Governance // Natural Resource Governance at Multiple Scales in the Hindu Kush Himalaya
By Susan Sellars-Shrestha, Amy Sellmyer and Christopher. Human efforts to address poverty, enhance welfare, and conserve natural resources and the environment often fail because of faulty governance and implementation. Improvements in governance are consistently viewed as means to address the failures of sustainable development and natural resource management. Indeed, calls by international development organizations, donors, and researchers for decentralization, stronger development institutions, better alignment of private and social incentives, and the protection of ecologies are, at their roots, also calls for improving governance. Effective governance enables and, where appropriate, sets limits on permissible actors and actions, decisions, and decision makers. It helps determine whether and to what extent actions related to development and conservation programmes match the design of such programmes, and their appropriateness in relation to local cultural and ecological contexts.
Answers to what constitutes effective governance become particularly complex in rapidly changing contexts such as those of South Asia and, in particular, the Hindu Kush Himalaya – the focus of this study. In such contexts, governance arrangements have to be instituted with particular care and with an eye to long-term processes so as to reduce the likelihood of perverse outcomes. The empirical focus of this study is on the governance processes that characterize the use of key natural resources such as river waters, transboundary protected areas, irrigation, forest resources, and rangelands. An examination of resource governance highlights governance actors and mechanisms from across the social and political spectrums, their interests, and decision processes. It also brings to the forefront the importance of coordination across scales levels, and the interests and actions of multiple stakeholders that invariably shape governance outcomes.
The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan – and based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Globalization and climate change have an increasing influence on the stability of fragile mountain ecosystems and the livelihoods of mountain people. ICIMOD aims to assist mountain people to understand these changes, adapt to them, and make the most of new opportunities, while addressing upstream-downstream issues.
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