Is decentralization in natural resource management leading to livelihoods improvement and sustainability?: evidence from Central Africa
Oyono, P.R. 2007. Is decentralization in natural resource management leading to livelihoods improvement and sustainability?: evidence from Central Africa . In: Kelbessa, E. and De Stoop, C. (eds.). Participatory forest management (PFM), biodiversity and livelihoods in Africa: proceedings of the International Conference 19-21 March 2007, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. :19-35 [online] URL: http://www.pfmp-farmsos.org/Docs/pfm%20conference_proceeding.pdf. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ethiopia with other stakeholders.
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Since 1990, Central African States have made profound natural resource policy reforms. One of the main orientations of these reforms is known today as the ‘decentralization’ of forest management processes within a long lasting context of ‘complex political ecology’. This essay examines the effects of this policy change on livelihoods and forest sustainability. It shows that contrary to what was planned by policy-makers and what was expounded by several theorists, decentralization in forest management and related financial benefits is not yet synonymous with the improvement of livelihoods, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability. On the ground, there are, by and large, very few positive socio-economic outcomes. In conclusion, the author proposes some enabling conditions for an effective link between decentralization and improved livelihood.
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