1. Rural common property resources: a growing crisis.
Gatekeeper Series No. 24; Internat. Inst. for Environment and Development (IIED), London, UK, 1991, 16 pp.
Common property resources (CPRs) are in decline throughout the developing world.
CPRs continue to be a significant component of the land resource base of very many rural communities. But they are threatened by neglect, over-exploitation, under-investment and expropriation.
This paper, by focussing on India, documents micro-level evidence on the contribution of CPRs to poor people's livelihoods, their steep declines in area and production over the last 40 years, the collapse of traditional management systems, and the pauperisation of the poor.
The author makes suggestions for immediate action to offset some of these alarming trends.
In detail the following aspects are discussed in this paper:
- Benefits of CPRs
The future prospects of CPRs are closely linked to an appreciation of their contributions, and changes in the public approach to strengthen them. Some areas requiring immediate attention are as follows:
- Positive CPR policies: Restricting the further decline of CPR areas should be the major component of CPR development. Promotion of user groups be a solution to this.
The two relevant features which have emerged as by-products of the recent development history of India, and which may obstruct the growth of user groups are: the ever-increasing tendency of the state to expropriate the initiative and activities which belong to people, and the increased internal differentiation of rural communities and its impact on the operation of village-level initiatives. Despite such potential obstructions, the success of recent initiatives in the management of community resources by user groups and NGOs do inspire considerable hope for the resources and for the poor who rely upon them.
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SAVENIJE, H. and A. HUIJSMAN
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