BELLO UMAR1, HAMZA KANKIYA2
1Usman Danfodiyo University, Agricultural Economics and Extension, Nigeria
2Bayero University Kano, Department of Sociology, Nigeria
Based on experience from a EU project for rehabilitation of a grazing reserve in Nigeria and the failure of the Nigerian state to establish appropriate programmes for reducing poverty that is prevalent in her rural areas, this paper offers a model for co-management of natural resources that affect the livelihoods of the rural poor in the country. Co-management is a pluralist approach to managing natural resources, incorporating a variety of partners in a variety of roles, generally to the end goals of environmental conservation, sustainable use of natural resources and the equitable sharing of resource-related benefits and responsibilities. This paper assumes that rural poverty could be reduced in Nigeria through co-management of natural resources on which most rural poor depend for livelihood. The paper first reviews the causes, distribution and level of poverty in Nigeria and explains why government programs have not succeeded in reducing poverty in the country particularly in the rural areas. The paper also discusses the vicious cycle that exists between poverty, natural resource degradation and conflicts as a way of justifying why appropriate management of natural resources could prevent destructive conflicts and consequently, reduce rural poverty. The paper then suggests 1) mechanisms for involving all major stakeholders in establishing co"=management institutions, 2) roles the stakeholders should play, 3) ways for strengthening and sustaining the co"=management institutions if established, and 4) the need for incorporating participatory monitoring and evaluation in the co"=management institutions. The paper finally suggests that co"=management should be tried as pilot projects before it is applied nation"=wide.
Keywords: Co-management, government, local communities, natural resources, poverty reduction