Monday, 23 May 2011

Natural resource management, livelihoods and the environment

Fish farm in peri-urban Kinshasa
Elections dominate news coming out of Congo. But this should not mask other pressing priorities, especially those relating to the environment and natural resource management. The economic future of Congo and the Congolese will depend on how the country’s natural heritage is managed. As most Congolese maintain vital economic relationships with their natural surroundings, realistic environmental policy-making is crucial.

The April 2011 Greenpeace report on REDD Bad Influence provides excellent analysis of how DRC is one piece in the struggle to regulate macro-level climate change.

A new book edited by Ansom and Marysee (unfortunately very expensive) takes an environmental livelihoods approach to understanding nature’s importance to ordinary people. Their research shows that ‘the poor’ are not marginalized victims but agents acting strategically to capitalize on new environmental opportunities.

Maintaining the fragile peace that Congolese and their international partners have tried to achieve will be increasingly contingent upon improving natural resource management, respecting a ‘rights & responsibilities’ logic.

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