Combating Poverty through Better Use of Natural Resources: IASS, IFAD and Partners Publish New Study

Natural resources are coming under increasing pressure in the face of climate change and growing global demand for raw materials. The problem is exacerbated by the unequal access to resources in many parts of the world. This poses a threat to the livelihoods of poor people in rural areas in particular. Under these circumstances, responsible and pro-poor governance of natural resources is essential. This is particularly true in the context of climate change, because access to and the management of natural resources play a key role in adaptation strategies to climate change. IASS researchers Judith Rosendahl, Matheus Alves Zanella and Jes Weigelt stress this in their new study on Pro-poor Resource Governance under Changing Climates.

Discussion of legal documents in Bangladesh. Illegal land titles are a common problem. © Judith RosendahlDiscussion of legal documents in Bangladesh. Illegal land titles are a common problem. © Judith Rosendahl

A joint research project carried out by the IASS and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in 2012 and 2013 focused on these issues. In close collaboration with local civil society organisations, case studies were prepared in six countries: Bangladesch, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Ecuador and India. The studies followed a transdisciplinary approach, i.e., in addition to the researchers themselves, practitioners, policymakers and civil society actors were integrated into the research process from the outset. The case studies document and analyse examples of pro-poor governance of natural resources, paying particular attention to the impact of institutional change on livelihoods and the way in which climate change and other change processes increase the vulnerability of smallholders.

One of the core results of the study is that environmental as well as social factors related to how resources are governed influence how smallholders are vulnerable to climate change. Securing community land rights is one crucial element of adaptation strategies. But this must be accompanied by other measures if poverty is to be reduced. All of the case studies underline the importance of political processes for increasing the capacity of smallholder populations to adapt. However, all too often the needs of these populations are ignored in such processes. 

In addition to the English-language version of the study, French- and Spanish-language versions will soon be available.

Link:

10.03.2015