EAA - Environmental Accountability in Africa: Four Comparative Research Programs
From 1999 through 2008 I ran four comparative research projects while I was a Senior Associate in the Institutions and Governance Program at the World Resources Institute. These projects were all under the Environmental Accountability in Africa (EAA) policy-research program. My aim in establishing these programs was simultaneously to 1) conduct basic policy research on the relation between sub-national democracy and the quality of natural resource management, and 2) create a university of research – a higher education program – around this research.
The working paper series was designed to circulate ongoing policy research and analysis that derives from and complements the Environmental Accountability in Africa (EAA) initiative. The comparative research programs included:
Democratic Decentralization and Natural Resource Management (with 17 case studies),
Democratic Decentralization in Senegal (a one-country four-case study),
Representation, Equity and Environment (about twelve cases – not all published), and
Commodity Chain Analysis as a Policy Tool (about ten case studies – not all published).
The outcomes of this program are in many of my own publications (see publications) and in the attached EAA working paper series. The EAA Working Papers below are not a complete list. The complete list is on the WRI Web page, how ever, this link does not lead to copies of the papers. We are still trying to compile the whole collection for this page.
The Environmental Governance in Africa portion of the Working Paper Series (Working Papers number 1 through 22) presents position papers, works in progress, and literature reviews on emerging environmental governance issues of relevance to Sub-Saharan Africa. The bulk of this research was on the relation between democratic decentralization and environmental management outcomes. But because most democratic decentralizations were neither decentralized nor democratic, the latter relation – to outcomes – was impossible to interrogate in most cases. The main finding of this program was that policies and projects called democratic decentralization of natural resources neither decentralized meaningful powers nor did they empower democratic authorities. When powers were transferred to local authorities or actors they were systematically upwardly accountable to government agencies (mostly the forest service), when the local authorities were systematically accountable to the people, they were given no powers. Thus, we learned more about the politics of non-implementation than we did about democratic decentralization’s effects – which were being lauded as great successes by the World Bank and USAID and many other donors. We looked for these successes, but could not find the reforms that ostensibly created them. This research series is summarized in Waiting for Democracy by Ribot (2004). Also see case studies in Ribot and Larson (2005 and 2006). See list below.
The Representation, Equity and Environment working paper series (23-36), was renamed Environment and Accountability in Africa series, to reflect the Equity, Poverty and Environment team’s broadening to include research and analysis worldwide. This working paper series presented new research on democratic decentralization and legislative representation concerning the management, control and use of natural resources. The series also presented research and analysis on the effects of policies on the distribution of profits and other benefits within natural resource commodity chains and the distribution of government revenues from natural resource exploitation and trade.
Key EAA-related Publications (listed below among many other publications):
Ribot, J., Ashwini Chhatre, and Tomila V. Lankina (eds). 2008. Special Issue on The Politics of Choice and Recognition in Democratic Decentralization. Conservation and Society. Vol. 6, No. 1 http://www.conservationandsociety.org/text.asp?2008/6/1/1/49197.
Ribot, J. and René Oyono (eds). 2006. Special issue on Implementing Progressive New Natural Resources Laws. Africa Development Vol. XXXI, No. 2.
Ribot, J. and Anne Larson (eds.). 2005. Decentralization through a Natural Resource Lens: Experience in Africa, Asia and Latin America. London: Frank Cass. Also published as a 2004 special issue of European Journal of Development Research. Vol. 16, No. 1.
Ribot, J. 2004. Waiting for Democracy: The Politics of Choice in Natural Resource Decentralizations. Washington: World Resources Institute. [Published in French in 2007.] http://www.wri.org/publication/waiting-democracy-politics-choice-natural-resource-decentralization.
Note that publications listed below will also be found under other projects since publications have been matched to as many projects as they are relevant to. The Institutional Choice and Recognition research page is a continuation of this work into the future. The Working Papers from EAA (WRI Working Papers) are only listed here.
EAA Working Paper Series