Environmental governance and decentralization

Authored by: Robert Fisher

Routledge Handbook of the Environment in Southeast Asia

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  September  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415625210
eBook ISBN: 9781315474892
Adobe ISBN: 9781315474885


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A major policy trend in environmental management in Southeast Asia has been a shift from centralized management of environment and natural resources towards more decentralized forms of governance. This trend has often taken the form of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM), but has also included devolved responsibility and sometimes devolved decision-making power to lower levels of government and administration such as districts and provinces. There is a great deal of evidence that such decentralized approaches can have benefits for conservation, and somewhat less evidence of real contributions to improved livelihoods and poverty reduction. However, despite formal policy changes, much of the shift has existed as little more than rhetoric and genuine decentralization and devolution have rarely occurred. This chapter presents an overview of the decentralization movement in the region, exploring the dynamics of change and persistence.

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