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08 IASC | Governing conflicts over the exploitation of the commons: lessons from forest-mining in West Africa
Generally, it is well known that implementing national public policies at the local arena is often characterized by conflicts with significant show of power-play. This is especially the case for policies on natural resource exploitation as various actors (both at local, national and sometimes international) often have vested interests. The literature on both natural resource policy implementation and conflicts is very rich with power occupying a center stage. Whiles there has been larger public and scholarly interest in understanding power-play in commons governance, there is little knowledge on the subject, especially with regards to systematic inquiry into how the various actors empower themselves and under what conditions they have been effective or otherwise. More recently, the notion of actor-empowerment has emerged as an analytical concept to study the role of power in conflicts. Actor-empowerment refers to the process through which actors in conflicts mobilize resources to undertake strategies of influence in order to achieve the capability to manage experienced impairments caused by other actors. The paper discusses empirical observations of actor-empowerment in conflicts related to forest-mining policy in Ghana and draw lessons for how commons resource governance can be improved. The paper argues that interventions in commonsgovernance must focus on building actor conflict capabilities to assess critical power resources and create influence boundaries to interlock actor interests. In the studied case, traditional legitimacy, political legitimacy and access to economic resources for example were identified as critical for actor effectiveness in conflict management. However, the paper will introduce another dimension of effectiveness, episodic effectiveness, which is also crucial in governing resource conflicts. The recommendations are premised on two important. First, those policies on commons exploitation are often embedded in complex and plural systems of ownership, tenure and access rights. Second, that resource governance is aimed at achieving social justice, democracy and accountability in the policy landscape.
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|Release Date:||September 2008|
|File Size:||679 KB|