Common pool resources (CPRs) - natural resources such as forests, water, fish stocks and grazing land that are accessed by multiple user groups - are crucial to the livelihoods of the poor. But their potential multiple uses and different user groups can lead to conflict over their management, and the poor often lose out to more powerful groups. This Brief reports the findings of a synthesis study of projects under DFID's Renewable Natural Resources Research Strategy (RNRRS) that aimed to extract knowledge and lessons for pro-poor CPR management. Simple techniques, for example that promote consensus by increasing awareness among groups of other stakeholders' perceptions and objectives, can be applied to help manage CPRs equitably and sustainably. Social solutions are important - simple technical changes can have significant effects if the correct social solutions are in place. Analysing economic costs and benefits of CPR use, though difficult, can help guide decisions for CPR management. Equitable property rights that allow poor groups to benefit from the CPRs should be in place, and may be based on traditional management systems. International agreements that aim to protect CPRs can work to transfer technical and financial resources to help local communities manage CPRs. Local institutions need to be strengthened for effective engagement with national policy makers, and to enable pro-poor policy to be implemented.
Lovett, J.; Ockwell, D.; Quinn, C.; Gregorowski, R. Common pool resources: management for equitable and sustainable use. (2006) 6 pp.