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The Gestion de Terroirs approach to rural development has emerged from the francophone West African states as an attempt to improve upon existing approaches to local rural development. In terms of its introduction worldwide, this has happened only to a limited degree, with trials in some areas of Latin America. The approach certainly has a number of important similarities to the Sustainable Livelihoods approach being developed by DFID, but gestion de terroirs is relevant to the other people-centred approaches discussed here and elsewhere. Through a comparison between gestion de terroirs and the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach, one can uncover many potential lessons that the latter can learn, particularly as SLA begins to be applied in the field. This section includes a brief outline of the origins and evolution of the concept of gestion de terroirs, the major principles upon which the approach is based, and an examination of the different criticisms that have been levelled at the gestion de terroirs approach.

2.1 The Origins of Gestion de Terroirs

From the mid-1980s there was a general movement away from projects emphasising technical aspects of rural development within Sahélien West Africa. This can be partly attributed to the widespread recognition that these projects had failed to consider the potential impact of the agricultural intensification they tended to encourage on the environment and natural resources in the region. Gestion de Terroirs projects thus emerged from this realisation that existing rural development projects in the region were failing to make a significant impact upon rural poverty. There was a widespread awakening to the reality of the situation within the Sahel region, with an acknowledgement that the environmental problems in the region were dependent upon space, time, and various inter-connecting economic, demographic and institutional factors operating at national, local and international levels[19].

Therefore, it was generally accepted that these issues could only be adequately dealt with within the context of an approach that took into account these various dimensions. The GT approach is regarded as being an attempt to overcome the perceived weaknesses of other developmental approaches that had been operating in the region. Such weaknesses can be said to include[20]:

- A lack of clarity regarding the rights to use and control land and other resources, a confusion which lies predominantly in the conflict between government and traditional authority.

- The poor performance of large single-sector or integrated rural development projects in the 1970s and 80s.

- An over-extended state administration, which has led to increased pressure on Sahélien governments to decentralise services, etc.

- Adverse trends in the natural resource base, often as a result of agricultural intensification projects encouraged by IRD, etc.

The Gestion de Terroirs approach can be seen as an attempt to transfer the management of control and access to natural resources from the grasp of the central government to local people. However, the first generation of GT projects simply emphasised the technical aspects of environmental protection and natural resource management, while the priorities of the local populations continued to remain focused on other things, such as credit, water, health, etc[21]. A change can be seen in the early 1990s when the priorities of GT projects began to be drawn in line with those of the locals themselves. Thus, the project terms came to be increasingly defined by the rural communities involved in their implementation. However, it must be noted here that this still did not solve the problem of the transfer of power from government to local population, which has remained largely haphazard in most West African countries, leaving a state of confusion around the question of who controls access to natural resources. This could be seen as a continuation of the earlier conflict concerning traditional versus central government institutions in the management of natural resources, a conflict which was to be resolved through the implementation of GT approaches. (See Ribot[22] for a critique of the actual impact of decentralisation and participative rural development in West Africa).

The Gestion de Terroirs approach has focused on natural resource management at the village or community level through three inter-related systems[23]:

1. Technical projects, such as those related to the conservation of soil, etc.

2. Socio-economic factors related to the organisational structures within which people arrange their livelihood strategies.

3. The legal system and its administration, by which use rights are enforced in practice.

Tall’s[24] finding that there has been a rapid development of participatory approaches to natural resource management in the Sahel in the past decade appears to confirm the increased importance of taking into account these various dimensions of rural development.

The GT approach has evolved significantly from simply being one of pilot programmes being initiated in order to tackle local problems of environmental degradation, to including general principles of community involvement in natural resource management and the developments of ‘terroirs’. The approach has also been gradually seeping through to the level of government, aided largely by the current widespread decentralisation of government within most of francophone West Africa. The World Bank, United Nations Development Program and several small NGOs have been big supporters of GT projects, seeing them as the answer to the problems of poverty reduction and development within the Sahel region of Africa. Given that, however, it must be remembered that GT is not without its critics and that there is often a major gap between the rhetoric of such agencies and the reality on the ground. These two issues will be further explored later.

