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Evolving Customary Institutions in the Drylands: An opportunity for devolved natural resource governance in Kenya?

Improved governance of natural resources is
crucial for building climate resilient livelihoods and
economies in Africa’s drylands. This paper looks
at why the authority and capacity of customary
natural resource management institutions has been
weakened, and how this impacts on resource
governance and climate resilience. Our case study
looks at a new hybrid form of customary/formal
institution that is emerging as a response to the
stagnation of development and increasing conflict
around resource access. The paper demonstrates
that legitimising and supporting customary institutions
can be a more successful and sustainable approach
to addressing the ‘drylands development deficit’
than projects that focus on technical fixes or work in
parallel to customary institutions.

Publication information

  • IIED code: 10076IIED
  • Published: Apr 2014 - IIED
  • Area: Kenya, Africa
  • Theme: Climate change
  • ISBN: 978-1-78431-042-4
  • Language: English

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Daoud Tari and James Pattison, 2014. Evolving Customary Institutions in the Drylands: An opportunity for devolved natural resource governance in Kenya?. IIED Issue Paper. IIED, London.
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The Kenya Adaptation Consortium (ADA) is demonstrating that local climate adaptation planning, supported by county government-managed devolved funds, informed by community priorities and enhanced by climate information services, renders significant benefits for people in poor and marginalised households in the most drought prone areas.

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Responding to climate change in Kenya by strengthening dryland governance and planning

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