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Difficult & overlooked institutional issues in natural resource management - examples from fisheries co-management Roger Lewins Project & Institutional.

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Presentation on theme: "Difficult & overlooked institutional issues in natural resource management - examples from fisheries co-management Roger Lewins Project & Institutional."— Presentation transcript:

1 Difficult & overlooked institutional issues in natural resource management - examples from fisheries co-management Roger Lewins Project & Institutional Analysis

2 Outline Theoretical approaches to the “institution” – NIE and CPR theory Introduced institutions (structures) in the NRM project context Informal institutions in rural Bangladesh The Oxbow Lakes Project – Bangladesh The Participatory Fisheries Management Programme – Malawi Why informal institutional processes are underreported / difficult Problems & opportunities associated with this complexity Summary

3 Theoretical approaches to the “institution” - definitions 2 main branches have shaped NRM institutions thinking… from mid-1980’s New Institutional Economics Douglas North Common Property Resource Theory especially Elinor Ostrom “institutions” exist to minimise transaction costs….. we can design suitable institutions, just need rational rules & structures (helpful) Legacy ”institutions” are the rules setting the way organisations can work (helpful) Legacy Some starting conditions are preferable (i.e. “design principles”)

4 A simple definition of Institutions… The legacy of the New Institutional Economics definition …? ”institutions” are the rules setting the way organisations can work Institutions are more than just organisations They are the rules that shape everyday decisions “Rules of the game in society” - (1990) However, is it tautologous?... “existing institutions minimise transaction costs because transaction cost minimisation is their function”.” Harriss et al (1995:7) paraphrased by Leach et al, 1999.

5 It implies the “right” rules & structures are the key to sustainable NRM Institutions can function to ensure rational use……. and prevent ruin, Hardin’s (1968) Tragedy of the Commons Sometimes interpreted as a recipe book for “good” institutions The legacy of CPR theory definitions …? Looking at starting conditions & Ostrom’s eight design principles (1990)… Clearly defined boundaries Site specific rules Active participation Effective monitoring Graduated sanctions Conflict resolution A degree of autonomy Nested organisation

6 The legacy of CPR theory definitions …? “... the prescriptions that humans use to organise …repetitive & structured interactions including those within families, neighbourhoods, markets, firms ….. at all scales.” Ostrom (2005) Does CPR theory downplay the role of society, community power relations & the changing link between society & the environment? Often viewed as static & prescriptive – focus on “getting the rules right.” Leach 1997, Mehta 1999 “….institutions of various kinds, ranging from the informal (e.g. social norms) to the formal (e.g. the rule of law), interlock to form a matrix within which people live their lives.” Leach 1999

7 Changing perspectives of theory Problems implementing / interpreting CPR theory It does not think about motives / power differences… & is not anthropological Lasting Rules and Structures are difficult to introduce…. pre-exiting “ways of doing things” often still operate, regardless It attempts to “craft institutions” in relation to technical units & boundaries…. not overlapping services, traditional uses

8 Changing perspectives of theory Introduced structures vulnerable to collapse or exploitation by elite Lasting NRM (esp. project-based) often works with pre- existing “ways of doing things” e.g. legitimacy through traditional village heads etc. These systems can strengthen or erode new (introduced) institutions De facto NRM is an outcome of the mixture of institutions – new, pre-existing or modified (e.g. Cleaver & Franks (2002), Cleaver, 2012). Cleaver sees a mosaic - “bricolage” - of new and old interacting institutions and processes

9 “If structures (organisations etc.) can be thought of as hardware, then processes can be thought of as software” SL Guidance Sheets Institutions and the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach Greater attention on… Policies, Institutions and Processes (PIPs) “Ways of getting things done” Later manifestations of the SLA worked in greater political & institutional aspects

10 FormalInformal Federal Ministries State Government Local Government Authorities Farmer co-operatives, CSOs local political pressures local power relations traditional access rules patronage etc. Government, NGO & “community organisations” Non-organisation impacts on management There is a need for simple definitions of the “Institution” that relate to real world experience of those facilitating NRM Visible vs Invisible However, “institutional analysis” has focussed on organisations

11 “Culture” of Government & organisations Corruption Patron-Client networks Markets Traditional & neo- traditional rules & objectives Gender roles & relations Tribal roles & prejudices Federal Government (policy & projects) State Governments Local Government Authorities District Development Authorities Donors & International NGOs National NGOs & Civil Society Organisations CBOs Agricultural Development Programmes Traditional Structures Formal Institutions Set structures & responsibilities Informal Institutions Political economy & social norms de facto management & governance

12 “…. the distinction between ‘formal’ and ‘informal’, however, is not to propose the existence of a dual system, i.e. tradition vs. modernity or a ‘higher practice’ vs. a ‘local practice’. Rather, …[it] emphasises that formal and informal institutions function not as opposites, but together. The relationship between the formal and informal reveals the ways in which informal institutions have adapted to and now permeate democratic forms of governance. As such, focusing on the relationship between formal and informal institutions sheds light on the ways in which local configurations of power operate.” (Bode, 2002) A simple, workable distinction between formal & informal This interaction is very dynamic locally, especially where new opportunities and structures are introduced….