2.2 So, What is Gestion de Terroirs?

A terroir is regarded as a socially and geographically defined space within which communities’ resources and associated rights are located in order to satisfy their needs. The GT approach associates groups and communities with a traditionally recognised land area, aiding these communities in building skill levels and developing local institutions for the implementation of sustainable management plans[25]. Lund[26] confirms this when he notes that Gestion de Terroirs promises to integrate the social and physical environment, from a village perspective. Thus, the 1994 UNSO[27] report comments that gestion de terroirs involves the wresting of control over resources from the hands of the state, placing them in local people’s power, thus allowing them to be negotiated at a village level. Hence, one of the major differences between GT and SLA is that GT focuses on the terroir and SLA focuses on the people themselves and is as such not limited to particular geographical spaces. At the same time, the Gestion de terroir approach simultaneously uses local empowerment and capacity building to respond to the immediate socio-economic needs of the local population as well as the long term problems of sustainable land and natural resource management, a feature it shares with SLAs.

The Gestion de Terroir approach can be defined as including some mixture of the following elements:

- Community-based natural resource management

- The empowerment of local communities

- Increasing local capacity, through training and education

- Stakeholder involvement - again leading to the empowerment of the community

- Flexibility and adaptability of both projects and funding - this is something which goes against the raison d’être of most funding agencies!

- Facilitating resource conflict resolution - through mutual management of resources

- Participatory appraisal - on-going assessment and feedback in the hope of preventative action and trouble-shooting

- Identifying local priority concerns (through involving them in processes of planning and development as well as in outcomes). Within this is the incorporation of local tacit knowledge in planning and development.

- Decision-making by the local community - having an active part in testing new systems, identifying problems, researching solutions

Figure 2.1: Meeting of several village groups at the project offices to discuss the status of the project; Widou Thiengoly, Senegal[28]

Photo: I. Balderi

The aim of the GT approaches is noted by the World Bank[29] as being to tap into social capital through a participatory approach to local rural development. This involves the devolution of decision-making powers from the state and NGO staff to the level of the community or village.

There are three main approaches generally applied in the use of Gestion de Terroirs methodologies[30]:

(1) Natural Resources Management (NRM) approach - Focusing on the physical improvement of the natural resource base through existing institutions. A shortcoming of this is that such projects tend to overlook the broader socio-economic needs of the community. This is all too often the main tool used and is subject to frequent and heated criticism.

(2) Institution building approach - Where the focus is on creating and supporting community-based institutions. As such, there are two phases to this approach. Phase 1: establishing and training village GT committees, who then devise a local development plan. Phase 2: implementing the plans through NRM. One problem of this approach, however, is that the capacity of these committees is often compromised by their lack of legitimacy as a result of their displacing existing traditional institutions and/or their non-democratic, non-representative character.

(3) Local development approach - An attempt to redress the problems of the former two approaches and which involves community organisation, the transfer of financial responsibility for rural land use planning to the committees, and these committees subsequently calling for tenders from local contractors in carrying out the project work. However, this approach also has pitfalls and risks, not least that the committee may often feel that it has to invest in capital-intensive projects in order to be seen as using the project money, and that the committees may come under intense pressure from the villagers to address immediate priorities at the expense of long-term projects.

2.3 Some Weaknesses associated with the GT approach to rural development

2.3.1 Relatively High Start-up Costs

A significant problem is the slow implementation and relatively high start-up costs that tend to be associated with GT projects, which leave donors wondering where their money is going to and villagers failing to see immediate benefits and therefore losing interest in the project and incentives to maintain the programs. This is also likely to be a problem for SL approaches, and it is difficult to know how best to overcome the problem of slow implementation as this is often the result of the time needed to retrain officials and to train the local populace, as well as to create or adapt village institutions. The World Bank “Findings” report[31] notes that there are several challenges associated with the community-based approaches to natural resource management, of which, gestion de terroirs is one. Thus, they, too, note that the implementation of these approaches tends to take up a significant amount of time, in order to build the capacity of villagers to manage their resources, through training. It must be acknowledged, however, that while this capacity-building is slow and sometimes costly to implement, it is likely that over time the costs associated with GT or SLAs will decrease to lower levels than other rural development approaches. Institutional learning such as is implemented within GT and SLAs is likely to seep down through the different generations, creating a knowledge base that will rely less and less on external support and ultimately lead to the sustainability that both approaches are aiming for.

