Empowerment vis-a-vis marginalisation: A mix response from the decentralised institutions for sustainable resource management (2002)

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Nepal has a policy of decentralisation and devolution in forestry sector, in which users themselves make decisions for the use and management of forest resources. The community forestry policy has been implemented for quite a significant time period. However, the impact of community forestry policy and programme in Nepal is debated around the potentials for empowerment or risk of marginalisation of the forest users. This article draws some indicators of potentials for empowerment and risk of marginalisation through a case study of forest user group. It builds an argument for the empowerment of the poor in a way that the forest user group is the only institution in village, which brings all people together and discusses the matter related to forest resource use and management. It provides a forum for all users including women, poor, and untouchables to be able to participate about the resource management. On the other hand, this article draws an argument that only coming together in a forum is not a real participation of the users. It seems only physical participation of the poor and marginalized and the elite groups of people legitimise their interests by the unconscious consent of the users in the forum. Moreover, the government is not committed to implement the policies and often issues orders and circulars that contravene the policy and legislation, in which the access to forest is restricted and that affects the poor most. This has resulted in further marginalisation of the weaker section of the society. This article concludes with a recommendation for democratising the forest user group at local level and government departments responsible at national level in a way that the poor and marginalized can articulate their interests and needs to the decision making process for the sustainable forest resource management.
Year: 2002
Language: English
In: Case study on Institutions for Democratic and Decentralized Sustainable Mountain Development. A Mountain Forum e-consultation for the UNEP / Bishkek Global Mountain Summit. 23-28 April 2002.,

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 Record created 2011-12-21, last modified 2013-01-17