the term ‘property
rights' is often used (IIED, 2000).

6 The relative benefits or costs of private sector management of natural resources are still an unresolved issue in the
Sahel.

&© Who's Managing the Commons?



However, government interest in devolved management is not entirely driven by an
ideological commitment to local participation. Global trends towards greater
democratisation and the empowerment of civil society are resulting in
governments having ‘to toe the line’ if they are to continue to benefit from
development aid assistance. In an era of structural adjustment reforms, it is also
cheaper for them to devolve management responsibilities to local communities.
This is particularly true for the management of Sahelian natural resources that are
of relatively low commercial value.

1.1 The challenge
That decentralised natural resource management is a socially just objective is not in
doubt. What is less clear is:

« what exactly does it entail; and,
« how can it be achieved in a way that is environmentally sustainable, socially
inclusive and economically worthwhile to both local people and the state?

At a practical level, there is a need to consider issues relating to subsidiarity within
and between different natural resource management institutions. This is closely
linked to questions of efficiency. To what level should responsibility, and/or,
authority, be devolved? How can management responsibilities and authority be
transferred to local communities after more than half a century of centralised, top-
down and, in many cases, repressive control? Although customary institutions
regulating natural resource management and access co exist, they have often been
severely weakened, and do not necessarily have the skills and experience to
respond to today’s challenges (Vedeld, 1998; Trench et a/. 1997).

There are questions of equity too. Recent examples of decentralised natural resource
management initiatives’? have paid little attention to the fact that rural communities
in the Sahel are highly differentiated between rich and poor, temporary and
permanent residents, men and women and so on (Painter et a/. 1994). Many
customary, and recently introduced, institutions tend to concentrate decision-making
powers in the hands of established élites (Vedeld, 1998; Agrawal & Ribot, in press).
In a context where rights to land are in the process of being more formally and legally
defined, there is a tendency for those holding the balance of power to benefit from
this process to the exclusion of others. And, in a region where mobility is essential to
production and survival (Scoones, 1995), there is clear evidence that mobile
communities are being left out of the process of defining local resource management
systems (Marty, 1993). This is threatening the livelihoods of nomadic and transhumant
populations while contributing to social conflict between different user groups.



7 For example, the Gestion de Terroir programmes in the Sahel (village land management programmes).

Inclusive management for a sustainable future



The challenge to common property resource management in the Sahel can be
stated in the form of a question:

How can the best of customary practice (flexible adaptation to local
circumstance) be combined within a broader framework establishing just and

transparent procedures for coping with conflicting interests, and changing
needs?

$ Who's Managing the Commons?



Managing change and
recognising diversity: the key to
sustainable drylands
management

2.1 An unpredictable resource base

The Sahel presents particular challenges to decentralised natural resource
management, the most critical being the identification of management systems
that are sustainable and equitable in the face of great spatial and temporal
variation.

Periodic drought is a normal and inherent feature of the Sahel, as inevitable as it is
unpredictable. The term ‘non-equilibrium environments’ has been coined to
describe such areas (Behnke & Scoones, 1993; Scoones, 1995: Ellis & Swift, 1988).
See box 2.

Managing the effects of intermittent droughts as well as extreme rainfall variability
from year to year demands management systems that are extremely flexible
(Kerkhof in press; Vogt & Vogt in press).

Box 2 Equilibrium and Non-equilibrium environments

Equilibrium environments are those with greater and more predictable rainfall. Grazing
density and duration on a given pasture, rather than rainfall, are the main factors affecting
vegetation growth and if more animals are kept than the range can support, permanent land
degradation is a serious risk.

'Non-equilibrium environments’ are generally found in arid and semi-areas with
unpredictable rainfall. In these areas, annual rainfall and other external events (drought,
disease) are the single most important factors that determine the production potential of
resources such as livestock and vegetation, particularly annual grasses. Permanent land
degradation through over-grazing is not, however, a major risk. First, livestock numbers are
kept relatively low by the impact of drought and/or disease and by moving between
pastures they rarely stay long enough in one particular area to have a significant negative
impact. Second, non-equilibrium environments are far more resilient than earlier thought and
formerly bare pastures are quickly regenerated once rainfall returns. (Scoones, 1995: 1-2).

Inclusive management for a sustainable future



S



Not all of the Sahel, however, is in complete dis-equilibrium. There are areas
(wetlands, forests, riverbanks) which, because of their topography or soil type,
provide islands of a relatively more stable and predictable resource base.

These areas are of great strategic importance to local livelinoods, particularly in the
dry season, and are a pole of attraction for different groups of people who use the
land and resources for different activities at different moments. For example forests
are valued as grazing reserves, a source of wood and non-timber forests products
for home consumption and provide a means of livelihood to wood-cutters and
sellers, particularly during drought yearss.

2.2 Multiple users, multiple rights

Rights of access, particularly to higher-potential areas, vary across different groups
of people and are often governed by a range of social factors including kinship,
ethnicity, status and residence that have been established historically as a result of
alliance, collaboration and competition between groups. Rights to products such
as trees and water may also vary over time, ranging from near private, through
collective to near open-access regimes, according to a range of factors, including
availability, ease of excluding other users and value (Turner, 1999).

Management systems that take account of the high level of variability of Sahelian
natural environments and the complex social and political interactions that regulate
tenure are necessarily complex. Local people are acutely aware of the need to
adopt open, but regulated, access regimes and adaptive management strategies if
they are to survive uncertain environmental conditions.