The Findings report[32] also notes that it is existing government and donor processes that often hinder the empowerment of the villagers. Consequently, the report recommends the following:

- The simplification of diagnostic and planning processes
- A reduction of scope of activities financed
- The increased involvement of other agencies in implementation
- An increase in field teams to expand coverage
- Improved operation linkages with agricultural extension staff
- Greater delegation of financial management to local populations.

2.3.2 Maintaining Local Incentive

As regards the problem of maintaining local incentives to continue the programs while no immediate benefits are seen, some GT commentators have suggested that villagers be encouraged through programs of food for work. However, this is liable to create a range of new problems and probably is not a suitable long-term option. This is a problem that is likely to affect most people-centred approaches to rural development as they aim for local participation in projects.

2.3.3 The Policy Vacuum

There exists a policy vacuum around the GT approach. Governments in francophone West Africa who are verbally committed to the Gestion de Terroir approach have failed to have this commitment cemented in specific policy measures. As a result, GT programs tend to take place within an institutional vacuum. There is one exception to this: Burkina Faso, which has drawn GT into the law for the reorganisation of agrarian development (RAF) but this has been a limited process. SLA will also need to address this, particularly given that there is a general opinion within developing regions that new approaches are to a certain extent temporary and that within a few years someone else from the developed world will have come up with a whole new approach to rural development.

2.3.4 Local Institutions and Regional Specificity

Donnelly-Roarke[33], et al, in their research into the existence of local level institutions in Burkina Faso, note the country as having a history of informally recognising and including local institutions in governance and development. Thus, there are various forms of local institutions in place, of which, the Service Asset Management Groups (SAMs) are probably the most important. These are a synthesis of long-standing development committees and indigenous management councils. Their goal is for community growth, mixed with a healthy respect for the values of equity and solidarity. Thus, while most rural development projects have economic growth as their central objective, with the optimistic expectation that the poor will benefit from such growth, SAMs begin with equality and solidarity, and aim for growth through these twin principles.

There are four main dimensions of SAM groups:

1. Local institutional accountability
2. Local technical and intellectual capacity for management
3. Economic strategies based on existing local ecological and financial capital
4. Cultural and emotional resonance.

The example of Burkina Faso:

Burkina Faso (BF) is as yet the only West African country to encourage rural people to integrate their local institutions into the legal, economic and institutional framework of decentralisation. Thus, local populations are no longer simply passive beneficiaries of development projects, but rather are partners within the process. The rules by which the local institutions in BF operate are continuously changing, based as they are on cultural and spatial context. Within BF, it is recognised here that there remains strong belief in the traditional values of mutual solidarity, belonging and unity. Thus, it is on this value system that local institutions and local management of resources is able to build. In this paper a comparative study is carried out of the various local institutions in place in four provinces of BF. This clearly demonstrates the cultural dependence of these participatory approaches.

It is a warning, loud and clear, to other SL approaches that the institutionalisation of participation and local empowerment will be largely affected by the cultural context in which they are operating. Thus, the authors note that local level institutions within Yatenga province in BF tend to be plentiful in number, but are isolated and competitive as regards one another. This was seen by the researchers as being partly a result of the fact that many of the groups were performing similar and overlapping functions within a single village, thus leading to considerable competition to grab scarce financial resources. The groups in this area also tended to be exclusive in terms of their membership, limiting the possibility that they could become locally accountable.

Figure 2.2: Villagers responsible for a cereal bank in Yatenga Province, Burkina Faso[34]

Photo: C. Errath

At the same time, in Sissili province, local organisations were considerably less numerous but displayed a definite willingness to cooperate with one another. In this way, local participation practitioners are able to utilise these institutions to initiate different levels of consultation and analysis among rural communities, local groups and external stakeholders. In Houet province, there exist traditional chieftaincies, mutual aid institutions and religious organisations, with management committees having a far lower profile. Sanmatenga province, in stark contrast has seen a dense web of organisational activities, with members of one committee often having membership in other organisations, allowing for an effective and smooth flow of information, which has led to high levels of effective collaboration between the various institutions. Thus, external gestion des terroirs projects have had a greater ability to enact multi-sector participatory approaches in the province.

The authors discovered that local accountability and culture-based elements are those most likely to be absent from external donor projects. Their findings indicate that without these two institutional dimensions, the new organisations set-up by these projects will quickly disappear once the external funding dries up. This is something that has continually beset GT efforts, with many rural areas ending up with a plethora of local organisations and communities, many of which flounder as soon as the external funding disappears. This will also be important for SL approaches to take into account, as their very objective of sustainability must be found within the institutions with which one is attempting to introduce the concept at field level.

