Stockholm Conference on Environmental
Law and Justice,  6-9 September 2006

Jona Razzaque (Univ. of West England, Bristol):
Participatory Rights in Natural Resource Management: the Role of Communities in South Asia.  

Across South Asia, the livelihoods of the majority are dependent on natural resources such as energy, water and forests. Yet, access to such resources may be undermined by decision-making processes in which resource users have no say. Local users often have no access to information concerning natural resource use planning, and no right to participate in decision-making processes affecting their natural resource rights. In their efforts to attract investment, government authorities have in many cases allocated resource rights to private sectors – for large infrastructure projects such as pipelines and dams, through mining and forestry concessions - with no consultation of local communities and with little or no civil society scrutiny. This significantly undermines the livelihoods of local communities by displacing them, by restricting their resource use and by damaging the resource base. Over the last few decades, there have been significant changes in international law allowing people to participate in the decision making processes.

This paper concentrates on the impact of these laws at the community level and questions the effectiveness of their access to courts and decision-making processes. The paper explores the development of participatory rights in South Asia and examines the nature and level of community participation in the decision making processes at the project and policy level.




 Ansvarig utgivare är SMC | Copyright 2006