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How have decentralised natural resource management institutions evolved over 20 years? Summary of findings from Mali, Niger, Sudan and Ethiopia

Two decades ago, legal provisions gave local institutions rights to manage natural resources in four dryland African countries: Mali, Niger, Sudan and Ethiopia. This report examines how resilient such decentralised institutions have been, under the rapidly changing circumstances of the past two decades, and notes common lessons learned. These include: local management rights remain largely unsupported by government. The state has further complicated land management challenges by allocating large holdings to investors. Changing politics, insecurity, demographic shifts and climate have exacerbated stresses, many of which have distant root causes. Neighbouring conflicts have driven migration by people and animals. Increasing wealth inequalities and shifting livelihood strategies have eroded farming and herding communities’ common interests.

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