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16215: Decentralization and biodiversity conservation

The question of whether decentralization fosters rural development and whether it does so in ways that are environmentally and socially sustainable, was the topic of a World Bank research project, " Decentralization, Fiscal Systems, and Rural Development. " This report resulted from that prior investigation. It contains 10 country studies, each including two or three best-practice case studies. Analyses from 32 projects shed light on the process by which central public authorities redistribute rights and duties to local or private ones; the implications of this process are given for the conservation of natural ecosystems and biodiversity. The authors conclude that it is hard to generalize about what will or will not work in rural development or conservation for any given location because, for one, the costs of biodiversity conservation are often borne locally, whereas its benefits may accrue to regional, national, and global levels of society. Moreover, ecosystems vary greatly in their ability to yield local revenue or to support alternative land use, sustainable or otherwise. To maximize the benefit and minimize the risk of decentralization, the authors emphasize local participation, capacity building, incentive structures, conditional subsidies, appropriate enforcement, stakeholder forums and ecoregional executives, and a clear and supportive framework for conservation built by policies, laws, and institutions that create incentives at the local level to harmonize development and conservation and so reduce the need for enforcement.

World Bank
Authors Keywords
Lutz, Ernst; Caldecott, Julian; environmental issues; rural sector; decentralization; environmental management; biological diversity; non-government organization (NGO);
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