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Assessing equity and power imbalances in landscape governance: Lessons from implementing integrated landscape approaches in southern Zambia

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Presented by Freddie Siangulube (COLANDS PhD candidate (University of Amsterdam)) at CIFOR-ICRAF Science Week 2023, 8 May 2023

Assessing equity and power imbalances in landscape governance: Lessons from implementing integrated landscape approaches in southern Zambia

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Assessing equity and power
imbalances in landscape
governance
Lessons from implementing integrated
landscape approaches in southern Zambia
Freddie Siangulube
PhD Candidate
University of Amsterdam
What is the problem?
The persistence of unequal access to
natural resources can often be
attributed to unequal power structures
masked in:
• ‘Participatory and engagement’
governance (Nelson and Agrawal
2008; Mugo et al. 2020)
• Deliberative democracy spaces
(Martin and Rutagarama 2012)
employed in most MSPs
Development
Agriculture
Land/
settlements
Livestock /
grazing
Water
Equity in the ‘presence’ of multiple problems and limited solution
“The need to negotiating power imbalances”
Photo credit:Freddie Siangulube & GodwinChiwiya, Kalomo District
Research focus
in the context of equity and
power imbalance
Understanding governance
arrangements in Kalomo District
for the management of Natural
Resources:
• Legal pluralism
• Several centres of decision
making e.g. District
Committees, authority of the
Chiefs and community
structures
Assess the forms,
levels and spaces of
power in Kalomo
District,
1
Investigate the
distribution of power
among actors
2
Examine the
influence of power
holders on decisions
about access to, and
utilisation of, natural
resources
3
‘Power Cube’ framework - ‘three faces of power’
• The exercise of power depends on the forms
of power and is largely “shaped by the
institutions and social structures through
which people make sense of their reality”,
which can create ‘winners and losers’ and
escalate or diffuse social inequalities
(Quintslr et al. 2021, p. 865).
• Power can be formulated in terms of actor-
centredness to accept or resist a status quo
Power analysis allowed identifying
visible, hidden and invisible power
Source: Lukes 2021; Gaventa 2019
Example from Kalomo
District Unravelling power
differences among different
actors:
 Traditional leader
 Private sector
 Government agencies
 Livestock farmers
 NGOs
 Donor agencies Source: Siangulube et al. 2022

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Assessing equity and power imbalances in landscape governance: Lessons from implementing integrated landscape approaches in southern Zambia

  • 1. Assessing equity and power imbalances in landscape governance Lessons from implementing integrated landscape approaches in southern Zambia Freddie Siangulube PhD Candidate University of Amsterdam
  • 2. What is the problem? The persistence of unequal access to natural resources can often be attributed to unequal power structures masked in: • ‘Participatory and engagement’ governance (Nelson and Agrawal 2008; Mugo et al. 2020) • Deliberative democracy spaces (Martin and Rutagarama 2012) employed in most MSPs Development Agriculture Land/ settlements Livestock / grazing Water
  • 3. Equity in the ‘presence’ of multiple problems and limited solution “The need to negotiating power imbalances” Photo credit:Freddie Siangulube & GodwinChiwiya, Kalomo District
  • 4. Research focus in the context of equity and power imbalance Understanding governance arrangements in Kalomo District for the management of Natural Resources: • Legal pluralism • Several centres of decision making e.g. District Committees, authority of the Chiefs and community structures Assess the forms, levels and spaces of power in Kalomo District, 1 Investigate the distribution of power among actors 2 Examine the influence of power holders on decisions about access to, and utilisation of, natural resources 3
  • 5. ‘Power Cube’ framework - ‘three faces of power’ • The exercise of power depends on the forms of power and is largely “shaped by the institutions and social structures through which people make sense of their reality”, which can create ‘winners and losers’ and escalate or diffuse social inequalities (Quintslr et al. 2021, p. 865). • Power can be formulated in terms of actor- centredness to accept or resist a status quo Power analysis allowed identifying visible, hidden and invisible power Source: Lukes 2021; Gaventa 2019
  • 6. Example from Kalomo District Unravelling power differences among different actors:  Traditional leader  Private sector  Government agencies  Livestock farmers  NGOs  Donor agencies Source: Siangulube et al. 2022
  • 7. Manifestation of forms and levels of power among actors Where does the real power lie? An example of hidden power (countervailing): Silent boycotts by women on water resource decisions Photo credit: Godwin Chiwiya, Field Assitant
  • 8. Conclusion Inequity and power imbalances in natural resource governance remain a significant stumbling block to implementation of equitable and inclusive landscape governance. But that can be confronted through ILAs, including developing tools to monitor power imbalances and their impacts.

Editor's Notes

  1. It is often assumed that equitable participation and collective engagement of various stakeholders in decision-making will improve legitimacy, enhance public acceptability and empower vulnerable groups. However, in practice, government agencies and civil society organisations may involve local stakeholders in decision-making processes without addressing the root causes of inequality or providing sufficient funding to support local actions.
  2. Visible power often shows up in statutory structures or formal arrangements (e.g through established laws). Hidden power is the power to manipulate collective decisions, for instance, by withholding particular issues from the agenda, a ‘divide and rule’ strategy through donations or corruption, or granting access to resources to people affiliated to the same political party and withholding such access to those favouring another party. Invisible power is hard to uncover but refers to subtle forms of resistance against forms of domination and another aspect that political ecology considers important to consider and helps position in a theoretical perspective.
  3. In this study, I found that traditional leaders have considerable influence on access to land, forest and water resources but that development decisions were mainly determined by governance agencies. Livestock farmers were perceived to have considerable influence on grazing and pasture management. An interesting aspect of his research was that it revealed a distinction between visible, hidden, and invisible power. This distinction is important from a political ecology perspective. Hidden power is the power to manipulate collective decisions, for instance, by withholding particular issues from the agenda, a ‘divide and rule’ strategy through donations or corruption, or granting access to resources to people affiliated to the same political party and withholding such access to those favouring another party. Invisible power is hard to uncover but refers to subtle forms of resistance against forms of domination and another aspect that political ecology considers important to consider and helps position in a theoretical perspective.