This brief presents preliminary findings and recommendations from research on natural resources in decentralization efforts around the world.
This brief presents preliminary findings and recommendations from research on natural resources in decentralization efforts around the world. The findings derive from WRI’s Accountability, Decentralization, and Environment Comparative Research Project in Africa, and cases presented at the WRI-organized Conference on Decentralization and Environment in Bellagio, Italy in February 2002. The Africa-wide research project conducted field studies in Cameroon, Mali, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe in 2000 and 2001. The papers presented in Bellagio were based on WRI’s African research project, WRI’s Resources Policy Support Initiative (REPSI) in South East Asia, plus case studies from Bolivia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Thailand. All the cases explore the degree to which natural resource decentralizations have taken place and their measurable social and environmental outcomes. Most of the cases focus on forestry, while a few explore wildlife and water management.
The main recommendations from the brief are:
- Work with democratic local institutions as a first priority,
- Transfer sufficient and appropriate powers,
- Transfer powers as secure rights,
- Support equity and justice,
- Establish minimum environmental standards,
- Establish fair and accessible adjudication,
- Support local civic education,
- Give decentralization time, and
- Develop indicators for monitoring and evaluating decentralization and its outcomes.
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