Fostering social relations is a key feature of Sahelian livelinood systems. Levels of co-
operation and competition are constantly being re-negotiated, as groups vie with
each other to gain access to a natural resource base that is in constant flux. Notions
of flexibility, mobility and reciprocity are often embodied in customary management
systems. However, reciprocal relations between different user-groups for access to
land and other key natural resources appear to be breaking down as conflicts in the
Sahel are becoming increasingly violent and widespread (Blench, 1998).

It is far from clear why this is happening, and whether or not it is a new

phenomenon (Hussein, 1998), although the situation is being exacerbated by a

number of identifiable factors:

« Decades of centralised state control have stripped local people of responsibility
for natural resource management and conflict resolution.



8 In southern Ethiopia, currently affected by severe drought, people are almost entirely dependent on selling forest products
to buy food. In April 2000, following the failure of the Ganna rains for the third consecutive year, bundles of firewood were
being sold around Yabello (Borana Zone) for 1 birr instead of the customary 5 birr (pers obs), partly because the market is
saturated and partly because people do not have the cash to pay more.

© Who's Managing the Commons?





Picture: Pippa Trench

Mrniaeadessifiedl as a forest canbe used fer rice famirg livestcck reairgatdi
fishirgas ill-strateci by this some fraréttre Sane Ferest, @arikcss, VAD.

Inclusive management for a sustainable future



Figure 1: Location of SMCPR Partners



+z





MALI

SST








SUDAN







NEF-MALI

DRYLANDS FOREST MANAGEMENT, KELKA,
DOUENTZA (PAGRN)

Since 1991 , Near East Foundation - Mali has worked with
local communities to develop a shared management
strategy of the Kelka forest. The present project is
seeking: to strengthen local institutions involved in natural
resource management, ensuring the representation of all
users, notably herders through the establishment of
consultative committees; develop a framework of natural
resource use at the inter-village level; and define or
restore livestock corridors, transhumance routes and
resting places inside the forest zone.





SOS SAHEL UK - MALI
SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF OF SYLVO-
PASTORAL RESOURCES, BANKASS (PAGE)

The Bankass area has three distinct agra-ecological
zones used by a wide variety of resident and non-
resident people, Recent years has seen competition for
access to key strategic resources increase leading in
same cases to conflict and resource degradation. A
cental objective of the project is to identify thraugh
customary NRM institutions (Alamodiou) management
systems that will allow for the sustainable and equitable
use of these resources by bath resident and non-resident
populations.




































20



Equator

$08 SAHEL- SUDAN
NATURAL FOREST MANAGEMENT PROJECT, EL AIN,
NORTH KORDOFAN STATE

Since 1988, the project has been working an developing
a shared management system between local
communities and the Forestry Department so as to
guarantee the conservation of the classified forest of El
Ain and to ensure the use of its natural resources
according ta the needs of the local community. The
project is presently seeking to identify herders wha use
pastoral resources in the area and to understand their
use of these resources, to improve the understanding by
herders and farmers of the different production systems,
and to develop platforms for communication and





negotiation for the different natural resource users.

















NIGER





South

Atlantic

ASSOCIATION FOR THE RESTORATION OF
PASTORALISM IN NIGER (AREN)

PROJECT OF SUPPORT TO THE PASTORALISTS OF
BERMO (PAAPB)

The project is working on general pastoral development
issues in the Bermo district on Niger. Project activities
are identified and managed by a technical committee
representing the interests of three pastoral associations,
including AREN, The steady encroachment of pastoral
land by farms is a key issue being addressed by the
project which is setting up consultative processes to
allow all user groups to have a say in haw the resources
should be managed.













ETHIOPIA







ae Administrative Boundaries



“~~ Rivers

0 800 km

ee
0 800m











$0S SAHEL UK - NIGER
TAKIETA JOINT FOREST MANAGEMENT PROJECT,
ZINDER (PAFOZ)

The PAFOZ project started in 1996 with a mandate from
the Niger government to identify how to create the
conditions for the sustainable and equitable management
of a dryland forest reserve, the Taki ta Forest Reserve in
eastern Niger. The project is an experiment to help local
to help local people, including non-resident pastoral
groups, manage a common resource in an inclusive way
and is, as such, an example of how national and
international policies of decentralised natural resource
management can be put into practice. The project
finishes in July 2000









FARM-AFRICA, ETHIOPIA
PASTORAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT IN THE
LOWER AWASH VALLEY, AFAR REGION (PDP)

A long term project with the first stage consisting of the
installation of mobile veterinary clinics for training
(particularly in camel herding) and the supply of
veterinary products. In addition, the project will support
the development of a joint natural resource management
strategy. A study of the use of the area is planned for the
end of the first year and the issue of negotiation over
access to common resources will be addressed in the
general activities and in the action-research throughout
the project cycle.





SOS SAHEL-ETHIOPIA

BORANA JOINT FOREST MANAGEMENT PROJECT
(BCFMP)

The project is just starting up (1999) and seeks to help
local user groups identify shared management systerns
for the sustainable use of the state-owned Juniperus
forests in Borana Zone. New laws give rise to the
possibility of local community participation in the
management of the forest and in the distribution of its
products. Ensuring equitable access and shared
management by all resource users of the forests
including settled, resident agra-pastoralists, transhurnant
pastoralists as well as government bodies, however, is
the main challenge facing the project.







L r



* Rising population

resource base.

and drought are increasing competition over a diminishing

« Land grabbing and the privatisation of natural resources is further increasing
competition and concentrating land in the hands of a few.
« Inequitable development policies are allowing some groups to exclude others
from the resources upon which they depend for their livelihoods.

These factors, and others, have had a particularly adverse impact on pastoralists.
Mobile herders are increasingly losing their rangeland to agriculture while having
their rights of access to common property resources increasingly denied by resident
groups seeking to impose exclusive management rights over their use (Déme,

1998).

