The objective of this paper is to better understand the various individual and household factors that influence resilience, that is, people’s ability to respond adequately to shocks and stressors. One of our hypotheses is that resilience does not simply reflect the expected effects of quantifiable factors such as level of assets, or even less quantifiable social processes such as people’s experience, but is also determined by more subjective dimensions related to people’s perceptions of their ability to cope, adapt or transform in the face of adverse events.
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.
Aquatic agricultural systems in developing countries face increasing competition from multiple stakeholders over rights to access and use natural resources, land, water, wetlands, and fisheries, essential to rural livelihoods. A key implication is the need to strengthen governance to enable equitable decision making amidst competition that spans sectors and scales, building capacities for resilience, and for transformations in institutions that perpetuate poverty.
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.
Conflict management is an intrinsic element of natural resource management, and becomes increasingly important amid growing pressure on natural resources from local uses, as well as from external drivers such as climate change and international investment. If policymakers and practitioners aim to truly improve livelihood resilience and reduce vulnerabilities of poor rural households, issues of resource competition and conflict management cannot be ignored.
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.
Since cyclones Sidr (2007) and Aila (2009), communities in southern Bangladesh have increasingly needed to protect their homes and livelihoods from destructive natural disasters. WorldFish embarked on a climate-resilient housing project in 2013, building a prototype climate-smart house that is resilient to cyclones and is also water, food, energy and space efficient. This brief describes how the climate-smart house provides protection against cyclones and flooding and supports efficient use of water and energy.
Nearly 500 million people in the developing world depend on aquatic agricultural systems for their livelihoods, with 140 million of these people living in poverty. Occurring along freshwater floodplains and coastal deltas, aquatic agricultural systems are highly productive farming and fishing systems that provide multiple opportunities for growing or harvesting food and generating income.
This book explores how natural resource management initiatives in more than twenty countries and territories have supported livelihoods and facilitated post-conflict peacebuilding.