Competing Claims on Natural Resources

Competing Claims on Natural Resources (CCNR) is an inter-university research programme studying situations of competition over natural resource access and use, aiming to guide stakeholders in dealing with (potentially conflicting) multiple uses of natural resources. It seeks to develop more equitable management options that reduce rural poverty, reduce conflict, and achieve more sustainable use of natural resources.

Competing claims on natural resources become increasingly acute, with the poor being most vulnerable to adverse outcomes of such competition. A major challenge for science and policy is to progress from facilitating univocal use, to guiding stakeholders in dealing with potentially conflicting uses of natural resources. The development of novel, more equitable, management options that reduce rural poverty is key to achieving sustainable use of natural resources and the resolution of conflicts over them.

This interdisciplinary research programme aims to develop and interactive methodological approach for the:

  1. Understanding of competing claims and stakeholder strategies;
  2. Identification of alternative resource use options;
  3. The scientific support to negotiation processes between stakeholders, with the aim to develop policy interventions that simultaneously improve livelihoods and the sustainable use of natural resources.

Research is conducted in southern Africa, a region characterized by heterogeneous and highly dynamic resource uses. A comparative approach will be used to examine the different drivers of resource use dynamics and the interacting claims of multiple stakeholders on these resources. Three countries are included in the programme (South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe) in order to capture contrasting, yet interlocking, socio-political and institutional environments in which competing claims are played out (while agro-ecological conditions remain fairly similar).