On the Promises of Devolution: Overcoming the Constraints of Natural Resource Management in a Village in Tanzania
Andersen, S. K
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This article is concerned with the hypothesis that devolution, understood as entrusting local government with significant domains of autonomous discretionary power, will lead to the equitable and efficient management of natural resources. The paper focuses on the three domains of power conceived by some theorists as critical in the management of natural resources, namely making rules, implementing rules, and resolving disputes in relation to these rules. Based on a case study of a village in Tanzania, the article identifies some of the main constraints the village council encounters concerning the efficient and equitable management of common lands, and discusses whether devolution is the solution for overcoming these constraints. It is concluded that the role and functions of higher levels of government in decentralised natural resource management are essential and require due consideration beyond the point of arguing for more autonomy to local government.