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Natural Resources Governance around the World

Lessons Learned from Niger’s Rural Code

Presentation of the folder

Funding organizations: Agence Française de Développement (AFD)

Contributors of the file: Association pour contribuer à l’amélioration de la Gouvernance de la Terre, de l’Eau et des Ressources naturelles (AGTER), Inter-réseaux Développement Rural, Association pour le Développement de l’Enseignement du Perfectionnement et de la Recherche à l’Institut national agronomique Paris-Grignon (Adeprina), Association pour la Redynamisation de l‘Elevage au Niger (AREN), e-sud development, LandNet West Africa

Why this Project ?

This work is the result of a collective project initiated by AGTER (Association pour l’Amélioration de la Gouvernance de la Terre, de l’Eau et des Resources Naturelles – Association for the Improvement of Land, Water and Natural Resources Governance), E-Sud Development, AREN (Association pour la Redynamisation de l‘Elevage au Niger – Association for the Revitalization of Livestock Breeding in Niger), and the LandNet West African network. The project was initiated within the context of the Projet de renforcement des capacités des réseaux d’organisations agricoles en matière de politiques agricoles, alimentaires et rurales (Paar Network – Capacity building project for agricultural organizations networks, focusing on agriculture, food and rural policies) funded by the French Development Agency. The contractor for this project is the ADEPRINA/Inter-réseaux Développement rural. Only the authors may be held accountable for the content of this work.

About twenty interviews were carried out to create this set of educational tools. The film was shot in about three weeks in June 2010, just before wintering. It was edited in September, and additional documents were written. The first screenings of the film took place in November in Niger, Burkina Faso and Senegal.

Systems for the management of natural resources currently undergo some redefinitions, and decentralization policies are progressively being implemented in West Africa. In this context, it is crucial to contribute by informing local, national or regional discussions with specific examples, while avoiding preconceived patterns : this educational package was designed in this perspective. Readers and viewers should find here some useful input to feed their questioning about their own reality.

However, the Rural Code example of Niger is a deliberate choice. This original process succeeded, through 20 years of participatory approach, in reducing both the number of land conflicts and their violence. It also contributed to improve patterns of governance at the different territorial levels. The Rural Code is now a benchmark for rural development policies in Niger.

This kit comes with a film realized in June 2010, just before wintering: “From conflict to consultation : the Rural Code experiment in Niger” (running time : 39 minutes with 5 additional bonuses). The film is available in English, French, Fulfuldé, Haoussa, Djoula and Wolof. To have a copy of the educational Package, including the DVD, please contact AGTER].

What is the Content of this Educational Package?

The thematic papers and the film have been designed as two complementary tools : the papers will help viewers to look further into some of the topics that the film deals with, and provide practical data (facts and figures, diagrams, maps, etc…) about the reality of Niger’s Rural Code.

The papers are meant to foster a more theoretical and critical approach to the reality of the Rural Code. They are a key tool for moderators to lead discussions with the audience and go further into the debate.

The main film is not meant to present the Rural Code in full details, but provides useful input for discussions about how to implement a policy for the management of natural resources. Viewers can also compare their situation with the specific Nigerien one.

By presenting some of the most frequent categories of land disputes in Niger, as well as the main institutional and technical tools designed to respond to those conflicts, the film provides some practical examples. It presents the work carried out by the different local land commissions. The film deliberately emphasizes the voice of the different stakeholders that participate in this process on a daily basis : farmers, herders, traditional chiefs and local officials are the main characters of the film.

The film does not pretend to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Rural Code’s system, but invites the audience to question the whole process.

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