Who knows, Who Cares?: Determinants of Enactment, Awareness and Compliance With Community Natural Resource Management Bylaws in Uganda

Community-based Natural Resource Management (NRM) is increasingly becoming an important approach for addressing natural resource degradation in low income countries. This study analyzes the determinants of enactment, awareness of and compliance with by-laws related to Natural Resource Management (NRM) in order to draw policy implications that could be used to increase the effectiveness of by-laws in managing natural resources sustainably. We found a strong association between awareness and compliance with NRM bylaws. This suggests the need to promote environmental education as part of the strategy to increase compliance with NRM bylaws. Econometric analysis of the survey data indicates factors that are associated with enactment of local NRM bylaws, and awareness of and compliance with NRM requirements: • Local NRM bylaws are more likely to be enacted in communities where there are programs and organizations focusing on agriculture and environment, but less likely where the land tenure system is customary than where other land tenure systems are predominant. • People are more aware of requirements related to bush burning in communities that are closer to an all-weather road and have better access to credit. People are more aware of requirements related to tree planting and protection closer to roads, and where there are more programs and organizations with focus on agriculture and the environment • People are more likely to comply with a bylaw enacted by the local council than otherwise. People are more likely to comply with requirements related to tree planting and protection in communities where agricultural potential is high, where income poverty is lower, where adults are more educated and where there are more credit organizations. These findings imply that improving awareness of NRM requirements is critical to increase compliance with such requirements. Awareness is greater in areas closer to all-weather roads, probably due to better access to information in such areas. Development of roads and communication can thus facilitate better community NRM. Other low cost options to increase awareness could include use of radio programs, environmental education in schools, resource user seminars, brochures, and district level training workshops. Devolution of responsibility contributes to greater compliance with NRM requirements, given that compliance is greater with bylaws enacted by local councils than with laws enacted at a higher level. Involvement of locally accountable and representative authorities in enacting and enforcing NRM requirements appears critical for the legitimacy and success of such regulation. Involvement of external programs and organizations focusing on agriculture and environment issues can help to promote such local enactment. Several dimensions of poverty, including greater income poverty, poor education, and poor access to credit are associated with lower compliance with tree planting and protection requirements. This supports the hypothesis of a poverty-natural resource degradation trap, and suggests that measures to reduce poverty can have “win-win” benefits helping to improve NRM as well.

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CAPRi Working Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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