2 Who's Managing the Commons?









Constraints to shared
management of common
property resources

At present, neither local people nor the state appear able to regulate competing
land use needs among different users in an equitable and sustainable way.
Strategic, high value common property resources such as forests or wetlands are
either being ‘ring-fenced’ by local residents? or submitted to ‘open-access’ regimes
leading to over-exploitation, conflict and, ultimately, loss of livelihoods. This is the
real ‘tragedy of the commons’.

This situation is largely the result of an historical legacy of:

* inappropriate institutional frameworks and development policies;
* poorly implemented rural development assistance; and,

« the absence of equitable, local governance regimes.

As our understanding of rural livelihood systems and disequilibrium environments
improves, so has our capacity to recognise the inappropriateness of inflexible
technocratic solutions. These three broad areas of constraint’? need to be
addressed if genuine management of resources by local people in a sustainable and
equitable manner is to take place.

The following sections present the positive changes already underway in the Sahel
and the major constraints that remain to be addressed.

3.1 The policy environment

Prescriptive, centrally defined legislation that details how resources are to be
managed at the local level has been shown to be impracticable due to the highly
scattered, unpredictable and variable nature of Sahelian natural resources



9 External people with political or economic clout are increasingly appropriating these areas in the Sahel.
10 Identified at the 1st planning workshop for a regional action-resarch programme on the shared management of
common property resources in the Sahel. Niamey, Niger 1998. SOS Sahel/IIED

Inclusive management for a sustainable future



(Scoones, 1995). Centralised control has failed to provide either tenure security for
all resource users, or a sustainable form of land management in the Sahel.

The key challenge facing policy makers is how to legitimise and reinforce existing
local tenure regimes that have the capacity to ensure equitable access and take into
account the diversity of local situations, through institutional adaptation as well
as national legislative reform.

Positive signs
Profound changes are taking place to legal and institutional frameworks that may,

if properly implemented, enable local people to play a central role in the regulation
of competing land use practices (see box 3).

Box 3 Positive Policy Moves

At the international level

Following the Conference of Praia (1994), the CILSS'! has set up various programmes,
notably PADLOS'2, in order to encourage member states to implement the conference
recommendations for greater local involvement in the management of natural resources.
Similar provisions exist within the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
(1992) and the Convention for Biodiversity (1992).

At the national level
Many Sahelian states are implementing decentralisation and economic liberalisation
programmes as well as reviewing their tenure legislation. For example, the Malian

government is currently in the process of reviewing the Code Domanial et Foncier'>. Niger
is experimenting with the Code Rural in a number of pilot areas through local tenure
commissions. Burkina Faso is reviewing its tenure legislation while Senegal is considering
the same with the Loi Relative au Domaine Nationale as part of its regionalisation
programme.

Some countries are extending this process in order to clarify access and tenure rights to
specific land use practices. Pastoral tenure rights are being specifically addressed through
the Code Rural in Niger, and proposed Pastoral Charters or Codes in Mali, Niger, Burkina
Faso, Senegal and Mauritania. Whether or not this additional legislation will provide
greater tenure security to pastoralism remains to be seen.





11 Comité Inter-Etat de Lutte contre la Sécheresse au Sahel.
12 Projet d’Appui au Développement Local au Sahel.
13 An edict outlining amendments to the Code Domanial et Foncier has been recently been submitted (April 2000) to

parliament for ratification.

44 3 Who's Managing the Commons?



The commitment of central governments to democratisation and decentralisation
processes also provides an opportunity for more open debate. This is encouraging
civil society groups, local associations and NGOs to help mediate between the
government and local populations (see box 4)

Box 4 Using the political process to inform and influence policy

In Mali, a regional network"4 of local and national organisations is working with a group
of MPs to monitor the impact of legislation on natural resources at the local level. It all
started in 1999 when the network commissioned a study to look at the strengths and
weaknesses of the numerous laws governing the management of natural resources. The
study confirmed the ambiguity of certain laws as well as fundamental contradictions
between them and local practice. Getting the government to review its legislation,
however, is no easy matter even in a country like Mali undergoing profound changes to
way in which the government relates to its people. The network felt that disseminating
the results in the usual way through meetings and publications would be fruitless, and
that a more innovative approach was needed. This is when GDRNS5 contacted the National
Assembly (i.e. Parliament) to encourage the MPs of the Mopti region to participate in the
workshop at which the results of the study were going to be presented. The proposal was

welcomed by the MPs who themselves face difficulties when having to vote on legislation
which they do not necessarily understand.

Following the workshop, the MPs established a regional committee composed of
themselves with representatives from the government technical departments, NGOs and
other projects involved in NRM issues in the Mopti region. The network provides support
to this committee helping them to analyse the implications of government policy and
legislation on decentralised resource management, and by preparing working briefs for
parliamentary discussion. To date the network has organised workshops to analyse the
following laws: the 1995 Forestry Code and the draft Pastoral Charter. In May 2000, it has
been asked to help MPs understand the proposed amendments to the national tenure law,
the Code Domanial et Foncier.



Continuing constraints

In spite of ongoing reform processes, the avowed aims of most Sahelian
governments for genuine decentralisation and self-governance are stalling. A
major constraint is the reticence of policy makers to adapt the institutional

framework regulating natural resource use in the Sahel to local realities (see above
and Behnke & Scoones, 1993; Lane & Moorehead, 1995; Niamir-Fuller, 1999).



14 The GDRN5 network (Réseau Gestion Décentralisé des Ressources Naturelles en 5eme Région du Mali) is a partner of
the SMCPR programme.

