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Policy Briefs

  • The role of collective action and property rights in climage change strategies
    Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela; Markelova, Helen; Moore, Kelsey. CAPRi Policy Brief 7. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2010
    Abstract | Full Text
    The well-documented threats posed by climate change are serious and potentially devastating to the global community. The geographic areas that are most susceptible to the effects of climate change, such as increased droughts and flooding, are also the regions where the majority of the world’s poor live. Evidence suggests that these effects may be especially severe for disadvantaged communities in developing countries that have few assets, such as fiscal resources and physical capital, and few income diversification opportunities, which severely limits their ability to cope or adapt to climate changes.
  • Collective action for smallholder market access
    Markelova, Helen; Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela. CAPRi Policy Brief 6. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2009
    Abstract | Full Text
    "Issues concerning farmers with small land holdings figure prominently in global discussions about poverty reduction, as the majority of the world's poor belong to such households. Most of these households are linked to the market in one way or another. Thus, the opportunity for smallholders to raise their incomes from agricultural production, natural resource management, and related rural enterprises increasingly depends on their ability to sell their goods not just at local, but also regional and even international markets. Agricultural producers in the developing world face significant challenges as a result of changing economic, environmental, and sociopolitical conditions. Changes in the global agricultural economy are providing smallholders with new opportunities that also present new constraints. The demand for higher value and processed foods as well as the rise of supermarkets around the world has implications for the entire food marketing system as it alters procurement systems and introduces new quality and safety standards. For example, European supermarket chains have imposed stringent food safety requirements such as GLOBALGAP on their suppliers of horticultural products, making it more challenging for farmers to supply these outlets. Smallholders also face significant challenges that hinder their participation in new marketing opportunities. Markets in the developing world are characterized by pervasive imperfections such as lack of information on prices and technologies, high transaction costs, and credit constraints. Moreover, the new procurement systems often expect larger supply volumes, favoring larger farmers. With the increasing number of free trade agreements affecting both national and international commodity markets, smallholder farmers are forced to compete not only with their local peers, but also with farmers from other countries as well as domestic and international agribusinesses. There is increasing evidence from both research and practice that one way for smallholders to overcome market failures and maintain their market position is through organizing into farmer groups or producers organizations. Acting collectively, smallholders would be better positioned to reduce transaction costs for their market exchanges, obtain necessary market information, secure access to new technologies, and tap into high-value markets, allowing them to compete more effectively with large farmers and agribusinesses. Producer groups can simplify long marketing chains by connecting smallholders directly to markets, bypassing various marketing intermediaries." -- from Text
  • Collective action and property rights for poverty reduction
    Mwang, Esther, ed.; Markelova, Helen, ed.; Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela, ed.. CAPRi Policy Brief . Washington DC: IFPRI. 2008
    Abstract | Full Text
    "To examine the role of the institutions of collective action and property rights on poverty reduction, the Systemwide Program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) undertook a global research project with study sites in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Indonesia, India, Cambodia, and the Philippines. The main goal of the project was to contribute to poverty-reduction efforts by identifying effective policies and practices that enhance the ways that collective action and property rights are used to build secure assets and income streams for and by the poor. The project intended to provide policymakers, NGOs, and community groups with knowledge of the factors that strengthen the rights of the poor to land and water resources and lead to more effective collective action by the poor. Four CGIAR centers and two German universities conducted empirical research on the role of collective action and property rights for disadvantaged groups. The briefs in this set represent the case studies that were part of the project. The case studies rely on a variety of research methods, including qualitative and quantitative approaches, participatory action research, and experimental games. They also cover a variety of contexts within Africa and Asia, which will allow policymakers, researchers, and practitioners to further examine what constitutes poverty and affects the welfare of the poor between and within countries, and to draw comparisons." -- from Text
  • Gender and collective action
    Pandolfelli, Lauren; Dohrn, Stephan; Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela. CAPRi Policy Brief 5. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2007
    Abstract | Full Text
    "Collective action plays a vital role in many people’s lives, through such areas as income generation, risk reduction, public service provision, and the management of natural resources. However, men’s and women’s interests often differ because they have different rights, resources, and responsibilities. Due to these differences as well as socially constructed norms of what it means to be male and female, men’s and women’s voices are often not equally represented or valued in collective action institutions. Including a gender perspective in these institutions can lead to more effective and equitable outcomes.This brief summarizes findings from an international workshop on Gender and Collective Action organized in 2005 by CAPRi in Chiang Mai, Thailand." -- from Text
  • Securing the commons
    Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela; Mwangi, Esther; Dohrn, Stephan. CAPRi Policy Brief 4. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2006
    Abstract | Full Text
    "This brief addresses the question: What are the commons and what are they good for? The authors put forth the following policy implications: (1.) Devolving authority to the lowest levels possible can improve the effectiveness of the management of common pool resources, if the state is willing and able to back the rules established at those levels. (2.) State recognition of common property systems is essential to enable those who depend on the commons to reap the benefits from these areas. (3.) Strengthening individual property rights can undermine the existence of the commons. (4.) Devising strategies and mechanisms to strengthen group institutions, and making sure they are accountable and transparent for all members, can increase overall security of the commons. (5.) Fostering innovative ways to diversify the livelihoods of commons users can help reach both equity and environmental stewardship objectives. (6.) Securing the commons requires empowering local communities to deal with outsiders." -- from Text
  • Conceptual and methodological lessons for improving watershed management and research
    Knox, Anna; Swallow, Brent M.; Johnson, Nancy. CAPRi Policy Brief 3. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2001
    Abstract | Full Text
    Water sheds connect land units through flows of water, nutrients, and sediment—linking farmers, fishers, and urban dwellers in intricate relationships. How these flows affect people’s livelihoods depends on the biophysical attributes of the water shed as well as on the policies and institutions that shape human interactions within the watershed. Watersheds are managed at various social and spatial scales—from community management of small catchments to the transnational management of extensive river systems and lake basins.
  • Collective action, property rights, and devolution of natural resource management
    Katon, Brenda; Knox, Anna; Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela. CAPRi Policy Brief 2. Washington DC: IFPRI. 2001
    Abstract | Full Text
    Policies to devolve responsibility for natural resource management to local bodies have become widespread in the past 20 years. Although the theoretical advantages of user management have been convincing and the impetus for devolution policies strong, the actual outcomes of devolution programs in various sectors and countries have been mixed. This paper summarizes key research findings on factors that contribute to effective devolution programs in the forestry, fisheries, irrigation, and rangelands sectors, which were presented and discussed at an international Policy Workshop on Property Rights, Collective Action and Devolution of Natural Resource Management, June 21-25, 1999, in Puerto Azul, the Philippines.
  • Property rights, collective action, and technologies for natural resource management
    Knox, Anna; Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela. CAPRi Policy Brief 1. Washington DC: IFPRI. 1999
    Abstract | Full Text
    "Degradation of natural resources has become a global problem that threatens the livelihood of millions of poor people. Many promising technologies for natural resource management are available to address these problems, but farmers and others often fail to adopt them. Why is this? Although many factors can be identified, lack of secure property rights and collective action deserve greater attention from policy makers and technology developers. The authors discuss how property rights and collective action affect technology adoption; the factors influencing technology choices; implications for efficiency, equity and environmental sustainability; and, policy implications and areas for research." -- from Text


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