Linkages between environment management and conflict management: Experiences from Northern Kenya

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There have been long standing concerns about the environmental status of rangelands in northern Kenya. Various proposals have been advanced linking improved resource management with improved human welfare. We briefly describe how early efforts at improving resource management and welfare were not successful due to a lack of community involvement in program design. We then focus on two important findings that emerged when development efforts actively included community involvement. First, there are multiple definitions of the community that uses a resource, and these definitions can be both nested and overlapping. Working at multiple levels and in multiple sites was critical for overall program success. Second, what began as an effort to manage resources evolved to include efforts to manage conflict. We conclude by noting there are signs that reduced insecurity has established the preconditions under which sustainable resource management can be accomplished.


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Conflict resolution, Conflict, Natural resource management, Community management, Community participation, Conflict management, Kenya, Ecosystem


Paper presented at the conference Reconciling Rural Poverty Reduction with Renewable Resource Conservation: Identifying Relationships and Remedies, 1-3 May 2003, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York