This book queries the state and effect of global decentralization movement through the study of natural resource decentralizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Since the mid-1980s, most developing countries launched decentralization reforms. At least sixty claim to be devolving some natural resource management functions. These reforms are lauded for their potential to increase efficiency, equity, democracy and resource sustainability in the local arena. But what is taking place in the name of decentralization? Is the discourse on decentralization being codified in law? Are the laws being translated into practice? What are the effects of the reforms that are taking place? Natural resource decentralizations provide powerful insights into these questions-for natural resource decentralizations and for decentralizations writ large.
Natural resources are a major point of conflict and cooperation between local people and national governments and elites. They are an important source of both national wealth and local livelihoods and, hence, a historical a point of struggle between rural people and elites. As such, they are a lens into the contentious relations and negotiations that constitute decentralization reforms.