Research into the practical workings of the communes villageoises de gestion de terroirs (CVGTs) in Burkina Faso was carried out by Ouedraogo et al[35]. Within this it was noted that CVGTs can be viewed as pivotal organs around which institutional development initiatives are formed. The situation on the ground is, however, far more complex than a simple review of theory might suggest. As well as the traditional organisations existing prior to the GT project of the Burkinabé government, there are new organisations created by the projects under the new national law. Local institutions vary between regions and ethnicities. The authors specify a need to link traditional institutions and the newer ones created by the projects, in order to ensure there is no overlap of functions. One characteristic of the new institutions is their extreme diversity. The installation of specific action committees (SAC) was a pragmatic process; with SACs being created as need arose.

One constraint on institutional development was noted as being the absence of a ‘legal personality’ for these groups. This ‘legal personality’ is defined as the ability of a subject of a right to be a holder of this right and to be answerable to its obligations. This comes about either through law or through the will of all parties involved. Villages do not have a “moral personality”, thus the CVGTs that emanate from the villages do not have a “legal personality”. As such, the CVGTs cannot officially exercise the authority that may be necessary in practice.

However, CVGTs play an important role in the promotion of the economic and social welfare of the terroir. The only legal and administrative texts relevant to CVGTs are those in Burkina Faso’s RAF or agrarian reform law. Here the mission of the CVGTs is defined by reference to the competencies of the land committees created within the urban environment and by the heads of departments.

In practice, there has been a tendency for GT projects to ignore the complex social, economic, political and cultural realities in which their target populations exist, instead over focusing on the technical side of NRM. This is probably due, to a large degree, to the difficulties of intertwining cultural, social and economic realities into practical projects in the field.

2.3.5 The Gap between Rhetoric and Reality

The GT approach is rarely treated in practice as a planning process undertaken by local stakeholders, thus indicating a glaring hole between the rhetoric and the reality of Gestion de Terroir. Once again, there is a large probability that this is a result of the difficulties of implementing participation in planning and diagnostics on a practical level.

2.3.6 Lack of Long-Term Planning

The GT projects undertaken have also lacked an emphasis on developing long-term contingency plans to allow for changing circumstances. Given that sustainable rural development projects are most likely to be implemented in regions seeing a high degree of volatility - in weather conditions, conflicts, whether internal or external - it is unquestionable that this should be a priority for GT.

2.3.7 Local Power Relations

GT approaches have also been heavily criticised for failing to take into account the power relations that exist within any given community, a failure that can lead to local elites taking over from the central government in monopolising power in the region. Though, see the case of Burkina Faso, which has, through the Local Level Institutions (LLIs), managed to incorporate power relations into local rural development.[36]

2.4 Partnership Institutions

The question of whether partnership institutions can apply their negotiated rules is dealt with in Barraud[37]. They consider that the system of authority on which the announced rules of the partnership structures rest constitute, without doubt, the cornerstones of their effectiveness and their viability. The effective application of these rules depends on the legitimacy of the system of authority and the relationships between the partnerships and the different local powers.

The presence of these partnership structures, however, cannot alone fundamentally alter the existing power relations. They remained enclosed within a socio-political context and cannot prevent the opportunistic behaviour of farmers or herders having a privileged access to land and local power. These structures do not alter, either, the ambiguous role of the local administration, or the tendency for control by urban elites or foreign owners of plots of land from closing seasonal access to herders. Thus, the arbitration of the local administration in conflicts not resolved by these partnership institutions is necessary for the continued viability of these systems. This is yet more confirmation of the need for broad government and institutional support for gestion de terroirs and SL-type approaches. This is of central importance to the SL approaches, which are likewise limited in their ability to fundamentally alter power structures at a broader level unless there is some degree of political will to do so.

GT approaches have tended to be holistic, encompassing various economic sectors. However, government departments tend to run along very strict sectoral lines, with a tradition of limited communication and collaboration between sectors. This will have an enormous impact upon the capacity of GT projects and on the partnerships created by these projects. At the same time, this general criticism has been levelled at the supporters of SLAs, who have responded with the acknowledgement that such broad based holism may have to be rethought in some cases to deal with the practicalities of the situation in the field. However, it is likely that the presence of SL-type projects in one sector will spread across the board, leading to greater recognition and respect for the approaches, and perhaps facilitating the implementation of true multi-sectoral projects in the field.

