Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Envisioning Incentives for Community Participation in Natural Resource Management: A Case Study of Northwest Kenya

Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Envisioning Incentives for Community Participation in Natural Resource Management: A Case Study of Northwest Kenya

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

To a large extend, conflicts and civil unrest witnessed in the past decade was related to poverty, increase in inequality, and unprecedented rise in food prices (Vos, 2015).The discovery of natural resources, oil finds included is frequently associated with a number of conflicts that require a well-established legal, conflict resolutions, and management frameworks. The new finding and announcement of any natural resources usually makes people's mind go crazy and the delirium formed in people's heads is beyond explanation (Shaxson, 2007). These challenges are likely to increase in the future if appropriate measures are not put into place to tackle these problems. Often times, these challenges emerge from policy and governance gaps or failures in a country. Policy and governance can to a great extent mitigate these challenges for instance: choices government makes or government inaction; regulations government imposes on the society; money government spends on development programs and delivery of services (Dye, 201); resources government allocates to address issues local people view as critical; use or non-use of force in executing government policy; inspection; licensing; dispute resolution mechanisms used; setting standards and imposing sanctions when such standards are not met (Anderson, 2003).

Good governance is increasingly becoming core to the management of natural resources partly because population increase, and development activities, tend not only to alter the ecosystem, but also puts pressure on resource with further implications on climate change or unprecedented natural disasters (Stepanova & Bruckmeier, 2013). In India, natural resource conflict involving the Maoist movement was precipitated by two factors: (1) There was natural resource abundance which had been liberalized but local communities were not largely benefiting from the mining sector. (2) Local communities had cultural significance which they attached to the ecosystem, but which was not taken into account in the mining sector liberalization policies (Kennedy, 2015). Natural resource conflicts tend to turn into armed conflict when political institutions ignore or are unable to settle natural resource dispute hence creating historical grievances, and when economic institutions fail to or lack policies that enable communities living in resource abundance areas to benefit from the resources. These experiences are much identical to resource curse problem in over 50 countries around the world including Angola, Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Colombia, Congo, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, South Africa, Venezuela, Iraq, Malaysia, Philippines and Nigeria (Elbadawi & Soto, 2015).

In resource scarce areas, resource conflict emerge out of the quest by small scale farmers to access resources for livelihoods and rural economy, especially when institutions lack capacity to provide access to resources. In Tanzania for instance, irrigation schemes were unable to supply water to small scale farmers since water supply planning was not matched with the expansion of the economic sector (Lecoutere, 2011). Other challenges from Tanzania have been lack of comprehensive land tenure and land rights which has often fueled ethnic conflict leading to crop failure, food insecurity, and increased inequalities (Kajembe, et.al. 2003).While natural resources begin as genuine quest for resource benefit, they in the long run evolve into instruments of politics with capabilities to bring down governments and remain for a long time as a weapon to assert authority by different parties in the conflict for instance the case in Liberia and Somalia (Duyvesteyn, 2000).

Some of the good governance issues examined in the past experiences include failure to identify and prevent looting and over exploitation of natural resources, availability of black market networks to extract and smuggle resources from the community which are often unaccounted for despite, hostilities created by harmful extractive behaviors, and risk taking behaviors developed by small entrepreneurs and companies, when the government failures to regulate resource extraction effectively (Billon, 2005). …

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