The livelihoods of African rural populations are heavily dependent on natural resources whose state has been deteriorating over time. This deterioration has partly been attributed to rapid population growth, high rates of poverty, and inappropriate natural resource management (NRM) approaches of governments. The failure of top-down approaches to regulation and administration of natural resources has led to increased attention to the role of decentralized administrative structures and customary governance institutions.
Bylaws - defined here as subsidiary laws and regulations locally defined or enacted by local government units to govern the use of natural resources - have been given increased attention. However, bylaws still tend to be developed in a top-down manner, often not well integrated and consistent with customary norms and institutions. Initiatives of formulating and linking the bylaws formulated by decentralized groups with the provisions of statutory laws have also been inadequate. To date, however, there has not been a good platform for scoping, conceptualizing or synthesizing this work across the CGIAR and the broader research community.
In response to these trends, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and CAPRi co-sponsored a workshop to synthesize knowledge and share findings on approaches, methodologies, lessons and experiences in bylaws research. Researchers from AHI (Uganda and Ethiopia), ICRAF (Kenya, Cameroon, Zambia and Mali), CAPRi, IFPRI, CIFOR, IWMI, CIAT, Yale University, the Areka Agricultural Research Center, Ethiopia, and Shanduko - Center for Agrarian and Environmental Studies, a Zimbabwean NGO, attended.
The workshop aimed at maximizing the potential of ICRAF, other CGIAR and partners' natural resource bylaws research to contribute to more effective bylaws for natural resource management.
The presentations and discussions were structured around three thematic areas:
- Emergence and evolution of bylaws across NRM sectors and policy/political settings: What are the critical and common attributes of effective bylaws? What is their content? Why are they formulated, how, by whom? What factors constrain the formulation, implementation and enforcement of bylaws?
- Effectiveness and impacts of bylaws across sectors, policy/political settings: are they effective for the goals they were crafted to meet? In which way have they failed? Who are the winners and losers of bylaws? How does the effectiveness of locally-developed bylaws compare to those imposed by government policies or development projects?
- Where do bylaws fit into the broader policy and legal environment? What is the relationship between bylaws (customary and non-customary) and statutory regulations? How can effective bylaws be scaled up and out? What institutional pathways? What non-institutional pathways?
Papers presented at the conference are currently undergoing revision to be released as CAPRi Working Papers. They will be posted as soon as they are published.
- The Africa-Wide Research Workshop on Bi-Laws, their Effects on Natural Resource Management, and Linkages to Customary and Statutory Law: Opening Message
By Brent Swallow
- Relevance of Bylaws Research for CAPRi Work on Institutions of Collective Action and Property Rights
By Helen Markelova
- Water Governance in the Limpopo and Volta Basins: Exploring Local Level Institutions, Their Bi-Laws and Beneficiaries
By Amy Sullivan
- Reflective Practices: Emergence and Implementation of Community Bi-laws in Agriculture and Natural Resource Governance in Uganda
By Pascal Sanginga
Who Knows, Who Cares? Determinants of Enactment, Awareness and Compliance with Community Natural Resource Management
Ephraim Nkonya, John Pender, Edward Kato, Samuel Mugarura, and James Muwonge. CAPRi Working Paper 41. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2005.
- Traditional Authority, Customary Law and Accountability within the Environmental Sector in Zimbabwe
By Everisto Mapedza
- Enabling Negotiation and Conflict Resolution for Area Wide Planning: The Case of Collective Action for Watershed Management
By Joseph Tanui
- The Effectiveness of Bylaws in the Management of Natural Resources: A West African Regional Overview
By Antoine Kalinganire and Koffi Alinon
- Participatory Bi-laws Reforms: Toward Technology-Governance Synergies in Upper Catchments
By Laura German
- Bi-laws and Local Policies to Enhance Natural Resource Management in Zambia: Their Formulation, Effectiveness and Impacts
By Olu Ajayi
- Enhancing Improved Seed Dissemination through Local Bylaws in Gununo Watershed, Southern EthiopiaBy Waga Mazengia
- Bi- and Statutory Laws Interface in Promoting "Functional Water Markets" as Instruments for Managing Water Scarcity in the Semi-arid Catchment of Lake Baringo, Kenya
By Thomas Yatich
- Land Use Planning and Conservation Bi-laws in Zimbabwe: Linking Theory to Practices, Processes, and Prospects
By Alois Mandondo
- ALAM's Experience in Studying Agroforestry and Livelihoods in Conservation Landscapes: A Case Study of Forest Reserve Governance in Mali
By Rebecca Ashley Asare
- Seeking Common Ground for the State and Forest-Dependent Livelihoods: The Roots of Local Adaptation Mechanisms to Forest Policy in Cameroon.
By Peter Mbile
- The Institutional Context of Bi-laws and their Impacts on Water Management in Western Kenya
By Leah Onyango and Brent Swallow