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Tools to Support the Integration of Natural Resource Management into Local Government Decision Making

Natural Resources play an important role in economic growth and poverty reduction in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. In these countries, over 80% of the population live in rural areas, and depend on natural resources for their livelihood. Given their importance in these countries, the sustainable pro-poor management of natural resources provides a strong base for economic growth and pathways out of poverty.

Decentralization reforms are currently ongoing in the three countries. These reforms have transformed the institutional setup and conditions for natural resource management. Depending on when a country instituted the decentralization reforms, or when responsibilities for natural resource management were devolved to particular local governments, the capacity of institutions responsible for natural resource management varies. Within and across countries, some local institutions are nascent and still in their formative stages, some are in an intermediate stage, while others are fully mature and capacitated. The potential of local government institutions to promote sustainable natural resource management critically hinges on: (i) understanding the importance of a sustainable natural resource base to economic growth and poverty reduction, (ii) how natural resource management is integrated in the institutions, (iii) presence of appropriate and responsive institutions, (iv) suitable capacity, planning and implementation tools, and financing instruments/mechanisms that are in sync or tailored to the maturity level of the institutions.

The objective of this assignment was to explore and gain understanding as to what approaches are currently used by LGs to support to support natural resource management and to identify mechanisms that would ensure natural resource management is fully integrated into the planning and implementation processes of local government in the above three countries. This included capturing (where available) and mainstreaming indigenous knowledge into conventional natural resource management initiatives. It was expected that this effort will foster improved local governance, and enhanced efficiency of local level institutions to promote sustainable natural resource management.

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