Local communities often tend to lack institutions such as credit providers and it is essential that GT projects build on these in order to ensure that the community does not become simply a passive recipient of donor finances, but rather a more active provider, decision-maker and manager. It is essential that GT and SL type programs take this into account in their institutional capacity building in order to ensure real participation of the community in planning and implementation.

Within the Gestion de Terroir concept there is limited room for focusing on institutional issues or for influencing wider policy-making. Projects tend to operate relatively autonomously, although formally attached to government structures. Thus, there is limited connection between the macro and the micro. This is where the SL approach could have a significant impact in that the value-added of SLA is primarily noted as lying in its ability to connect the micro and macro levels.

Hussein[38] emphasises the importance of understanding the international context within which policy is formulated. Social dynamics and the roles of intermediaries must also be taken into account in formulating public policy on development and poverty reduction. Public policy should be regarded as an intermediary between the local and international context.

In this way it must be recognised by the GT and SL-type approaches that cultural context is central to the acceptance of their projects and will dictate the tools and methodologies used in rural development. For example, it is noted here that the history of ex-British and ex-French colonies has left them with different political and administrative systems. As a result, there is a clear contrast between Anglophone and francophone countries. At the same, there are similar challenges to be tackled within these countries, such as the management of common resources, issues around the mobility of pastoral livestock, etc. In this way, GT or SLAs must be able to provide a general framework for action with recognition of the need for local adaptability. This is further emphasised by Ribot[39] in his discussion of participation and decentralisation in practice. Thus, he notes that in NRM, participation and decentralisation are being pushed as the saviour of rural poverty reduction on the basis that they can increase rural equity, provide greater efficiency, benefit the environment and contribute to rural development. However, he underlines the evidence that these approaches can only offer these benefits to rural communities if there is commitment to a real devolution of power over natural resources to local populations and if there are already in place locally accountable authorities to whom these powers can be devolved. The reality, on the other hand, is that it is simply a restricted set of powers that are being devolved to locally accountable authorities, while at the same time most local authorities are upwardly accountable to the central state, rather than downwardly to local populations. He also notes the limits of such NRM programs in rigidly structured political administrations. So is he arguing that GT and SLAs must be more political? He then goes on to comment, “efforts at participatory rural development are often contradicted by political administrative laws that systematically disable accountable local representation”[40].

Another frequently cited critique of Gestion de Terroirs is that GT projects tend to be biased in favour of settled communities, often unable to accommodate the nomadic pastoralists common in the area who might use communal resources in a variety of ‘terroirs’. This is a central factor in the resolution of resource conflict and should be dealt with by the SLA’s conflict management sub-programme.

2.5 Practical Application of GT

There have been recent studies into the impact of GT on pastoral livelihoods within the Sahel and here I will briefly outline some. Drabo et al’s[41] study of Oudalan and Séno provinces in North Burkinabé assessed the involvement of pastoral groups in community organisations, and their role in the broader regional economy. Within these two provinces, operates the Burkinabé Sahel Program (PSB), financed by several donors in cooperation with the Burkinabé government. The program supports the population in a search for consensus amongst different users of resources for a sustainable development of this capital. The PSB approach works within the wider framework of the Programme National de Gestion de Terroirs (PNGT). Along with broader trends in the evolution of the GT approach to rural development, the PSB (Program Sahel Burkinabé) moved from an initial focus on the more technical aspects of development to a stronger focus on the institutional aspects of natural resource management. Particular emphasis was placed on questions of access, of exploitation of key natural resources, and on management devices. This strategy involved significant support for local social institutions. The role of the project itself was limited to facilitating a dialogue amongst the users of the resources through participative tools and interactive and iterative processes of communication.

Figure 2.3: Nomad Pastoralists from Mali arriving in Burkina Faso in search of temporary pastoral land

Photo: F. Botts

The inclusion of nomadic herders into the village groups from 1995 has led to a better understanding of the realities of the ‘terroir’ and a more supportive flexibility and dynamism within the project itself. Thus, there has been the establishment of a real partnership with the local population. As such, the approach has been based upon the following principles:

- Clarification of roles within the partnership
- A valuing of knowledge and particularly local know-how
- Understanding the different interests of the users of natural resources
- A search for consensus through dialogue and continued negotiation
- Continuous training
- An open approach (without predefined stages and outputs)
- A negotiated follow-up process (according to commonly agreed criteria),

All of which sit well within the general framework of Gestion de Terroirs and would probably do so, equally, within the Sustainable Livelihoods framework.

It is recognised here that the users of natural resources are not split into homogenous groups, and thus the participation of all is paramount to the success of the project. The authors acknowledge the importance of cultural context in their recognition that the PSB inherited a pre-existing organisational structure. In the case of the North Burkinabé, the institutional heritage is a mixture of ‘traditional’ and more ‘modern’ organisations. Politico- religious affairs have traditionally fallen under the domain of the chieftaincy, which is itself controlled by the local elite (Peuhls/Touaregs) who traditionally administered the ‘Slaves’ (Rimaïbés). Under national decentralisation schemes, village groupings were created. Tribal warfare and the revolution of 1983 contributed significantly to a re-balancing of power in favour of what were previously ‘oppressed social groups’.

As a result of this mixture of ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’, there can be found a plethora of organisations in the area. This has been the case in many Gestion de Terroirs projects in West Africa and is likely to have a significant impact upon the development of an SL approach in the region. The majority of these organisations have a very limited use as they were created predominantly in order to respond to the support needs of external interventions. Thus, the members are unclear of their responsibilities; meetings are irregular, and so on. Through GT projects, supra and intra village organisations emerged. Within the associative peasant movements in this region there are tendencies towards democratisation, while more traditional institutions were likely to remain more autocratic.

The research found that there was a positive correlation between the number and duration of NRM projects and the number of NRM institutions. This phenomenon can be explained in part by the tendency of these projects to emphasise the systematic creation of institutions for the execution of the program, and in part by the fact that the population easily organises itself to benefit from external support. It is important to note here that this is a potentially valuable lesson for SLAs.

Barraud[42] examined the inclusion of pastoral groups into village organisations in Guinea Maritime and eastern Tchad. This inclusion is largely a result of the continued conflicts between the two main groups of users of agricultural land in these areas - nomadic herders and settled cultivators. The study examined the different structures for managing these resources in place in the two areas. In Guinea, there exists an egalitarian/partnership structure composed of farmers and breeders at the level of groups of villages, and sometimes at a wider district level. Members of the committees are elected by both cultivators and pastoralists. The job of these committees is to manage conflicts, define some rules and apply them. There also exist prefecture committees, which are not egalitarian and are made up predominantly of technical advisors.

In eastern Tchad there were serious conflicts between nomadic pastoralists and settled cultivators, which was a result of strong competition for resources. The nomads were losing their rights to access water sources. Thus, the securing of pastoral water sources became an essential precondition for the continued survival of pastoral livelihoods. The project was accompanied by the setting up of an egalitarian management structure, with the villagers and nomads having an equal weighting in the definition and implementation of rules for the management of pastoral infrastructure and resources.

The egalitarian institutions in both countries allow an explicit negotiation between groups of users. Their success in the eyes of the locals rested on their ability to relieve tensions through amicable and negotiated rule making. The management committees for nomadic herders in Guinea insure effective and direct compensation of cultivators by herders for damage caused to their crop fields. This method of resolving conflicts allows a more objective evaluation of damage, as well as a reduction of recurring costs, when the local administration no longer intervenes in the negotiation. In the same way, in Tchad, the activity of the mixed commission allows an effective respect of the nomadic lifestyle and a reduction in the frequency and gravity of conflicts. In both cases, these institutions have introduced an awareness of the need to secure the mobility of herds and a positive recognition of the role of nomadic herders, often seen by political decision-makers and projects as a problem.

Again, there is a need to emphasise the fact that these two groups are not internally homogenous. This is something that the SLA and other people-centred approaches will have to watch out for as the assumption of homogeneity can lead to a more outspoken sub-group within one of the groups co-opting the process and drowning out the voices of other members of their group.

