Transforming local natural resource conflicts to cooperation in a changing climate: Bangladesh and Nepal lessons

Sultana, Parvin, Thompson, Paul M., Paudel, Naya Sharma, Pariyar, Madan and Rahman, Mujibur (2019) Transforming local natural resource conflicts to cooperation in a changing climate: Bangladesh and Nepal lessons. Climate Policy, 19 (sup1) . S94-S106. ISSN 1469-3062 [Article] (doi:10.1080/14693062.2018.1527678)

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Since the 1990s, climate change impact discourse has highlighted potential for large scale violent conflicts. However, the role of climate stresses on local conflicts over natural resources, the role of policies and adaptation in these conflicts, and opportunities to enhance cooperation have been neglected. These gaps are addressed in this paper using evidence from participatory action research on 79 cases of local collective action over natural resources that experience conflicts in Bangladesh and Nepal. Climate trends and stresses contributed to just under half of these conflict cases. Nine factors that enable greater cooperation and transformation of conflict are identified. Participatory dialogue and negotiation processes, while not sufficient, changed understanding, attitudes and positions of actors. Many of the communities innovated physical measures to overcome natural resource constraints, underlying conflict, and/or institutional reforms. These changes were informed by improving understanding of resource limitations and indigenous knowledge. Learning networks among community organizations
encouraged collective action by sharing successes and creating peer pressure. Incentives for cooperation were important. For example, when community organizations formally permitted excluded traditional resource users to access resources, those actors complied with rules and paid towards management costs. However, elites were able to use policy gaps to capture resources with changed characteristics due to climate change. In most of the cases where conflict persisted, power, policy and institutional barriers prevented community-based organizations from taking up potential adaptations and innovations. Policy frameworks recognizing collective action and supporting flexible innovation in governance and adaptation would enable wider transformation of natural resource conflicts into cooperation.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Flood Hazard Research Centre
Item ID: 25538
Notes on copyright: ***Published version © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License . *** Final Accepted version: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Climate Policy on 09/10/2018, available online:
Depositing User: Josie Joyce
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2018 13:00
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:58

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