- Acknowledging the informal institutional setting of natural resource management consequences for policy-makers and practitioners (Lewins, 2007).
- Nils Boesen (2010), Institutions, Power and Politics: Looking for change beyond the boundaries, the formal and the functional, in Ubels, J., N. Acquaye-Baddoo and A. Fowler (eds) Capacity Development in Practice, Earthscan, pp. 145-156
- Developing Institutions for Pro-Poor Natural Resource Management - the Current & Potential Approach of the Joint Wetlands Livelihoods Project. Report on a consultation with the DFID Joint Wetlands Livelihoods team, Nigeria. (Lewins, 2005)
- Integrated floodplain management - institutional environments and participatory methods. DFID NRSP Project R8195. (Lewins, 2004)
Governance and Decentralisation
Decentralisation - the 'transfer of power from the central government to actors and institutions at lower levels in a political-administrative and territorial hierarchy'*
Since the 1990s, interest in decentralisation has moved beyond its potential contribution to natural resource management to a broader one of social development, poverty reduction, rights and democratisation. Development agencies and donors view decentralisation as a means to achieve more responsive, transparent and accountable government.
The policy process surrounding decentralisation reflects a broad international narrative which promotes citizen participation and good governance through subsidiarity.
However, the process of decentralisation can threaten the interests of many actors and experience to date reveals variable performance with respect to institutional sustainability, participation and empowerment.
Decentralisation requires new roles, responsibilities and skills of government and civil society stakeholders. At the local level, decentralisation may emphasis a role for new resource user committees and other platforms for decision-making. The entire range of stakeholders will take time to develop capacity in these new roles.
Implementing new policy and practice that is coherent with other management objectives and adapting existing institutions ('ways of getting things done') takes time and political commitment.
The impact and performance of policies, programmes and projects associated with decentralisation must be assessed in relation to the institutional opportunities and constraints to change.
Acknowledging the informal institutional environment or realpolitik of local management and the rural economy provides opportunities to better manage and review the process of decentralisation.
We provide support to projects and programmes to help ensure that new or existing local institutions represent a close "fit" with policy and supportive stakeholders.
We help to ensure local institutions have proper access to:
- relevant information (technical advice, access and other rights issues, sources of financial, market and legal support) and;
- enabling institutions (developing sustainable links and relations with gatekeeper government and civil society stakeholders).