Platform for resource management : case studies of success or failure in Benin and Burkina Faso

C. Dangbegnon

    Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


    The present book focuses on platforms for (natural) resource management. It analyses various case studies in Benin and Burkina Faso. Conditions for collective resource management in conflict and interdependent situations are the most critical issues. The present study raises the importance of socio-economic sustainability. It aims at incorporating social perspective within economic growth by focusing on stakeholders needs and by learning with them to respond to evolving conditions.

    The present book is based on three main parts. After an introductory chapter (chapter 1), the first part discusses the perspectives and methodologies used to carry out the present study. The second part analyses six case studies, and the third part presents a synthesis and the main conclusions.

    Part one: perspectives and methodologies
    In part one, perspectives and methodologies used to carry out the research are developed. First, resource management problems are elaborated. They cover several dimensions: social dilemmas in interdependent resource use situations, and social and ecological crises. Collective action and platforms are the puzzles of effective resource management in face of these problems. These two notions are the central points of my argumentation if conditions for sustainably managing natural resources is to be realized.

    The fact that resource management problems unravel two different assets, the social (stakeholders) and the natural (ecosystems), I have used 'coupled systems thinking' to elaborate perspectives with respect to resource management (chapter 2). Based on this notion, 'hard system thinking' is applied to conceptualize ecosystems for the purpose of resource management. 'Soft system' is also applied as a form under which we organize our attempt to reach common appreciation of problematic situations. These perspectives enable me to develop the notions of platform, social learning to cope with both ecosystem and social dynamics, and the facilitation of change in resource management (communicative intervention, incentives, support institutions, and policy contexts). Having elaborated my perspectives for the present study, I could define first, the following problem statement:

    "The extent to which the perspectives elaborated, help develop theories, practices and ideas, in the particular contexts of resource use in Benin and Burkina Faso, for the facilitation of adaptive resource management in various attempts to enhance regenerative practices and sustainable development in ecosystems".

    Second, I define the following research questions:

    To what extent can various resource management situations from Benin and Burkina Faso, be analyzed?What are the factors that affect the success or failure of the various resource management situations analyzed?Can concrete and fresh theories, concepts and ideas, be identified to support the facilitation of deliberate adaptive resource management interventions towards greater sustainability?

    The methodologies of the present study (chapter 3) involve a scientist's curricula for discovery learning and the concrete research methodology. Case study research approach, grounded theory and comparative study are used. Exploratory research is done to gain novel and fresh arguments that contribute to the scientific and public debate with respect to resource management practices.

    Part two: case studies
    Six case studies were carried out (four in Benin and two in Burkina Faso). The first case study (chapter 4) deals with fishery resource management, specifically Lake Aheme in Benin. An analysis of the evolution of the platform for Lake Aheme's resource management is done from the pre-colonial period to the recent democratization process in Benin. The major conclusion from the Lake Aheme case is that, sustainability is an emergent property of a soft system, which means that the impasse noticed in the management of the lake can only be broken if two conditions are satisfied. On the first hand, collective action is effective for regulation, mutual control and monitoring. On the other hand, a platform is developed for governing the lake and resolving conflicts.

    The second case study (chapter 5) deals with rangeland resource management within the Chabe community in Benin. Two situations are compared: the local arrangement in Savè area and the implementation of the Appui-Conseil for collective rangeland resource management. The first situation reveals that, a lack of decision making capacity and concerted action, and an absence of organizations and institutions for resource management, affect failures. In the second situation, a negotiated agreement and concerted action led to the development of a platform. The major conclusion from this case study is that, barriers to collective rangeland resource management can be overcome if different categories of stakeholders adopt collective action, develop platforms for decision-making, monitoring, sanctions and exclusion at the level of gaa, villages and regions.