Inclusive management for a sustainable future



Reforms to the institutional framework need to consider four inter-related issues.

a) Taking a holistic approach to policy making and reform

To date government reforms have tended to consist of a piecemeal reformulation
of existing sectoral policies (e.g forestry code) without any changes being made to
the overall institutional framework regulating natural resource management.

There are two problems with this approach to reform.

* The continuing tendency to ‘package’ Sahelian land use systems into discrete
sectoral entities (e.g. forestry, agriculture, animal husbandry) bears no relation to
how resources are actually used and managed. Typically, local people hedge their
bets against an uncertain environment by practising many different activities,
often on the same piece of land, that transcend these conventionally defined
sectors. Thus land that might be a classified as a forest area, and regulated as
such, is in practice used for many other activities (e.g. a sylvo-pastoral resource,
a wet season fishing ground or bush field, a religious or cultural shrine) that
change over time on a seasonal and annual basis.

Similarly, production systems themselves are closely inter-linked. Livestock
provide manure, traction, meat, milk and represent a form of high interest
savings while agriculture provides animal fodder in the form of crop residues and,
for many pastoral communities, a major human food source. A large proportion
of Sahelian “farmers” own livestock that are either kept locally or with
transhumant herds. Policies that apparently favour one form of land use over
another may well end up having a negative impact on both.

* Piecemeal reform can cause a lot of confusion and internal contradictions if
changes within one government ministry (e.g. environment) are not
accompanied by similar modifications to policy in another, closely related
institution (e.g. animal husbandry). It is common to find a multiplicity of articles
within different legal texts, which are contradictory or ambiguous.

Reforms need to be made to the underlying institutional framework in order that
policies reflect local realities and accommodate the specificities of Sahelian
environments (see box 5). Such a review needs to recognise that common property
resources (and to a lesser extent agricultural land) are used by a wide range of
people for different activities on a seasonal and inter-annual basis.

b) Legitimising local tenure regulations

Even where a shift to decentralisation is occurring, the desire by the state to
produce a set of national rules to regulate natural resource management at the

%_ Who's Managing the Commons?



Box 5 The Code Rural in Niger

Niger has taken a broader and less sectoral approach to natural resource management,
with the introduction of the Principes d'orientation du Code Rural (1993). This law
attempts to integrate land tenure and natural resource management by providing an over-
arching piece of legislation to cover all forms of rural land use: agricultural, pastoral,
forestry, water, fishing, hunting, etc. (Ordanance N° 93-015 du 2 mars 1993, Article 2).

The purpose of Code Rural is to clarify what were perceived to be a mass of contradictory
tenure rules regulating land tenure at the local level. The basic principle was not to
introduce new tenure rules but to formalise customary laws and give them the same legal
status at statutory laws. Unfortunately, these worthy aims ignored the complex and ever
changing nature of customary land rights in Niger which for their informality are no less
effective in providing security of access to resources. In trying to clarify and formalise
them, the Code Rural set in motion a huge number of conflicts at the local level as people
seek to register their (final) claims to land (Lund, 1993; 1998).



local level is still very strong (Elbow et a/., 1996; Rochegude, 1998). This very ‘top-
down’, legal approach to resource management fails to recognise both the
diversity of tenure practices at the local level and the dynamic nature of Sahelian
ecosystems (Lund, 1997).

Customary rules that govern resource management in the Sahel are characterised
by two important principles:

* Local level negotiations and consensual decision-making processes play a key role
in reconciling divergent, and often conflicting, demands made on the same
resource by different groups of people.

« Flexible and reciprocal arrangements are constantly re-negotiated in order to
cope with the ever-changing nature of the resource base.

Central government cannot legislate for every eventuality, particularly in relation to
local resource management. Its role must be to provide an overall framework which
legitimises the conditions under which locally defined rules for resource management
can be established while ensuring they operate in an equitable and sustainable
manner. Customary tenure systems can be strongly hierarchical and exclusive. A
legislative framework is thus important, for example, to provide mechanisms for
appeal and arbitration to prevent minority groups becoming marginalised.

Inclusive management for a sustainable future



c) Transferring authority as well as responsibility

Most reforms to legislation governing resource tenure and local governance stop
short of devolving power and authority, as well as responsibility, to local level
institutions (Agrawal and Ribot, in press). Current decentralisation laws at best
endow the level of the rural commune or council with the legal right to decide how
land and other resources under their jurisdiction are to be managed’s. Rights to
define management rules and enforce their use through sanctions usually remain
in the hands of state departments (see box 6).

Box 6 Responsibility without authority

The recently amended forestry laws in Mali (1995) and Senegal (1993) that aim to provide
for the local management of forest areas only devolve certain management
responsibilities. The laws do not endow local people with the legal right to define how
they might wish to manage their forest areas, or to impose sanctions on those who do not
respect the regulations. Locally defined management plans or local forest conventions

have to be in line with national forestry laws, and be endorsed by a representative body
of the government (Forestry Service, District Officer), while sanctions for the disregard of
these laws remain the responsibility of the state. Local control over forest resources is
further compromised in Senegal where central government, through the forest service,
retain overall control over all commercial exploitation of forests within the Protected
Domain of the state (Ribot, 1995).



d) Strengthening subsidiarity

A key question facing policy makers and practitioners is: What is the appropriate
division of authority and responsibility between the state, district government and
community-based institutions for the management of such resources as village
land, community forests and pastures, ponds and other surface water resources?

Under current provisions of decentralisation in Mali and Senegal, for example,
management powers for these resources have been devolved to the level of the
rural council. However, management itself often takes place at the level of one or
a few neighbouring villages or pastoral camps and it is at this level that local people
have long-established tenure institutions'®.

