Conflict management for multiple resource users in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist contexts
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Livelihood systems in rural social formations often involve the utilization of natural resources for multiple purposes (e.g. wetlands which are used for both cropping and for grazing) or by more than one user (as when rangelands are grazed by different herd owners or groups of herd owners). Disputes or conflicts are common in these situations, and institutional frameworks for resolving disputes and managing conflict have usually evolved in response. In a development context, where terms of access to and control over resources are often altered, conflict management and resolution have become increasingly central. This paper addresses these issues in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist contexts. The causes of these conflicts (e.g. multiple users and multiple uses) are discussed along with innovative approaches to prevention, management (e.g. contingency models) and resolution (e.g. building local mediation capabilities). The author builds a case for social change, as a consequence of development efforts, to be used as a potentially constructive force enabling a deeper understanding of the organizational identities and relations within a social context.