    The third case study (chapter 6) presents watershed development problems with two ethnic groups, the Adja and Mahi people in Benin. The critical issue here is the extent to which scaling up watershed development from the level of farms to the watershed for intervention, is effective. This implies the need to develop inter-village perspectives. Within both the ethnic groups, the absence of consistent property right institutions was a barrier for watershed development. Platforms for pooling a systematic treatment of micro-watersheds towards the watershed development based on inter-village structuration (scaling up) did not yet emerge in Mono. A reason was the nonexistence of local organizations that could strengthen this process. In Ouèssè, the creation of the Union Inter-Villageoise pour la Gestion des ressource Naturelles (UIGREN) also called SEDOKU, was a platform at the level of the region of Mahi people. The success of the scaling up process was due to existing organizations and a collective learning path adopted by the intervening agency.

    Resource-flow management to improve soil fertility by a women's group is analyzed in the fourth case study (chapter 7). The analysis considers two different contexts: before, and during democratization process in Benin. Resource-flow management can be effective only if successful collective action is maintained to provide public goods (e.g., infrastructures, the group itself). A major conclusion for this case study is that, a shift in the political system of Benin, has some implications for making grass-root development processes more dynamic. Many opportunities such as credit, training, exchange of experience, enable the maintenance of the group, and in turn, collective action for resource management.

    The fifth case study (chapter 8) shows the evolution of forestry problems from a purely indigenous regulation to the recent intervention of the PNGT and co-management practices in Burkina Faso. This case study reveals that, the evolution of the platform is sensitive to ownership issues concerning the Maro forest. This case involves both public goods (e.g., fire break) and common goods (e.g., trees). Co-management practices, exclusion of free-riders and monitoring, enable collective action and platforms for regenerating the Maro forest.

    The gestion des terroirs applied in a physical planning process to enable the creation of a zone for herding and tree planting, is analyzed in the sixth case study (chapter 9). The main issue was the aménagement of a zone sylvo-pastorale . The need to initiate this aménagement emerged from severe problems such as crop damages due to the transhumant herders, and clashing interests among herders, the native Bobo and the migrant Mossi. Perceived interdependence among these stakeholders was a driving factor for successful collective action and platform development for the aménagement of a zone sylvo-pastorale . This interdependence has become visible through repeated conflicts between herders and crop-farmers. However, the case study reveals that the management of the zone sylvo-pastorale will require new roles such as monitoring, conflict resolution, and mediation for professionals.

    Part three: synthesis and conclusions
    Many propositions and concrete ideas are pulled out with respect to resource management (chapter 10). They are addressed to resource management problems, social learning, and the facilitation of changes. Crises in ecosystems are triggers of social learning by stakeholders and intervening agencies. The facilitation of change goes beyond transfer of technology, advisory work and information support services, and extension which focuses on solution of specific problems. The case studies acerbate the importance of collective action and platforms to realize a successful collective resource management. Collective action means that individual action are consistent norms, rules, etc., which are collectively agreed upon. Collective action can be expressed through the willingness of many stakeholders to act beyond their individual interest, maybe because of stimuli from their environment. Conditions for successful collective action are: perceived interdependence with respect to resource management; mutual benefits; perceived externalities within resource management activities; risk sharing, tontine and increasing negotiation power; and trust in social capital for resource management. The platform notion is dynamic, heuristic and sensitive to the boundary problem within ecosystems under siege for resource management. Conditions identified for the functioning of effective platforms are: collective action, representation at the appropriate ecosystem level, quality of leadership, possibilities to meet, capacity for implementing mechanisms for concerted action and conflict resolution, stakeholders are the main concern for the functioning of operational platforms, and possibilities for continual learning for adaptability. The present study explains adaptive resource management concept. A major conclusion (chapter 11) is that adaptive resource management is different from conventional technology development. Sustainability with respect to resource management depends on collective action, trust in resource management institutions, decision making capacity, quality of leadership, management capacity and policy contexts. Implications of adaptive resource management for planning are discussed. Practical recommendations are suggested. They are addressed to the role of governments, local communities, and effectiveness of adaptive resource management.

    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Röling, N.G., Promotor
    • Blum, A., Promotor, External person
    Award date16 Dec 1998
    Place of PublicationWageningen
    Print ISBNs9789058080059
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


    • natural resources
    • management
    • social change
    • social development
    • social environment
    • economic situation
    • benin
    • burkina faso


    Dive into the research topics of 'Platform for resource management : case studies of success or failure in Benin and Burkina Faso'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this