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Topic Guide: Governance of natural resources

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Renewable natural resources form a key part of economic and social systems in many developing countries, contributing to livelihoods, food security and the green economy, as well as generating trade and enterprise at local, national and international levels. The governance of these resources is complex, with a myriad of competing rights, users and governance structures across a broad range of temporal and geographical scales. Several dimensions of governance have been found to be key in delivering appropriate benefit-sharing, ensuring sustainable exploitation, minimising conflict over access and control, and maximising the contribution of these resources to economies.

In this Topic Guide these critical aspects of natural resource governance are examined, to help guide practitioners on how to approach this complexity. Following an introductory section on ‘Why governance of natural resources?’ Section 2 shares essential lesson-learning from Decentralised and collaborative natural resource governance. Decentralised forms of natural resource governance are widespread but face challenges associated with power sharing, participation and accountability. Financial assistance for the creation and operation of natural resource governance structures is essential over many years, as is strong, appropriate support by central government through legislation and technical support. ‘Bridging’ organisations, such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), can be helpful in the formation process by building trust between government and resource users, as well as by reducing the potential for capture of community-based structures by those with more power and wealth.

Citation: Nunan, F. Topic Guide: Governance of natural resources. Evidence on Demand, UK (2016) vi + 49 pp. [DOI: ]

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