The village or the pastoral camp has no legal identity and therefore has limited
powers to prevent the illegal exploitation of their resources. Locating power at the
rural council level also raises questions about how resources that either cut across, or
fall between, the jurisdictions of several councils will effectively be managed.



15 Decentralisation laws in Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso for example.
16 See section 3.3 below for a more detailed presentation of the issues surrounding customary natural resource
management institutions.

% = Who's Managing the Commons?



3.2 Improving development approaches to decentralised
NRM

Decentralised natural resource management requires local populations and
government institutions to participate actively and equitably in decision-making
processes. A major challenge facing development organisations is how do you
support this process in a way that is both sustainable and equitable?

Positive signs

The importance of enabling the participation of local communities in planning and
project implementation has been recognised by policy makers and practitioners for over
twenty years. All major conventions and policy statements refer to people's participation
as the basis for sustainable and equitable development'’. The current processes of
democratisation and decentralisation are now giving the issue greater edge.

There has also been progress in the design of the practical means by which
participatory and decentralised natural resource management can be
implemented. The family of participatory research, planning and evaluation
approaches (RRA, PRA, PLA’8) has evolved considerably over the past twenty years.
Whereas in the past participatory research was seen as a tool to enable external
projects better to understand local systems and priorities, it is now the means of
allowing local people to identify and respond to their own development priorities
(see Box 7).

Parallel to the ‘PRA movement’ has been the development of a succession of
Gestion de Terroir'9 models which, through the use of participatory tools, has
sought to promote an integrated and participatory approach to resource
management in the Sahel. This approach too has evolved over time from a simple
land use planning exercise to zone village land according to different activities, to
an integrated local development planning process2°.

Continuing constraints

Despite widespread commitment to participatory and inclusive management, and
the existence of a broad range of tools for its implementation, local participation
in decision-making processes remains elusive.

In spite of the rhetoric, there has been little real attempt to create an environment
in which all stake holders can engage in defining exactly what ‘participation’
means, and how best to ensure it happens (Guéye, 1999). Using participatory tools



17 The series of CILSS conferences at Nouakchott (1984), Segou (1989), Praia (1994); the Earth Summit (1992); numerous
UN conferences, etc.

18 Rapid Rural Appraisal, Participatory Research and Action, Participatory Learning and Action.

19 Best translated as village land use planning and management.

20 See section below for a critique of the Gestion de Terroir approach.

Inclusive management for a sustainable future



Box 7 Going beyond participation

New cutting-edge work on participatory planning methods continues to emerge, which, if
widely disseminated and properly implemented, offers enormous potential for making
decentralisation a reality. An example of such work is provided by two Senegalese
organisations (ARED and CERFLA2') who specialise in working in African languages, with a
focus on Pulaar22. Initial work consisted of translating and adapting the MARP2? approach
and tools into the Pulaar language. The goal of this first step was to strengthen the
capacity of local people to analyse their local situation within a broader context through a
process of self-analysis, action-research and participatory planning.

Over the past three years, ARED/CERFLA have been focusing on linking adult education

and literacy training to issues of self-determination, good governance and local capacity
building. This programme focuses on key themes (e.g. local land use planning, conflict
management, management capacity building, NRM legislation and decentralisation)
relevant to broader Sahel regional debate, that together are designed to provide civil
society groups with the skills to engage with government, and other interest groups, in
the management of their own affairs.

Initial work suggests a high level of interest within communities to apply the methods at
their own time and pace. They are able to adapt the tools to respond to their specific
social, cultural and physical environment and are not left waiting for a team of PRA
experts to initiate discussions and problem solving among themselves.



is not enough in itself to ensure that local people have a genuine say in the
management of their own affairs. People need to feel confident and see the
potential for future benefits if they are to invest time and effort in participation.

As well as tools, participation needs an enabling environment if it is to have any
influence (Vogt & Vogt in press). There needs to be a fundamental shift in attitude
and working practice by development organisations to ensure that local people can
work with them on a more equal footing than has been the case so far.

a) Institutionalising participation

Development organisations need to change their own operational environment to
allow them to work in an open, democratic and participatory way both with their
own staff and with their partners (local populations and government agencies). It
is not simply a case of developing participatory tools to pass onto others. An ethos



21 Associates in Research and Education for Development and the Centre d’Education, de Recherche et de Formation en
Langues Africaines.

22 Also known as Fulfulde.

23 Méthode Active de Recherche Participative (an adaptation of PRA).

@D Who's Managing the Commons?



and internal way of working that are compatible with a process of participatory
development are essential.

There needs to be an institutional culture of respect for local knowledge, skills and
priorities. This in turn requires a change in attitudes from project staff particularly
as they relate to minority groups such as pastoralists and women. It also demands
a revision of roles, with former managers agreeing to become facilitators and
arbitrators and withdrawing from the role of decision-maker. This issue is
particularly acute in government departments where collaborative management
systems and devolving authority to local communities is often seen as a threat to
their own power, and therefore their future.

These new roles also demand skills very different from the technical skills better
known to development workers (government and NGO). For participation to
become institutionalised, investment in training and support for innovation are
essential,

b) Investing in participation

Participatory appraisal and planning techniques are costly and time consuming
both for the trainers and facilitators and the populations themselves. Participation
poses even more practical problems in pastoral areas where populations are mobile
and local institutional arrangements are less well Known.

Development projects need to allocate the resources (time, staff training) and invest
in participatory processes of consultation with a broad spectrum of resource users,
including those groups who may only be present on a seasonal or temporary basis
(e.g. transhumant herders). This requires more open-ended project time frames
and flexible budget management to allow local people to control processes of
decision making in a democratic way (currently restricted by many donors’ policies).

