Good governance for the environment

Decentralization and biodiversity conservation

Decentralization and Biodiversity Conservation
, edited by Ernst Lutz and Julian Caldecott (The World Bank, Washington DC, 1996 – read this book).  This book has ten studies of how countries have reformed  to make local people more directly responsible for the management of their own environments, and how this has proved both liberating and effective in improving conservation.

From the Foreword by Ismail Serageldin, Vice President for Environmentally Sustainable Development of the World Bank:

“The diverse experience reported in the country studies and project analyses shows that decentralization and conservation are complex, interactive processes.  A conclusion from the historical reviews of country experience is that centralized, top-down conservation is seldom effective, except where large budgets are available for enforcement and the society concerned is willing to accept a rather undemocratic conservation process.  The more recent experience of countries where new responsibilities have been given to local government units and [NGOs] suggests that both opportunities and potential problems exist.  To take advantage of the former while avoid the latter, it seems that a cluster of arrangements must be made as a whole if conservation is to work well in a decentralized setting.  [These include]: Local participation … Capacity building … Incentive structures … Conditional subsidies … Appropriate enforcement … Stakeholder forums … [and] Enabling policies, laws and institutions … The main challenge for each country is to find the appropriate degree of decentralization … that will best promote rural development and alleviate poverty while enhancing the creativity and enterprise of its citizens and the protection and wise use of its living resources.”

From the 1998 review in Land Use Policy (volume 15, pages 174-175) by Lera Miles:

“This publication … includes eminent voices from the global conservation establishment and the [World] Bank itself.  Economists, conservationists and policy-makers remind us of the potential value of decentralized governance for biodiversity conservation in developing countries.  They set out to demonstrate that decentralization is good for conservation, and to investigate the extent to which it occurs.  The philosophy is remarkably similar to the sustainable development agenda advanced by NGOs working in developing countries, from … WWF to Oxfam.  The message is clear and familiar – long-term conservation goals require the co-operation, help and agreement of local people, and must bring tangible benefits to them if they are to participate … this provides an interesting read, describing the chequered history of conservation in ten diverse countries … The country studies highlight particularly successful or inept practices in a reasonably impartial fashion, and discuss a wide variety of forms of decentralization … The book provides some insight into the political processes influencing conservation measures in developing countries, quietly documents exciting events such as the spread of villagers’ forest management initiatives in India, and predicts a positive future for the spread of decentralized land management strategies.”

The contents are:
Introduction, by Ernst Lutz and Julian Caldecott
Colombia, by Eduardo Uribe
Costa Rica, by Julian Caldecott and Annie Lovejoy
India, by Shekhar Singh
Indonesia, by Julian Caldecott
Kenya, by Joyce H. Poole and Richard E. Leakey
Nepal, by Uday R. Sharma and Michael P. Wells
Nigeria, by Julian Caldecott and Andrew Babatunde Morakinyo
Philippines, by Maria Dulce M. Cacha and Julian Caldecott
Russia, by Margaret D. Williams and Michael P. Wells
Zimbabwe, by Brian Child
Good Governance in Model and Real Countries, by Julian Caldecott
Analysis of World Bank and GEF Projects, by Ajit Banerjee and Ernst Lutz
Conclusion, by Julian Caldecott and Ernst Lutz