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

via Natural Resource Governance.

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