Inderscience Publishers

The expansion of participatory governance in the environmental policies of developing countries: the example of Madagascar

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The notion of governance is often considered to be essential, particularly by international institutions in developing countries, to improve the efficiency of policies and to strengthen the legitimacy of the aid. This article aims to clarify the various meanings of this notion and to analyse the policies for devolution of management of natural resources to local communities. The participatory practices involved supply some advantages: appropriation of the management of resources and policies by local actors, the intention to make these actors responsible, etc. But they do have limitations: an 'idyllic' vision of community-based management; the risk of being 'captured' by local community leaders; conflicts of interest and of temporality that are not discussed, but which do exist. The range and the limitations of this environmental governance, which we qualify as being participative, are illustrated by the case of Madagascar.

Keywords: environmental policies, forestry resources, environmental governance, international institutions, local actors, Madagascar, natural resources, management devolution, participatory governance, developing countries

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