T16P11 - Sustainable Development, Public Policy and the Local

Topic : Sustainable Development and Policy

Panel Chair : Satyajit Singh - ssinghdu@gmail.com

Panel Second Chair : Ajit Menon - ajit1112@gmail.com

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Note: This Panel is eligible for the GCPSE (UNDP) Grant.

 

 

Garett Hardin’s tragedy of the commons, has been intensively critiqued since the 1980s. It has now been established that conservation policies cannot be sustainable without the involvement of local communities. Most developing countries, multi-lateral development organizations and donor agencies have since advocated participatory and joint programs of conservation, protection and restoration of natural resources. While there has been considerable success in many of these community and local projects, it has been observed that central authorities have been hesitant to scale up decentralization at the national scale and grant greater power and authority to the local level. This is understandable as such a move undermines the role of the central agencies. Further, by granting these same agencies the authority to design institutions for greater decentralization policy makers may have ensured that decentralization does not take off as effectively as desired. Often these central agencies do not have the capacity in this area, or deliberately design reform programs that extend their control over the management of natural resources, rather than restrict such control. Hence, many of the institutional and administrative reforms for sustainable development have been designed for failure or non-optimal outcomes. It needs to be accepted that just like there are many models of centralization, there are many models of decentralization as well – each leading to different outcomes – some good and others, not too bad. As the sustainability of our resources is critically dependant on the institutions for their management and the involvement of the local communities, an analysis of the different types of local institutions would help us design better institutions of local governance and better policies for sustainable development.
This panel looks at the varieties of institutions in the management of natural resources by local communities. It focuses on how they interface with local politics and different institutional designs lead to diverse outcomes. It will also show how the same policy and institutional design lead to diverse outcomes. It will enhance our understanding of institutional reforms for local governance for sustainable development. This panel will bring together theoretical approaches to studying policy at the local level as well as specific cases that highlight the role of local institutions and local politics in policy making for sustainable development.
We hope to bring together papers that critically analyse the administrative architecture of the existing decentralized institutions and deal with innovative ways in which local politics and informal institutions are working towards greater devolution in the face of serious opposition. It is expected that these papers will throw light on how another generation of reforms of public administration could harness social power with political power at the local level through the institutions of local governments to achieve some of the sustainable development goals.
The panel will look at specific cases of administrative reforms for sustainable development:
- to determine whether these were carefully thought out, emerged from specific opportunities, or were accidental
- to examine the specific roles of key individuals and government departments that led to the formulation of policies for administrative reforms
- to see how emerging institutions hamper effective decentralization of power and authority for effective conservation, protection and regeneration of the environment
- to analyse how the same policy leads to different outcomes, either due to diverse local institutions or specific local agency
- to understand how different level of capacity or social capital can facilitate or hinder effective local governance
- to study the emerging structures of accountability are evolving at the local level, and changing the outcomes of existing policies.

 

Call for papers

Garett Hardin’s tragedy of the commons, has been intensively critiqued since the 1980s. It has now been established that conservation policies cannot be sustainable without the involvement of local communities. Yet it has been observed that central authorities have been hesitant to scale up decentralization at the national scale and grant greater power and authority to the local level. Further, by granting these same agencies the authority to design institutions for greater decentralization policy makers may have ensured that decentralization does not take off as effectively as desired. Often these central agencies do not have the capacity in this area, or deliberately design reform programs that extend their control over the management of natural resources, rather than restrict such control. Hence, many of the institutional and administrative reforms for sustainable development have been designed for failure or non-optimal outcomes. As the sustainability of our resources is critically dependent on the institutions for their management and the involvement of the local communities, the panel will look at specific cases of administrative reforms for sustainable development:
- to determine whether these were carefully thought out, emerged from specific opportunities, or were accidental
- to examine the specific roles of key individuals and government departments that led to the formulation of policies for administrative reforms
- to see how emerging institutions hamper effective decentralization of power and authority for effective conservation, protection and regeneration of the environment 
- to analyse how the same policy leads to different outcomes, either due to diverse local institutions or specific local agency
- to understand how different level of capacity or social capital can facilitate or hinder effective local governance
- to study the emerging structures of accountability are evolving at the local level, and changing the outcomes of existing policies.

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