13 Introduced institutions in the NRM project context CBOCommunity-Based Organisation RMI / RMO / RMC ……..Resource Management Institution Resource Management Organisation Resource Management Committee resource user platforms farmer groups water user groups village fisheries committee Generic & project-specific terminology Often based on Western notions of “good” institutional characters …… transparency, accountability, gender equality, management structures (chairperson, treasurer etc.)

14 Each sector has a different model / purpose / approach Provide a participatory element (decision-making) An interface between community & project (legitimacy / responsiveness?) Fisheries sector>>>>recipients of inputs/training Water sector>>>>decision-making (sluice-gate management) Environment sector >>>recipients of awareness-raising activities Agriculture sector >>>>technical, credit & marketing training An overview of sectors – DFID project Bangladesh, (Lewins, 2005)…..

15 FisheriesWater SectorEnvironment FacilitatorDoFBWDBNational NGOs InteractionGroup formation & light support Group formation & planning Continuous, advisory PurposeIncreased fish prodn. Flood management / agric. protection Habitat management StructuresFixed groupsFixed, hierarchical groups Resource management & AIGA groups Each sector has a different model / purpose / approach

16 RMOs are a convenient lens through which to view the institutions that really matter……. They are the interface between multiple interests / stakeholders……. target groups / GO & NGO implementing agencies / local government & service providers Projects introduce new opportunities …..these are then contested (who has interest in maintaining the status quo etc.?) The way RMO structure & function is modified can reveal where the influence lies….. and help inform future “design” RMOs are of interest to wide range of stakeholders - it is easy to initiate discussion & debate

17 Actual RMO structure & function Outcomes Institutional sustainability? Pro-poor & equitable? Participation? Replicability? Financial viability? Environmental sustainability? New project structures are immersed in existing institutional environment……usually overlooked Intended RMO structure & function Pre-existing formal & informal institutions Intended beneficiaries Biophysical setting

18 or, as in the Bangladeshi proverb: 'Kazir guru ketaba acheye, kintu goaleye nei‘ (Kazi's cow is in the book, but not in the shed'). Usually a discrepancy between expected (or reported outcomes) & actual outcomes For example, CBOs may have been established & recorded …but what is their quality / what do they really do?

19 Informal institutions in rural Bangladesh Many institutions that affect NRM - collective action, access to (and exclusion from) NRs and their benefits – are not directly linked to NRM. Samaj – “an institutional space for collective worship” sometimes reliant on “coercion or manipulation according to …. notions of honour and shame” (Islam, 2002) Can influence voting behaviour but also access political support (Bertocci, 1996) Salish – Village-level & traditional court system chaired by mathbor elders. Publicly legitimate decision-making that by-passes state structures. Some NGOs have targeted the salish as potentially legitimate platforms for decision-making (Islam, 2002) Mosque-committee (masjid) rules – Operational rules for access to NRs can both raise revenues for mosques & regulate NR use (Amin & Islam, 2004)

20 Informal institutions in rural Bangladesh Example of an unforeseen informal institution in the project context. Participatory Action Plan Development in the charlands of Bangladesh (DFID-funded, ) PAPD designed to engage the range of livelihoods groups (women, fishers, share-croppers, landless and secondary stakeholders) - it is assumed the interests & positions of these stakeholders influence decision-making - leading to “win-wins” Previous success but in charlands there was an impasse – the community did not negotiate along livelihoods lines but instead between family (clan) groups – gusthi These communities relatively recently settled but came from 2 distinct gusthi The project staff were encouraged to record invisible and “off-stage” issues and permitted the planning process to work across this divide

21 Co-management in Bangladesh – the Oxbow Lakes Projects ( ) Stocking carp species in closed water bodies (baors) in SW Bangladesh Partnership between DANIDA, BRAC & DoF Early obsession (1970s-80s) with stocking, flood control & technical inputs BRAC expert in group formation, credit provision etc. Targeting “genuine” fishers – it took 5 years to “exclude” others (membership criteria developed by project – Hindu jele, <0.5 hectares land) 23 Lake Management Groups formed – record-keeping & decision-making Lake Fishing Teams Fish Farming Groups for women – khas land adjacent to lakes

