natural resource governance
Natural resources are not just valuable economic resources; they're also political and social resources. At all levels: local, national and international, actors compete to gain access, control and benefits from natural resources. How these competitions are played out and resolved, and who ultimately benefits from them, lies at the heart of natural resource governance.
In situations of weak governance, people have limited incentives to manage their resources for the long term and face significant barriers to building a sustainable livelihood for themselves. Ineffective management of common property resources can oftern lead to competition, over-exploitation and eventually the degradation of the resource itself. Elite capture of resource revenues can prevent the benefits generated by natural resource wealth from reaching poor people. Insecure and biased property rights regimes can foster social and economic exclusion and generate conflict. All of these processes undermine poor people’s livelihoods and increase their poverty and marginality.
The livelihoods of the poor are likely to be enhanced in circumstances of ‘good’ governance—where property rights regimes are predictable, secure and fair; effective institutions govern common pool resources; and the benefits of resource rents flow to the bulk of the population and not just to elites. In these circumstances, it is more likely that poor people are able to invest in the sustainable use of their resource base and use these natural assets as a foundation on which they can build a sustainable livelihood.
FRR has extensive experience of working with stakeholders to improve governance of natural resources. Some examples of our work are given below:
CAMEROON FOREST GOVERNANCE FACILITY
FRR was engaged to assist DFID in the design of a multi-stakeholder support facility to complement the Government of Cameroon’s Forest and Environmental Sector Reform Programme. The purpose of the facility is to strengthen the capacity of civil society and the private sector to engage in sustainable forest management and monitor forest governance reforms in order to encourage stronger partnerships with the state and their greater engagement in policy processes.
SUPPORT TO THE GHANA FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT GOVERNANCE AND TRADE (FLEGT) VOLUNTARY PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT
The European Union's Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan represents a comprehensive attempt to use the power of timber-consuming countries to reduce the extent of illegal logging. Approved by the Council of the EU in October 2003, the Action Plan includes negotiation of bilateral FLEGT voluntary partnership agreements (VPAs) with producer countries whereby exports from the producer country can be validated as coming from a legal and sustainable source. Ghana is among one of the likely early signatory countries and the proposed Agreement will set out a series of key factors in implementing the licensing system. These include the range of the laws and regulations to be considered in deciding the status of legality to be applied in awarding the license, the institutional arrangements behind the system, and the degree of independent verification of legal behaviour at every stage of the chain of custody of the products. Specific activities include:
- Organising and contributing to the processes of dialogue and consultation on the VPA
- Facilitating the involvement of all stakeholders - particularly civil society groups and the timber industry.
- Advising on the negotiation of the VPA
- Advising on programming and design of development assistance to support the VPA
- Promoting a joint and harmonised approach to development assistance
- Working closely with other FLEGT related activities and programmes – such as the Natural Resources and Environment Governance programme.
BREAKING NEWS: Ghana recently became the first country to sign a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU.
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EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES TRANSPARANCY INITIATIVE (EITI)
FRR has been selected as a framework contractor to provide call-down support to the EITI Secretariat in Oslo in support of country compliance reviews with the principles of the EITI process in the oil, gas and mineral sectors. FRR leads a Consortium of companies that includes the global accountancy firm, BDO and Global Synergy.
ASSESSMENT OF WILDFLIFE TRADE IN VIETNAM AND ITS LINKS WITH SURROUNDING COUNTRIES
An assessment of the wildlife trade in Vietnam and its links with Lao PDR, Cambodia and the People's Republic of China. The review included an analysis of the wildlife trade, an assessment of regional capacity to implement forest and wildlife legislation and production of a report to guide World Bank investment in natural resources in Vietnam.
SUPPORT TO CUSTOMARY LAND ADMINISTRATION REFORM PROGRAMME
The Land Administration Project (LAP) is a major reform of land administration and land management in Ghana, supported by a range of development partners, including the World Bank, DFID, GTZ and the Nordic Fund. The objective of LAP is to stimulate economic development, reduce poverty and promote social stability by improving security of land tenure, simplifying the process for accessing land to make it more fair, transparent and efficient, developing the land market and fostering prudent land management. This project specifically supports the Customary Land Administration (CLA) component of LAP and development of Customary Land Administrations as effective and accountable local structures for land administration. Particular attention is paid to strengthening the capacity of CLAs to address the needs of the diverse populations within their communities, and recognise the range of customary tenure systems in different regions of Ghana. The support to customary land management reform aims to help monitor and review the progress of the customary land management element of LAP on behalf of the development partners and contribute to six-monthly multi-donor implementation support missions. Principal beneficiaries are expected to be the majority of people for whom the current land administration system is effectively inoperable, due to high costs of registering land claims, the complex bureaucracy involved, lack of transparency in the land allocation process and uncertain tenure held by many stool indigenes and secondary rights holders.