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Can research help bridge the gap between local rules and national legal frameworks? The case of local conventions for natural resource management in the Sahel Lorenzo Cotula

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Document begins: Can research help bridge the gap between local rules and national legal frameworks? The case of local conventions for natural resource management in the Sahel Lorenzo Cotula1 Introduction In recent years, a growing body of literature has explored the linkages between research and policy processes - particularly how the former can feed into the latter. As a result, earlier assumptions about "benevolent" policy makers waiting for research findings and ensuing policy recommendations to orient their strategic choices have given way to a more sophisticated understanding of the policy process (from formulation to implementation) and of the different factors affecting it. This paper aims to contribute to the debate, focusing on the way and extent to which research can help bridge the gap between local rules and practices on the one hand and national legislative frameworks on the other. In order to do this, it considers the example of "local conventions" in the Sahel - sets of rules and institutions for natural resource management negotiated and agreed by local stakeholders. The paper draws on the experience of several projects implemented by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and by a range of partner institutions from across West ...

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