Rural households who fail to gain a voice in decisions over the management of shared forests, pasturelands, wetlands and fisheries face heightened risks to their livelihoods, particularly as competition increases between existing and new user groups. Exclusion from decision-making increases vulnerability of rural households, making it more difficult for them to move out of poverty and thwarting broader efforts to achieve sustainable resource management. Poor rural women in particular often face institutionalized barriers to effective participation in resource management.
Lake Victoria fisheries face severe environmental stresses. Stocks are declining in a context of increasing population and growing demand for the lake’s resources. Rising competition between users is putting conservation goals and rural livelihoods at risk. While Uganda’s co-management policy framework is well-developed, key resources for implementation are lacking, enforcement is poor, and the relations between stakeholders are unequal. Poor rural resource users face significant challenges to effectively participate in fisheries decision-making.
International investments in agroindustry present a growing source of tension for local populations who rely on land, forests, water and fisheries for their livelihoods, particularly where local tenure security is put at risk. For governments, civil society organizations and the communities directly affected, engaging the private sector early is critical in order to avoid an escalation of conflict and to build collaboration that can yield dividends for all. Yet care must be taken to address power differences among actors and to avoid manipulation by individuals or interest groups.
In many countries, resource conflict is a leading risk to livelihoods. For some communities, it is a matter of survival. Yet, many development interventions aiming to address these challenges fail or fall far short of their potential. Common reasons include conflicting agendas, power and politics; poor local commitment and leadership; lack of coordination; plus high costs and low sustainability, as programs often unravel when development finance ends.
Where natural resources are a key component of the rural economy, the ability of the poor to realize their visions for the future depends significantly on institutional structures that govern resource access and management. This case study reports on an initiative on the shores of Lake Kariba in Zambia, where lakeshore residents face competition over fishing, tourism, and commercial aquaculture.
To satisfy increasing demands for fish as food, progress must occur towards greater aquaculture productivity whilst retaining the wild and farmed genetic resources that underpin global fish production. We review the main selection methods that have been developed for genetic improvement in aquaculture, and discuss their virtues and shortcomings. Examples of the application of mass, cohort, within family, and combined between-family and within-family selection are given.
Conflict over environmental resources endangers rural people’s livelihoods and can increase the risk of broader social conflict. Yet action to sustain shared resources can also be a potent source of community building. Investing in capacities for conflict management can help launch innovations that build resilient rural livelihoods and strengthen institutions for equitable environmental governance. Governments and development agencies should invest in such capacity and integrate collaborative dialogue about environmental resources into program and policy implementation.
Cambodia’s recent freshwater fishery sector reform, instigated at the top level of government, is one of the country’s most significant contemporary policy developments addressing natural resources management and rural development. Implemented in two main waves, the reforms culminated in the complete removal of inland commercial fishing lots. Yet serious problems still need to be addressed, including reportedly widespread illegal fishing, difficulties in protecting critical habitats, and competition among state agencies over resource management authority.
The CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) supports resource-poor women and men to overcome poverty, malnutrition and food insecurity by bringing science to bear on these challenges. Social and gender issues, which restrict women and men, adversely impact development in the aquatic agricultural systems. AAS has embraced gender-transformative approaches (GTA) to achieve its goals. Broad buy-in is needed to effectively integrate GTA into research programming and organizational processes and practices.
Natural resource management is closely linked to conflict management, prevention and resolution. Managing natural resources involves reconciling diverging interests that often lead to conflict, which can undermine management institutions and lead to exploitation, environmental destruction and deteriorating livelihoods. If conflicts turn violent, they can rip apart the entire fabric of society. Thus, managing conflicts in a peaceful manner is decisive not only for successful and sustainable resource management but for societal stability in general.