Decentralized Natural Resources Management Pilot Project (NRM )Starting 2014 – 2017

Decentralized Natural Resources Management Pilot Project (NRM )Starting 2014 - 2017

Introduction and Background information

Natural resources are the foundations for development of Somaliland underpinning livelihoods, food security, trade and employment. Lack of effective governance structures and capacity made the efforts to combat illegal and unsustainable resource exploitation a difficult task. The effects of climate change, increased population pressures, land degradation and urbanization imposed further pressures on the management of natural resources. Natural resources depletion is exacerbated by conflict and in turn feeds into the cycle of insecurity and violence as clans and communities clash over access to the diminishing natural resource base of pasture, water and forest resources. This applies to areas populated by traditional mobile pastoralists and those with settled agro-pastoral communities and spills over into the urban setting. Within urban areas, commodities coming from the rural pastoral and agro-pastoral areas form a very significant input into the local economy.

Conflict and environmental degradation, with their negative effects on each other, contribute to further poverty and, faced with the limited prospects for livelihood diversification, pushes people out of the rural pastoral and agro-pastoral economies and into the urban areas in search of employment or food aid.

To address issues underpinning the NRM sector, Somaliland government through ILO JPLG, developed a programme to support decentralized natural resources management. This aims to achieve as wide coverage in Somaliland as resources and conditions allow with a comprehensive approach to rendering local governments as credible and professional service providers, increasing public investment in basic services, and strengthening civic awareness and participation in local decision-making and development. The approach pursued comprises: (i) supporting policy and legal frameworks for decentralized NRM enabling local governments, communities and other local actors (ii) institutionalizing local governance systems and processes, vertical and horizontal intergovernmental linkages (iii) development and implementation of service delivery models (SDM) as basis for experimenting the practicality of delivering NRM services and goods through local governments. The NRM Interventions attach emphasis on local governance and good governance, employment through natural resources, principles of conflict resolution, transparency, accountability, and participation and engagement of women and youth throughout.

Rationale for NRM Decentralization in Somaliland 

Conceptually, decentralization is looked at within an administrative and political context. In this respect, decentralization is often viewed as the transfer of legal and political authority from the central government and its agencies to the field organizations and institutions. This transfer should include the authority to plan, make decisions and manage public affairs by agencies other than the central government.

The rationale for the quest of a decentralized environmental management framework revolves around the view that failure of the state in environment and natural resource management is due to failure to disperse decision making powers and ownership of natural resources to the grassroots.

Thus, decentralization" refers to how the state structure allows sharing of power between the Centre and the sub-national units of the state and other organizations within society.

It is widely admitted that decentralized structures facilitate genuine democratic participation, empower grassroots and channel their input constructively into national development efforts. The

World Bank has recognized the importance of decentralization in Sub-Saharan Africa and categorized the objectives of a decentralization programme as:

  1. To maintenance of law and order at the local level;
  2. To foster democratic, and popular participation; and
  • To promote rapid social and economic development.

In absence of effective decentralization strategy for natural resource governance, communities that largely rely on natural resources are faced with a number of challenges such as loss of biodiversity, land degradation, and natural resource use conflicts.

The decentralization strategy of natural resource management is the main tool that the government of Somaliland through the Ministry of Environment and Rural Development (MoERD) will use to ensure good local governance and improvement in service delivery where natural resources available at central and local government are utilized effectively and equitably for ensuring development. It will be the basis for identifying deliverables under the Performance Contracting Mechanism and individual Annual Performance Appraisal in natural resource management. Decentralization calls for creation of appropriate institutions with clear mandates and roles.

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