The state and rangeland management: Creation and erosion of pastoral institutions in Mali
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The paper reviews the process of establishing pastoral organizations in Mali in the Mopti region under a government programme supported by the World Bank and other donors. Reference is also made to a recent assessment of pastoral institution building in Mauritania, Niger and Senegal; among these four countries pastoral institution building had in fact received the lowest priority in Mali. The paper is concerned with state-sponsored pastoral organizations, but also refers to constraints faced by customary institutions concerned with resource management in the same areas as state-sponsored associations. It deals mostly with natural resource management, such as operation of water and land rights, water-point management, grazing schemes, bushfire control, sand-dune stabilization, tree protection and planting, as well as resolution of resource-use conflict and animal husbandry measures with a bearing on grazing management. Several conditions need to be satisfied from the national to local levels to create an enabling environment for pastoral institution building; these include legal recognition of pastoral associations to function as autonomous bodies, enforcement of effective property rights, and, at local level, the existence of mutual respect and confidence between staff and pastoralists. The paper describes progress with forming pastoral associations, lessons learned from the projects, and concludes that the state and the project administration in Mali have never made a concerted attempt to mobilize the pastoral communities, and in the future need to place greater stress on the policy, institutional and infrastructural framework for human resource development.