Commons, Policy, Law and Livelihoods (COMPLY)
This programme undertakes research, lobby and advocacy on policies governing common property resources to ensure secure access, control and user rights for communities whose livelihoods depend on these resources, while also strengthening their sustainable management.Common property resources are critical for livelihoods security in the rural areas of Kenya and other Sub-Saharan Africa countries, who depend on CPRs - fisheries, forestry, water, pasture and genetic resources. The commons are closely integrated to the social, economic and cultural identity of the communities that depend on them, and access to them defines in large measure social and political relations.
Yet communities’ access to and control of CPRs in Africa has been adversely affected by the absence of enabling policy, legal and institutional frameworks since colonial times. This has not only impacted upon the management of the commons, but has also engendered conflict within and between resource dependent communities. The received policy and legislative frameworks have largely hindered the evolution and development of the customary laws and institutions that traditionally mediated access to these resources.
This programme works with communities that depend on CPRs to help them address the challenges of privatization, formalization and other development imperatives currently being experimented with across the region. These policy imperatives have introduced new resource management and governance challenges that have serious implications for tenure security and sustainability.
RECONCILE believes that although these policy imperatives offer opportunities that resource dependent communities can benefit from, this will not be possible unless the communities have the capacity to engage in a meaningful way with the policy processes and to influence them. Communities have to be part of the policy making process, so that they can ensure that their interests are taken into account in the design of policies. They have to understand the policies and the institutional frameworks that are established thereby so that they can make demands on these institutions to deliver on their mandates.
The programme supports capacity building among communities and civil society groups on such policies and laws. It also provides training in conflict management to strengthen the capacity of these communities to handle resource-based conflicts.