Sheet 3: Participation in integrated natural resource management projects: Reflections from North Darfur – Sudan

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By Hassan Alattar Satti, Helen Young and Aziza Mohammed Adam

introduction

The natural environment is an integral part of the life and livelihoods of people in the Darfur region. Whether it is materials for housing, fuel for cooking, water for domestic use, or natural resources essential for agriculture and pastoralism, natural resources play a fundamental and universal role in life and people’s livelihoods. The livelihoods that depend on natural resources are mainly agricultural and pastoral production, and the wide range of jobs associated with these livelihoods, such as the provision of services or markets and trade. The integrated management of natural resources (INRM) mediates the rights of different users, their interrelationships and their various and often complementary uses of natural resources. INRM affects the socio-ecological system at large: the sustainability of natural resources, the resilience of livelihood systems, the peaceful co-management of natural resources, and the mitigation of competition and conflict over natural resources.

This dissertation explores community perspectives on INRM and aims to understand the incentives of users of natural resources in Taadoud II areas to participate in INRM interventions. The aim was to understand what shapes these incentives and how communities perceive the way forward to achieve the INRM goals. In addition, it highlights the link between changing livelihoods and INRM interventions.

Summary of study methods: The methodology included fieldwork in two watersheds in North Darfur State in February 2021 by a team of two field researchers supported by an international consultant. The watersheds were the watersheds of Wadi Jaldama and Wadi Abuhamra. Four days were spent by Taadoud Feinstein’s team in each watershed.

Limitations of the study: Fieldwork was limited to one state (North Darfur) as security incidents led to the cancellation of fieldwork in a second state. The COVID-19 regulations meant that the international consultant could not go to the field and restricted field work (for example, no focus group discussions (FGs) and only remote one-on-one interviews were conducted).

In summary, the brief begins by reviewing important lessons from past policies and interventions related to local governance and natural resource management. Based on this learning, Taadoud II developed a more holistic approach to support both livelihoods and INRM, based on watershed targeting combined with operations research. The brief then describes the community’s perspectives on economic and peacebuilding incentives to participate in INRM. The results also cover community views on how to implement effective INRM approaches and on who should be involved to achieve the goals of “integrated” NRM. The discussion goes through three main points:

  • The overriding importance of both economic livelihood gains and re-establishing relationships among natural resource users as incentives to participate in INRM interventions;

  • The importance of inclusiveness and integration in relation to restoring relationships between users and communities in watersheds, how this can be further strengthened, and who should be involved in INRM to achieve the goals integrated NRM;

  • The main governance issues that continue to undermine equitable access to natural resources and the perspectives of local producers (users of natural resources) on strengthening the GRN Taadoud II approach.


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