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Decentralising natural resource governance in Ghana: critical reflections on the artisanal and small-scale mining sector

Hirons, M. (2014) Decentralising natural resource governance in Ghana: critical reflections on the artisanal and small-scale mining sector. Futures, 62. pp. 21-31. ISSN 0016-3287

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.futures.2013.11.005

Abstract/Summary

This paper critically examines the impact of decentralization on contemporary and future governance arrangements in Ghana’s artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector. The sector, while providing valuable employment in rural areas, is beleaguered by environmental and social issues. Proponents of decentralization argue that re-distributing decision-making authority leads to more responsive, transparent and efficient natural resource management. The analysis presented here, however, demonstrates how weak decentralization has exacerbated the complex, conflictual and clandestine nature of local resource politics surrounding ASM. If future decentralization reforms are going to reverse this trend and improve the governance of ASM in Ghana, then facilitating the participation of traditional authorities is imperative. It is argued that doing so requires addressing the reticence regarding the role of chiefs in resource governance; simply ironing out existing technical issues with decentralization reforms is unlikely to improve the social and environmental performance of ASM in the country. In light of the chronic resource management deficiencies in Ghana, epitomized in the ASM sector, fostering frank political debates on resource governance is becoming urgent.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Economic and Social Sciences Division > Livelihoods Research
ID Code:44174
Publisher:Elsevier

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