Bolwig, Simon Cold-Ravnkilde, Signe Marie Rasmussen, Kjeld Breinholt, Tine Mortimore, Michael
DIIS Report 2009:07
The report 'Achieving Sustainable Natural Resource Management in the Sahel after the Era of Desertification' was written by Simon Bolwig, Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Kjeld Rasmussen, Tine Breinholt, and Michael Mortimore as part of a study commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. It reviews the experience gained through Danish and international research and development projects within the field of natural resource management (NRM) over the last ten years in the Sahel and addresses economic, institutional, governance, gender and environmental aspects of sustainable NRM. The main themes emerging from the review concern (1) the functioning of the agricultural market, the significance of market failures and the regulation of markets to mitigate adverse social and environmental effects, (2) the relationship between NRM, land tenure security and property right regimes, (3) the complexities of modern (central and decentralized) and customary institutions involved in the NRM domain, and (4) the environmental and climate change trends observed in the past and foreseen for the future. For each theme the report reviews recent findings and discusses how these may (or should) affect policies of relevance to NRM. Relative to past policies and practices, these findings do suggest revisions: first, the need for a strengthened focus on market functioning and on increasing the economic and social benefits to the rural poor from participation in NRM-based value chains; second, the need to adjust policies on land tenure (including land titling), decentralization and NRM institution building; third, national strategies and action plans for combating desertification and adapting to climate change should take account of the fact that the Sahel has generally been 'greening' over the last 25 years, and that the climate change outlook may not be as bleak as often presumed.