The role of the external agency as facilitator and not as manager of local
participatory processes implies less control over time-scales and workplans.
Achieving this requires a change to conventional project frameworks and a
realignment of donor priorities to ensure a better balance between ‘output-
oriented’ goals and more ‘process-oriented’ objectives.

c) Going beyond the project

Many conventional projects are, by their very nature, limited in two respects: space
(projects frequently focus on a clearly defined area or resource) and time (projects
have a fixed end point).

¢ Focusing their efforts on a defined area or resource (typical of the Gestion de
Terroir approach), projects have tended to concentrate on resident populations

Inclusive management for a sustainable future



living within that area and have failed to develop participatory approaches to
resource management that recognises the highly mobile nature of Sahelian
livelihood strategies (Painter et al., 1994).

There has been an implicit assumption that local people derive a major part of
their livelinoods from activities within the immediate vicinity of their village, which
led to the development of ‘participatory’ approaches for resource management
appropriate for resident populations. The approach has discriminated against
non-resident or seasonal visitors. Village land use management plans are
classically drawn up by resident village committees without any consultation with
other user groups, such as transhumant herders. The latter, as a consequence,
have found their customary rights of access to these resources curtailed as
resident groups have sought to impose exclusive rights over their use.

« Sustainability demands that local populations are equipped with the skills to plan
for their own development outside of any specific project context. Too often,
participatory processes are used by development projects to seek community
endorsement for the activities for which they have funding. Tools are needed that
allow ‘participation for empowerment’ to enable community groups to identify
their own priorities and management strategies to be incorporated into wider
district-level and national policies.

d) Research - practice divide

Operational projects do not tend to invest in research activities beyond those
directly concerned with the establishment of the project (i.e. PRA activities to
identify local needs and endorse subsequent activities).

This divide is particularly acute in government services and, until quite recently,
many national and international NGOs. Lack of resources is part of the problem but
there is also a culture among operational projects that researchers ‘think’ and
practitioners ‘do’. On the one hand, research is the preserve of scientists or
anthropologists and often is carried out in isolation from either real local conditions
or development practice, a factor that frequently undermines practitioners’ faith in
research activities and results. On the other hand, development field staff are
themselves isolated and do not have easy access to the latest research information.
The cumulative effect is that field workers lack research expertise, do not
understand local livelihood systems and are not up to date on new thinking. This
is particularly noticeable for pastoral development.

Action-research carried out by project staff in a participatory way with local people

is essential to ensure that development interventions are informed by, and
pertinent to, local needs, cultural norms and local political realities.

a2 Who's Managing the Commons?



3.3 Promoting good governance
The success of decentralisation will be judged on a number of different criteria,
including:

« the degree to which local people effectively participate in the management of
their own development;

« whether or not they do so in a democratic and equitable way; and
« whether the management strategy proves effective and sustainable.

Local communities need to develop institutions for the management of natural
resources that are legitimate, accountable, inclusive and technically effective. This
is essential if local people are to conform to local rules of resource management
(see box 8). Decentralisation offers real opportunities for local people to do this, but
to do so they need to overcome a wide range of challenges, both internal and
external, if they are to play a determining role in their own development.

The demands placed on local level institutions are high. They need to be flexible to
cope with climatic variability and multiple resource use. They need to be able to
address the internal tensions caused by unequal power relations within their
communities as a result of growing social and economic stratification. They also
need to adopt management techniques that reconcile increasing demands against
sustainable use. Finally, local institutions need to be outward looking and informed
of global issues and processes if they are to be better able to respond a wide variety
of external forces that impact on local economies and national policies.

Box 8 Consultation leads to conformity

In its efforts to protect Acacia albida and other tress, a community association in Senegal
decided to ban all cutting of wood. Local forestry auxiliaries rigorously implemented this
rule for the first year. However, following complaints made by women, it soon became
apparent that a total ban on cutting was too demanding - women were finding it difficult
to collect sufficient wood for cooking. The committee of the association thus decided to

modify the rules, allowing women to cut wood from Acacia albida trees in their family
fields and permitting users to cut Guiera senegalensis during field clearing. In addition, it
was decided to introduce improved woodstoves and employ women as forest auxiliries.
The ability of women to participate, in a meaningful way, in rule-making has resulted in a
greater degree of acceptance of local rules than might otherwise have been the case
(Winter, 1998:6).



Inclusive management for a sustainable future



Positive signs

Structural adjustment and political liberalisation programmes in the Sahel over the
past ten years have triggered the emergence of a wide range of civil society
organisations.

These organisations have developed largely in response to problems faced by local
people. To a greater or lesser degree they represent local initiatives to address the
perceived inadequacy of the state to provide basic services (e.g. health, veterinary
drugs and animal health care, access to credit, issues relating to human rights).

The existence of an active civil society is in itself a positive sign and an integral part
of the democratisation process (Agrawal and Ribot, in press). So is the fact that
these organisations are highly diverse, varying in size, mandate, origin and status
from all-purpose community-based organisations to single gender groups involved
in specific economic activities, to highly specialised associations involved in human
rights activities. Some are the product of development projects and approaches,
while others are based on customary institutions.

Given confidence and support, these local institutions are more likely to be able to
adopt and adapt customary approaches to resource management, including the
capacity to negotiate in order to accommodate variable local conditions and
demands. Support to these institutions in terms of literacy, accountancy training
and other areas of management and institutional capacity is increasingly being
recognised as a means of assuring their longer-term sustainability.

