Management of natural resources in a conflicting environment in Ghana: unmasking a messy policy problem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Resource use conflict is an enduring problem for science and policy making. Using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with resource users, policy makers and key informants, we explored four case examples of resource use conflict within lands and forestry, fisheries, oil and the mining sectors in Ghana. Results indicate that resource use conflict consists of a complex, non-linear system of balancing and reinforcing feedback loops that recur across resource sectors. The conflicts are difficult to clearly define, have many interdependencies and are multi-causal. Specifically, dysfunctional policy, commoditisation of land, infringement on rights of users, shift from communal to private land ownership, renegotiation of rights, and unclear roles and responsibilities of government agencies, exacerbate conflicts among resource users, managers and policy makers in Ghana. In addition, supranational policy such as the protocol of the Economic Community of West African States, which promotes free movement of people and goods within the 16-nation community, is a driver of conflict between native farmers and nomadic Fulani herders. Clear policy directions from government that outlines the specific roles of various departments involved in resource issues together with a holistic community participatory approach is therefore required to comprehensively understand and address such conflicts.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Geography

Keywords

  • conflict characterisation, mining, forestry, governance, fisheries, land, systems, Ghana
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1724-1745
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Volume57
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes