This issue of Natural Resource Perspectives from ODI (Overseas Development Institute) examines the benefits and disadvantages of joint water and forest management in India. Policies promoting the joint management (i.e. between the state and resource users) of resources such as forests or water are currently in vogue in India and elsewhere. Many see advantage in the decentralised administration that these arrangements imply. However, they also imply a redistribution of power and so are profoundly political, and their success, if real, cannot be fully explained in terms of a rent-seeking, all-powerful, bureaucratic state. This paper lays out the more complex politics underpinning joint management, assessing interaction between the political and administrative wings of government and the influence of semi-autonomous actors such as donors, NGOs and academics, and identifies the potential for and route towards more, if gradual, decentralisation in the future. The following policy conclusions are made. Conventional analyses of joint management ar rooted in organisational theory where their apolitical character severely limits their explanatory power. Joint management arrangements fall short of full community involvement, so that in effect the state gives up very little power. However, joint management is here to stay and its varying performance across the country needs to be understood. In practice, the motivation behind the state's acceptance of joint management is often that it helps to avoid a fiscal crisis by passing costs to resource users. Actors other than government have only had limited influence. In the long run, NGOs and academics will do well to pressurise the political arm of the state, which needs to be convinced of the electoral gains from decentralisation.
Newsletter of the Mahila Milan and National Slum Dwellers' Federations in India with articles on how communities negotiate with public authorities to find space for their own settlement improvement plans. In Pune, communities have negotiated for land and challenged slum regulation. In Bangalore there is a toilet construction project and in Mumbai street children are working on experimental recyling and composting of garbage. Finally there are articles about exchange visits between different communities in India and between India and South Africa.
Newletter from the Squatter and Urban Poor Federation. Run by women and men who live in Phnom Penh's poor settlements, it SUPF works to get communities to come together and work out their own solutions to problems they all face, problems of land, evictions, houses, toilets, basic services, savings and credit.
This paper discusses activities of Mobilisation Against Desertification (MAD), an NGO in Kenya. MAD began their activities with one farmer who introduced two others, and gradually interest spread through the village. A PRA was conducted to find ways MAD could reach the whole village and to help villagers develop their own resource management plan. This paper outlines the PRA activities and environmental problems identified, and the role of a committee in following up with soil and water conservation activities.
This paper documents the Philippines' National Irrigation approaches in organizing farmers to undertake management in the operation and maintenance of irrigation systems. The experience of turnover in this country is particularly unique in that the approach involved employment of farmers, as opposed to professional community organizers, in organizing co-farmers into irrigator associations. The farmers employed were well trained, and positive results were achieved in the following areas: active irrigators' associations at field and distributary levels; reduced operation and maintenance costs; increased fee collection rates; greater equity in water distribution. This case highlights that organizing farmer activities in this way shorten the turnover process, make it less expensive and, most importantly, be effective.
The Myrada Experience: The interventions of a voluntary agency in the emergence and growth of peoples' institutions for sustained and equitable management of micro-watersheds.
In 1984, MYRADA and the Government of Karnataka, with backing from the Swiss Development Co-operation, started working together in Gulbarga on a project focusing on watershed management. This booklet discusses invaluable practical lessons learnt so far in the PIDOW project about supporting people to better manage their natural resources. The first part discusses general lessons: critical indicators of success (sustainability and equity), people's priorities, the role of people's institutions, and why focus on people's participation in watershed management. The next three sections discuss strategies used in the intervention. They are applicable to projects in which Government and NGO are co-intervenors and operational partners; parts can certainly be adopted by an NGO-only project. The three sections deal with the entry phase, planning phase and implementation phase. The emphasis throughout is on the role of the NGO. The booklet ends with a case study of a situation which differs from the Gulbarga experience and the consequences of such differences in the process which takes place.
This report describes the results of a training workshop on Participatory Environmental Assessement held in Cambodia. The initial training in Environmental Impact Assessment and PRA is briefly described, with some attention given to the concepts behind them. The results of an appraisal and planning process by two groups in separate villages are described in detail. Throughout, the report nicely illustrates the work done with diagrams, maps, etc. An extensive evaluation of the process by all involved, while specific to this workshop, provides interesting ideas for training in general.