UICN-Designing natural resource management projects that support local representation and accountable governance



Please download the publication: application/pdf 20160829_iucn-forest-brief-no-12_web_0.pdf (6.2 MiB)



If they are to yield effective, equitable outcomes, natural resource management projects need to work with representatives who are responsive and accountable to local people. This brief presents practical suggestions on how projects can avoid some of the most common pitfalls in tackling the thorny issue of governance.



Supporting decentralised governance and local representation All too often, natural resource projects are designed without regard for how local people’s needs and interests will be represented on decision-making bodies during planning and implementation. Even project designs that have built-in participatory mechanisms, such as community-based user groups or resource management committees, can have detrimental impacts on local people’s representation – if these mechanisms ignore or undermine local elected representatives. Without effective representation of local people, projects risk silencing the voices of those whose support is so critical for long term success. Worse, projects can endanger local people’s natural resource rights and create inequalities and conflict within communities. The figure below illustrates some potential consequences of a project paying inadequate attention to local governance issues.


Why are governance failings so commonly seen in natural resource projects, such as those focused on biodiversity conservation, sustainable forest management and carbon forestry? There is no denying that taking concrete steps to support governance can involve facing complex problems, taking tough decisions, and investing a considerable amount of time and money in understanding and managing local-level governance negotiations. Many project designers and implementers will be tempted to take shortcuts and compromises on governance in order to meet deadlines and budgets. In addition, many intervening agents (including donors, government agents, NGOs, and project designers and staff) lack the skills and training required to identify and support such decentralised governance in their projects.


For more Information, please consult the following PDF Document:


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