In Guinea, the different groups of breeders do not have the same interests or the same livelihood strategies. For the owners of large herds, the committees mean a loss of social prestige and of their monopoly over the management and use of the plains, while for the owners of smaller herds it has facilitated their access to the plains. The more powerful cultivators and chiefs see in the committees a loss of power and a reduction in their perceived resources linked to the nomads, while for the beneficiaries of hydro-agricultural improvements and the exploiters of the coast, the committees constitute a securing of their harvests and an effective reimbursement for damage.

In Eastern Chad, the diversity within nomadic herders is marked. The smaller nomads remain all year in the same region. These breeders, for the most part, cultivate and develop privileged alliances with villagers. The medium-sized nomads have a tendency to stay longer in the North in the rainy season and during the spring, in order to profit from the annual grassy plains. The large herds do not exploit surface water and rapidly move to the south in order to avoid being blocked by the rapidly rising waters. The villagers do not constitute a homogeneous group: many are breeders and therefore have specific strategies for access to water and the preservation of pastures. The others, don’t have the same competitive relationships with the nomads, vis-à-vis the pastoral resources.

In spite of the diversity of interests and strategies, there are common stakes between the two types of users. These are the foundations of the partnership approach - based upon dialogue and negotiation.

Batterbury[43] criticises the GT approach with his comments that “there will always be situations where the terroir remains an unsuitable scale of intervention”. Also, doubts are raised about local government departments’ ability to assume the high capital costs of maintaining GT programmes in the long run. Allison and Ellis further expand on this with his critique of community-based approaches in the context of small-scale fisheries. They comment that while community management appears to satisfy several goals, such as placing decision-making at the local level, inclusion of local knowledge, ensuring participation, etc., this is based on assumptions that are not necessarily always true. For example, the assumption that a ‘community’ is a group of households with livelihoods based on fisheries, that there exist ‘fishing villages’ in which the village administrators are preoccupied predominantly with the welfare of fishing families and the conservation of fish stocks above all else, that territorial use rights (TURFS), based on location, are compatible with both the behaviour of fishing families and the fish they catch. However, temporary migration to where fish stocks are larger tends to be a common feature of artesianal fishing. This is unsuited to territorial rights based on residence and tends to mirror what I mentioned earlier regarding the positioning of nomadic pastoralists within the GT framework.

Thus, the effectiveness of Gestion de Terroirs projects is threatened by:

- Institutional constraints
- Real decision-making powers
- Governing tendencies
- The dominating role of the state administration
- The absence of credit systems
- The limited material capacity of stakeholders
- The character of civil society.

All of which are likely to have a similar impact upon the effectiveness of projects developed using other people-centred approaches.

[19] Toulmin, C. (1994) Gestion de Terroir: Concept and Development
[20] Toulmin, C. (1994) ibid.
[21] Bouttier, N. (1996) Décentralisation et Développement Locale
[22] Ribot, J. (1998) Decentralisation, Participation and Accountability in Sahelian Forestry
[23] Toulmin, C. (1994) Gestion de Terroir: Concept and Development
[24] Tall, M. (2000) Presentation to IIED: Institutionalising Participatory Processes in Natural Resource Management in Senegal and Burkina Faso
[25] World Bank (1998) West Africa: Community Based Natural Resource Management
[26] Lund, C. (2000) African Land Tenure: Questioning Basic Assumptions
[27] Toulmin, C. (1994) ibid.
[28] From the FAO media base at:
[29] World Bank (1998) West Africa: Community-Based NRM
[30] Dalal-Clayton, B.; Dent, D.; Dubois, O. (2000) Rural Planning in the Developing World with a Special Focus on Natural Resources
[31] World Bank (1998) West Africa: Community-Based NRM
[32] World Bank (1998) ibid.
[33] Donnelly-Roarke, P.; Ouedraogo, K; Ye, X. (2001) Can Local Institutions Reduce Poverty?
[34] From the FAO media base at:
[35] Ouedraogo, B; Ouedraogo, H.M.G. (1999) Elaboration de l’avant-projet d’arrêté portant constitution, attribution, organisation et fonctionnement des Commissions Villageoises de Gestion des Terroirs
[36] Donnelly-Roarke et al (2001) Can Local Institutions Reduce Poverty?
[37] Barraud, V.; Bérété, S.; Intartaglia, D. (2000) Des Instances Paritaires Pour Gérer des Ressources Communes?
[38] Hussein, K.; Montague, S. (2000) Hill Agricultural Research Project, Nepal
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