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Conflict Management in Community-Based Natural Resource ...

Conflict Management in Community-Based Natural Resource ...

Poverty reduction The

Poverty reduction The ongoing debate to define sustainable development suggests that conflicts over the utilisation of renewable natural resources can be avoided or reduced through greater stakeholder participation during project planning and management (World Bank, 1995; UNCED, 1992; Winterbottom, 1992). This emphasis on participation is particularly relevant to ‘the poor’. Giving greater voice to the poor is not necessarily a conflict-free activity as it raises the possibility of new tensions between project beneficiaries and excluded groups. For example, it is by no means certain that promoting natural resource management (NRM) that make poorer groups economically more secure will reduce intergroup tensions. Resource-based poverty reduction projects which depend for their success upon those excluded from the project’s immediate benefits (for example, middlemen who ‘own’ access to transportation) are potentially vulnerable to such tensions. Biodiversity conservation Growing conflicts between wildlife conservation interests and local communities over the utilisation of natural resources are well documented (Jusoff and Majid, 1995; Wells and Brandon, 1992 and 1993; Machlis and Tichnell, 1985). The dominant response to these disputes has been schemes that raise the value of conservation to local people through the distribution of revenues from tourism or trophy hunting, or through community development designed to compensate for loss of access to conservation-worthy resources. However, the effectiveness and reach of these schemes has been limited, and in many conservation and protected areas, conflicts over resources persist (Metcalf, 1995; IIED, 1994). They persist for a number of reasons: the continuing dominance of conservation goals over the livelihood needs of local people; an emphasis on reducing the dependency of local people on resources of conservation value, rather than increasing their stake in sustainable resource management; introspective community participation planning techniques which omit consideration of external constraints (e.g. the marketing of tourist facilities); and the limited availability of sites where revenue flows from conservation-bound tourism are significant and dependable. The case study presented in Section 3 demonstrates the possible role of conflict management in tackling and preventing conservation-related conflicts. 1.2 Types of conflicts in natural resource management Different types of conflicts can be categorised in terms of whether they occur at the micro–micro or micro–macro levels, i.e. among community groups or between community groups and outside government, private or civil society organisations (Grimble and Wellard, 1997). Micro–micro conflicts can be further categorised as taking place either within the group directly involved in a particular resource management regime (e.g. a forest user group or ecotourism association), or between this group and those not directly involved (e.g. between the user group and women entering the forest to collect fuelwood) (Conroy et al., 1998). Examples of both intra and inter micro–micro conflicts and micro–macro conflicts are listed in Box 1. The short-term adverse impact of conflicts can range from a temporary reduction in the efficiency of resource management regimes, to the complete collapse of initiatives or abandonment of government, NGOs or donor-sponsored projects. In extreme cases conflicts over NRM can escalate into physical violence. 10

11 Box 1 Types of conflicts arising in NRM Intra micro–micro conflicts: • disputes over land and resource ownership, e.g. between private and communal land owners; • disputes over land boundaries between individuals or groups; • latent family and relationship disputes; • disputes due to natural resource projects being captured by élites and/or those who happen to own resources of a higher quality; • breaking of CPR constitutional or operational rules, such as protection agreements for grazing areas, fish net sizes, forests, or misappropriation of funds, etc.; • disputes over the unfair distribution of work and profits. Inter micro–micro conflicts: • conflict between land-owners and resource users; • conflict between indigenous CPR groups, and more recent settlers; • disputes generated by jealousy related to growing wealth disparities; • lack of co-operation between different community groups; • disputes over renewal arrangements for leased land; • internal land ownership disputes ignited by the speculation activities of commercial companies; • resentment built up due to lack of representation on village committees. Micro–macro conflicts: • contradictory natural resource needs and values, e.g. between wildlife habitat protection and local livelihood security; • cultural conflicts between community groups and outsiders; • disputes over project management between community groups and outside project-sponsors; • disputes caused by political influence (national, provincial or local); • disputes arising from differences between the aspirations of community groups and expectations of NGOs or commercial companies; • off-site environmental impacts affecting unintended third-parties. 1.3 Causes of non-violent conflict The causes of non-violent conflicts in CBNRM can be divided into four principal types: i. demographic change; ii. natural resources competition; iii. developmental pressures; iv. structural injustices. The combination of demographic change and the limits to sustainable harvesting of renewable natural resources (forests, water bodies, grazing areas, marine resources, wildlife and agricultural land) are often cited as the underlying cause of conflict over natural resources, both among community groups, and between community groups and outside public and private organisations. These pressures are

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