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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

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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