22 Oxbow Lake project areas

23 DFID-funded institutional study (2005) What was the institutional legacy of the project? Built a “contextual” picture by consulting a wide range of stakeholders….together and separately Project staffDoF & BRAC personnel CBO membersLake Management Group (male) & Female Fisher Groups Non-participantsother villagers

24 Triangulation of Feedback Fish Farmer Groups Other villagers DoF staff we provide support there is no conflict profits are enjoyed benefits not shared mastaan in Groups threat of violence DoF cannot help profitable activity male/female conflict DoF provide little help some BRAC staff corrupt fixed membership baor threatened

25 Triangulation of Feedback Combining & cross-referencing…… Stocking is profitable for the group Benefits are concentrated Membership is rarely transferred Mastaan influence Group (Hindu targets marginalised) Previous conflict with some BRAC staff Conflict between male & female Groups DoF support limited Other uses threaten baor

26 Summary of Institutional Significance Formal processes Leaseholds for male and female ponds secured via DoF DoF facilitate technical but routine meetings No scope for DoF to address or investigate power issues BRAC involvement reduced since 1997 Groups sought professional advice over NGO corruption Group size is fixed by DoF.

27 Summary of Institutional Significance Informal processes Women’s project activity now better respected (status / social capital) Women’s families have special interest in status quo Muslim mastaan use threat of violence to control Groups Otherwise conflict within groups is low Group members do not relinquish membership

28 Assessment, framed in relation to objective of project Support for OLP ended 1997 OLP tried to maximise catch OLP tried to create self-funded groups Project activities now institutionalised Production from stocked baor still high Male & female groups require minimal support

29 However….. “…there was local political pressure to drop women from leases and replace them with young men who supported the new ruling party.”Lewins (2005) ‘..grabbing productive assets or looting the income of women requires a number of factors, which men alone have in Bangladesh' Nathan and Apu (2002) The situation in 2005 represented a three-way, sub-optimal pact that marginalised the vulnerable & resisted change The constraints to women particularly disappointing - their husbands made the real economic decisions What made OLP economically viable (closed water body, subsidised inputs & exclusive rules of use) – attracted unwanted attention & made it hard for poor to secure gains …a feature of many “technical” fisheries initiatives in Bangladesh

30 Co-management in Malawi – the Participatory Fisheries Management Programme ( ) Objective to improve regulation of Lake Malombe & Upper Shire fisheries in response to serious decline 31 Beach Village Committees as interface between community & DoF…… Purpose, to improve compliance to new technical controls & regulations BVCs to enforce rules (largely designed by DoF) & publicise impact of illegal fishing, (Sources include: Hara, 2001; Donda, 2001; Allison et al, 2002) UK-funded with DoF as key partner Running parallel to national decentralisation process

31 Co-management in Malawi – the Participatory Fisheries Management Programme ( ) Some problems … 30% of BVC members were non-fishers Primary stakeholders entrusted with very narrow range of responsibilities. Lack of legitimacy & power struggles with traditional leaders ‘…there is some input from government but the overall picture is that there is dominance of control of resource access by chiefs’ (Njaya, 2006). There remains confusion over the precise roles of BVCs and their relationship to decentralised structures such as District Assemblies. Decentralisation Policy (1998) has seen each sector transfer authority at different rates – the fisheries sector slowest to decentralise real responsibility (Njaya et al. 2011). Failure to establish explicit roles for traditional authorities & to draw on their potential to demarcate socially legitimate fishing areas or to mediate disputes and violations.,“..scepticism undermined the initial success of the co-management arrangement”.

32 Co-management in Malawi – the Participatory Fisheries Management Programme ( ), ‘.. [constraints] … relate to confusion & conflict over the roles & responsibilities of the various management structures & the nature of the relationships between them. These relationships, in turn, are a function of the informal institutional landscape – the struggle between traditional leaders, appointed individuals (BVC etc) & government stakeholders seeking patronage & influence (Béné et al. 2009)’. Lewins et al 2014 International financial support withdrawn since the beginning of the 2000s. Legacy? ‘Quite resilient local level structures, not wholly representing the interests of local fishers & contesting their role with the DoF & the public’ (Njaya et al. 2011).