Continuing constraints

The existence of a plethora of local organisations is not in itself an indication of a
vibrant and effective civil society. Building strong, representative and equitable
organisations takes time. However, the challenges and opportunities facing local
institutional structures are enormous and it is far from clear, even within a climate
of decentralisation, how they will be able to shoulder their new responsibilities.
Some of the main practical issues that need to be addressed in the short to medium
term are presented below.

a) Ensuring local representation, accountability and participation
Decentralisation is no guarantee of gocd local governance. The critical issue is how
to ensure a balance of power between the numerous stakeholders in order that all
local interests, including those of minority groups, are taken into consideration as
groups vie with each for access to power.

As competition increases over natural resources, there is a tendency to exclude
certain user groups, particularly those of limited political importance (e.g. women,

aA Who's Managing the Commons?





Picture: Pippa Trench

A’fane” preperirg fer tre fishirgsesscnintre Saneri Ferest, Barkass (VAD.

Inclusive management for a sustainable future 2s



seasonal visitors, pastoralists), both from the resource itself and from decision
making processes.

« Controlling resource access through exclusion is a necessary part of common
property management, but has traditionally been tempered by reciprocal
agreements according to local demands and social and ecological conditions.
More recently established ‘modern’ institutions have tended to encourage less
flexible arrangements, fixing boundaries and rights of exclusion.

« An absence of negotiation between different user groups in the establishment of
rules and regulations raises practical questions of sustainability and control, and
deteriorating social relations as well as ethical questions of equity and parity.
However, external demands for equity are rarely sustainable in the long-term,
particularly if they are conditional on financial assistance. Local people have to
confront their traditions and assess whether they are appropriate to current
conditions.

Institutions are only representative if they are consultative, transparent and
accountable to the local population they are meant to represent. This demands
Open and equal access to information, both on the state of the resource in question
and the management process. In areas where literacy is generally very low and
communication channels difficult to monitor, this remains a major challenge for
local institutions and the development agencies supporting them.

Even in Mali, where decentralisation process have progressed as far as electing local
rural councils, the vast majority of the population, including those who will be
responsible for implementing policy, do not fully understand either the
decentralisation process, the policy reforms or their implications for sustainable and
equitable management. Local government authorities risk being co-opted by the
local elite24 with potentially damaging effects on local resource management (e.g.
privatisation of high value common property resources).

b) Strengthening effective natural resource management at the local level
Decentralisation empowers local elected government bodies (i.e. rural councils) to
allocate and withdraw land, develop land use plans, award and monitor contracts
for resource management by individuals, community based organisations or
commercial bodies, and to arbitrate and management conflicts. However, in many
cases, there is a lack of technical capacity at local level to carry out these and
related tasks.



24 Central government officials, retired civil servants, traditional leaders, wealthy traders.

@ Who's Managing the Commons?



External specialists using technocratic, top-down and non-participatory approaches
to land use planning have dominated natural resource management in the Sahel.
The emphasis has been on producing forest inventories, zoning land according to
specific activities, and fixing levels of carrying capacity rather than establishing
flexible management systems to cope with the variability of the resource base
Kerkhof, in press). Even such approaches as Gestion de Terroir, often failed in
practice to apply their principles of participation and attention to local specificities
Painter et a/. 1994)25,

Local people need planning and management tools that are appropriate to their
ocal situation, level of education and financial situation. Imported technical
packages (e.g. 5-10 year forest management plans based on technical inventory
data to establish timber and fuelwood extraction) demand skills that are not readily
available and do not ‘belong’ or necessarily reflect the priorities of local people
Vogt and Vogt, in press).





25 In theory, this approach could allow for greater involvement of local people in managing their own resource base
according to customary practice. Unfortunately this has not always been the case as the methodology has frequently been
misapplied and the village-based committees responsible for its implementation are rarely representative or democratic.

Inclusive management for a sustainable future

a



ga Who's Managing the Commons?



Conclusion

The preceding section has outlined the major constraints facing policy makers, local
people and development organisations in the implementation of decentralised
natural resource management in the Sahel. Although resolving these constraints
will be difficult and will take time, there is good reason to be optimistic. The policy
environment in the Sahel, though not perfect, is broadly favourable to devolved
natural resource management?6. Donors, NGOs and government ministries are
becoming increasingly aware of their “new” roles as facilitators and adopting,
albeit gradually and with some reticence, more participatory approaches. Local
people after many years of government control are becoming better informed of
their rights and duties, and gradually expressing their needs and _ priorities
particularly at the local level.

Against this broadly favourable backdrop there are numerous local initiatives
working to identify appropriate tenure arrangements for the peaceful and
sustainable management of common property resources in the Sahel. Many of
these efforts are led by local groups themselves seeking to resolve conflicts over
resource access at the community-level. Others have been created by, or receive
support from, external organisations and consequently are better known.

The SMCPR programme evolved in direct response to a number of these initiatives
who were finding it difficult to develop natural resource management systems for
common property resources which took into account concepts of multiple user
rights, livestock mobility and negotiated access. Through a process of collaborative
action-research, training and lesson sharing the programme hopes to raise partner
capacity to identify and implement local institutional arrangements for inclusive
resource management, and inform the policy making processes in their respective
countries of their experiences.

The programme overall will address three central issues which are of particular
significance and broader relevance to policy makers and practitioners involved in
ways to promote decentralised natural resource management in the Sahel.



26 It is important to recognise that there remains considerable variation between countries in the willingness and capacity
of government to engage in decentralisation and democratisation processes.

Inclusive management for a sustainable future



Informing policy

How can an action-research programme inform and influence policy? Influencing
policy is an avowed aim of many research projects, but experience shows that
getting a change in policies relevant to common property resource management in
the drylands, particularly in relation to pastoral land use, has proved to be very
difficult. Despite a large body of sound empirical research that shows the economic
value of pastoral production and the ecological sense of communal tenure systems
in Africa’s drylands, policies are still being formulated to privatise the commons and
settle pastoralists.

