Hari Dhungana: Reframing contestations over environmental resources: the themes of social justice in community forestry in Nepal
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Hari Dhungana: Reframing contestations over environmental resources: the themes of social justice in community forestry in Nepal

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Presentation at the STEPS Conference 2010 - Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a new politics of environment, development and social justice ...

Presentation at the STEPS Conference 2010 - Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a new politics of environment, development and social justice

http://www.steps-centre.org/events/stepsconference2010.html

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Hari Dhungana: Reframing contestations over environmental resources: the themes of social justice in community forestry in Nepal Hari Dhungana: Reframing contestations over environmental resources: the themes of social justice in community forestry in Nepal Presentation Transcript

  • Reframing contestations over environmental resources: the themes of social justice in community forestry in Nepal
    Hari Dhungana
    College of Development Studies/Purvanchal University
    &
    ForestAction www.forestaction.org
    Kathmandu
    suhit@wlink.com.np
  • Presentation Outline
    Framework of understanding the contestation over natural resources:
    Q: “How the claims over natural resources are framed, in the context of political transition & widespread violence?”
    patterns of claiming natural resources
    Legitimation of the claims
    Basics: Evolution & the state of CF in Nepal
    Three strands of thinking—development, politics, and environmentalism—converge to form the “social justice” problematic
    Pluralist conception of SJ & “equity triad”
    ‘Soft’ versus radicalised constructions of contestation
    Patterns of contestation
    Conclusions
  • Claiming environmental resources in violent context
  • Political discourse on social justice
    The “modern” state imagined as a “social justice community”
    The founding of “modern” state used a cut-off date for the construction of historical injustice—that justifies:
    Secessionism
    Redress for historical appropriations by state/ dominant groups—of land, water, forest
    Discursive privileging of the masses as a compulsion of electoral politics
    Categorizations of peoples and places—link of a social group to a space since immemorial past
  • Developmental/environmental
    Developmentalist attitude to SJ
    Supplying people with ‘basic needs’
    people’s participation
    Empowerment of backward groups
    Poverty reduction—securing a minimum standard of living
    Forest conservation policies
    Disfavour to ‘fortress conservation’ model
    Local people’s rights over resources
    Livelihood benefits—one key priority,
    Harmonisation of environmental & developmentalist thinking
  • Understanding Social Justice
    Plural Conceptions of SJ
    Economic-redistributive
    Political-participative (associational)
    Cultural-recognitive
    “Equity triad”—from Osterle (2002)
    Resources (what to be distributed?)
    Recipients (between whom?)
    Principles (how?)
  • CF in Nepal: brief outline
    Before 1950: patrimonial appropriation of forest/land: grants to client groups/govt. Employees & nobilities
    1950s—brought under eminent domain through nationalisation
    Widespread destruction and inability of DOF
    1970s onwards
    Theory of Himalayan degradation—Eckholm
    Ecological doom
    Harmonise international forestry policy (donor strategy) with development and response to doom
    (within DOF)—policing forest infeasible by DoF itself
    Extensive mobilisation of resources—policy making to implementation
    Government forest is “handed over” to CFUGs
    14,439 CFUGs
    32% of population: 1,659,775 households
    25% forest areas: 1,229,669 hectares
  • CF handover
  • Existing framework of assessing CF
    Aimed primarily at
    Halting deforestation
    Enhancement of forest stock
    Poverty reduction—securing access to forest products
    Inclusion of women and marginalised groups into forest user group committees
    Positive linkage with agriculture—ecosystem services
  • Solidarities at work (modified after Gyawali)
  • Patterns of contestation
  • Few points
    Forest conservation/management tends to be seen in ‘soft’ discourse
    Politicisation—movement demands & political discourse important
    Forest provides important symbolic & material basis to articulate political demands
    Frameworks of legitimation –convenience of stakeholder groups
    Existence of multiple actors & multiple legitimacies
    Key areas to look into:
    Land rights versus forest rights
    Ethnic autonomy and local people
    Negotiating rights under current tranisition