33 Informal institutional effects & processes are underreported …..why? Project staff can be fixated on log-frame activities & predetermined indicators (visual) ---an emphasis on the visible, quantifiable things. e.g. The number of committees, the apparent membership, a signed plan Local field staff drawn from wide range of technical backgrounds (agriculture extension, fisheries management, engineering etc.) But may lack socio-political expertise Modus operandum of each sector - the legacy of past interventions and “ways of doing things” Informal institutional issues are seen as a messy distraction & infer failure of implementing agencies (donors & those on the ground) Some social norms (e.g. fixed local “roles” for women & the poorest) can be viewed as undesirable & embarrassing to development stakeholders

34 However, informal institutional & processes can represent opportunities! Why re- invent the wheel…. In Bangladesh, some water projects recognised “Local Initiatives” to manage water & used them instead of setting up new rules & structures. (public meetings chaired by mathbor elders to decide when to flood & drain fields) Powerful local individuals can act as champions of local plans / needs – communicating them to service providers and seeking funds on behalf of public Local people can shape structures and project activities to make them more relevant - not necessarily as desired by the project There is evidence of successful planning in Bangladesh where communities explore options independently of project facilitators…… Planning works well when it publicly acknowledges power differentials (public pressure on government officials) In summary, these processes may be viewed as socially legitimate …introduced ones often are not viewed this way

35 Production-oriented projects are prone to manipulation (especially interventions that subsidise access or inputs) Sector-specific interventions can widen differences between livelihoods groups, creating conflict RMI design cannot be viewed in isolation from “approach” (i.e. the purpose & approach of RMIs can be as significant as the form & design of the committee) RMIs can fail because the incentive for participation & support does not exist Participation levels relate to perceived value & legitimacy GO or NGO staff & local stakeholders can develop their own informal institutions (“ways of doing things”) that can consolidate management arrangements (e.g. Oxbow Lakes Project) Institutional performance issues in Bangladesh (Lewins 2005) The way the existing institutional environment interacts with projects depends on their design (purpose, approach, activities)

36 Opportunities Relate participation to co-learning & awareness rather than formation of RMIs with set roles & functions (“blue-print” approach) All stakeholders should understand the problem of assuming homogenous & harmonious “communities” Project staff must be aware of the type of processes that can evolve (socio- economists & social scientists could play a key role in the entire process, not just the scoping & inception phase). Relevant tools to map relationships & institutional performance (e.g. “process documentation”) should be communicated to local staff & be integral to M&E Staff should be aware of the potential of existing institutions (such as the mosque committee) in supporting sustainability & pro-poor objectives Tools like institutional mapping may reveal “platforms” such as the salish or mosque committee that already perform similar function to intended RMIs The “elite” should not always be avoided or confronted – they can operate as powerful brokers & add legitimacy, gain additional political & financial support

37 Cycle StageFrequent problemsPotential strategies 1 Local Support Pre-intervention indifference Post-intervention decline in support Simple, public examples (sanctuaries, field demonstrations etc.) Cost-effectiveness for participants & broad beneficiary range (see stage 3 below). 2 Facilitation Declining dialogue & interaction Limited group organisation, participation & RMI-formation skills Roles for pre-existing institutions Vetting of local NGO partners Training of local level staff (community organisation, power issues & the approaches below) 3 Equitable Outcomes Resource capture by non-targets Negative impacts on some stakeholders Ensure early inclusive planning Increase facilitator awareness of power issues (“processes”, training in RMI formation etc.) Avoiding strongly subsidised inputs for production Avoided strongly subsidised access arrangements Low-cost, smaller scale interventions Reduced geographic coverage (smaller participant clusters) Working with pre-existing informal institutions (LIs, samaj, salish etc.). A change from a sectoral to a livelihoods focus (stressing delivery & interaction across groups) 4 Consensus Intervention-induced conflictEarly use of participatory planning & consensus building Dispute-resolution as an integral function of project RMIs Utilisation of salish

38 Summary NRM policies and projects evolve in unpredictable ways This is largely a product of informal institutional processes (attitudes in organisations, social norms, pre-existing “rules”). The outcomes are not always negative & are sometimes quite resilient…….(e.g. OLP groups & Malawi BVCs) “[outcomes comprise]…..some form of bricolage of existing and evolving institutions linked together in complex and fluid networks, in which institutional design principles are only partly applicable.” Cleaver & Franks 2002 'institutional 'DIY' rather than engineering or design. Useful reading: Development Through Bricolage - Rethinking Institutions for Natural Resource Management (Cleaver, 2012)

39 Difficult & overlooked institutional issues in natural resource management - examples from fisheries co-management Roger Lewins Project & Institutional Analysis Thank you

40 Discussion topics Specific Special features of fisheries (physical, livelihoods / socio-economic, psychological(!) & institutional) How does this theory relate to other sectors - examples (rangelands, forest, agriculture etc.)? Is the concept of “community” still useful in the context of decentralised NRM? General The consequence for decentralised NRM Parallels outside of NRM? The arrogance of “institution building”?


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