The persistence of such policies can only partly be explained by a flawed
understanding of the dynamics of Sahelian production systems. Such policies may
also be designed to serve the interests of groups other than the local occupiers and
users of common lands and resources. For example, the Ethiopian federal
government is prioritising private investment in irrigation, over the needs and
priorities of local populations (pers obs). In this sense, informing and influencing
policy is a political as well as a technical issue and can only be nurtured through a
deliberate process. Understanding this process and how it might be applied is one
of the objectives of the programme.

Arguing the case for inclusive management

Which institutional arrangements offer the best prospects for improving tenure
security over common property resources in dryland Africa? Practical examples of
how local people actually manage common property resources in an equitable and
sustainable way are needed to support arguments for communal forms of tenure.
A major constraint to the joint management of common property resources is the
high level of transaction costs incurred in trying to involve different groups in an
equitable, transparent and democratic way. Given these costs, it is necessary to
demonstrate its benefits not only to the local community but policy makers as well.
Current legislation governing forest lands, for example, is informed by a
widespread belief that it is ecologically more productive to exclude certain
production practices such as extensive pastoralism. Part of this is due to the limited
understanding of the rationale of certain production systems (mentioned above),
but there is also the fact there is also very little empirical evidence to demonstrate
the benefits of shared management and multiple user access. Designing methods
to monitor the ecological and socio-economic impact of shared management of
common property resources is another objective of the programme.

Fostering partnerships

How should the programme and its partners, as external agents, work with local
organisations in a collaborative and participatory manner in the promotion of
inclusive management systems? Promoting inclusive management is a complex

ZH Who's Managing the Commons?



issue for the more people there are, and the more heterogeneous the different user
groups are, the harder it is to reach mutually acceptable decisions. Projects can play
a critical role in bringing different groups together, but, in doing so, they must tread
a fine line between controlling the process and allowing communities to go at their
own pace. Providing communities with the space needed to manage the process
themselves may take longer than if it was controlled externally. It may also result in
communities taking decisions contrary to initial project objectives. Promoting
principles of good governance in a participatory way poses many challenges and
has implications for projects and their donors in terms of timing and achieving
targets set to a given time-table.

Sahelian ecosystems are unpredictable, diverse and dynamic. To cope with this
situation land use management strategies need to be flexible to accommodate
change and uncertainty; they need to be equitable to take account of multiple user
rights; and they need to be locally managed to promote sustainable use. There are
no perfect models to determine how land and resources should be managed, only
some basic principles. It is the purpose of this series to identify and highlight these
principles through detailed case studies in order to inform policy and practice that
common property areas in Africa's drylands can be managed in a sustainable and
equitable way by the people themselves.

If you are working on similar issues and would like to share your experiences either
through this working paper series, or more informally through the programme's
six-monthly newsletter, Browse, please get in touch with:

Pippa Trench

SOS Sahel

3 Tulpuddle Street
London N71 OXT
GB

pippat@sahel.org. uk

Inclusive management for a sustainable future



<2) =~Who's Managing the Commons?



Appendix 1: The programme

The Shared Management of Common Property programme aims to research and
identify how common property resources in the Sahel can be managed in an
equitable, sustainable and peaceful way by the many people who rely on them for
their livelihoods.

It was developed in response to difficulties expressed by many projects setting up
natural resource management systems where resources are important to mobile
and sedentary groups alike. Mobile groups, and transhumant herders in particular,
often depend on “village lands”, “community forests” and other strategic
resources, but their rights of access are being reduced. This is threatening their
livelihoods, the sustainable use of the resource, as well as contributing to conflict
between different user-groups.

The programme is working with seven operational projects in Niger, Mali, Sudan
and Ethiopia. Four of these are forest resource management projects, two are
working specifically on pastoral development and one is working more generally
on natural resource management in the context of decentralisation in Mali. All are
working in areas used by pastoral and agricultural communities alike.

Comic Relief, the Department for International Development (DFID) and the
Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD) jointly fund the
programme.

Five interrelated areas of activity of the SMCPR Programme:

1. Participatory research on pastoral systems to identify how resident and non-
resident pastoral groups perceive and manage the common property resources in
the project areas, and how this correlates to the perceptions and use patterns of
other user groups.

2. Identification of local institutional arrangements for the shared management of
CPRs and the extent to which existing community-based structures function
effectively and interact with other groups as well represent the interests of all
stakeholders.

Inclusive management for a sustainable future



3. Improved understanding of the socio-economic and ecological impact of shared
management of CPRs. The programme aims to develop appropriate monitoring
techniques to demonstrate costs and benefits of shared management.

4, Advocacy and media outreach activities to inform government and donor policy
as well as broader civil society on programme findings.

5. Civic education activities to inform local communities in the programme area of
the issues and stakes that decentralisation will have on the shared management of
common property resources.

In addition to these activities, the programme provides a forum for experience

exchange and lesson sharing between these partners, as well as others interested
in this problem.

M4. SOWho's Managing the Commons?



Appendix 2: Useful publications

Arnold, J.E.M. 1998 Managing forests as common property. FAO Forestry Paper
No 136.

Becker, C.D. & Ostrom, E. 1995 Human ecology and resource sustainability: The
importance of institutional diversity. Annual Review of Ecological Systematics
26: 113-133.

Bromlea, D.W. & Cernea, M.M 1989 The management of common property
natural resources: Some conceptual fallacies. The World Bank Discussion
Paper 57, The World Bank, Washington.

Hardin, G. 1968 The Tragedy of the Commons. Science 280: 682-683

Hardin, G. 1994 The Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons. frends in Ecology and
Evolution 9: 199

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