Examining the Role of Social Capital in Community Collective Action for Sustainable Wetland Fisheries in Bangladesh
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- Rahman, H.M.T., Hickey, G.M. & Sarker, S.K. Wetlands (2015) 35: 487. doi:10.1007/s13157-015-0635-5
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Internationally, the decentralization of property rights is becoming an increasingly common policy intervention for sustainable natural resource management. In the context of decentralized wetland fisheries policy in Bangladesh, this paper examines the role that social capital plays in cooperation building and collective action among diverse households seeking to obtain fisheries property rights. It considers how some households are able to develop collective action in the form of a community-based organization to access wetland fisheries, and why other households are not. Using the Local Level Institution (LLI) study technique, our analysis highlights that the financial capacity of community members plays a crucial role in accessing resources when the government’s decentralization policy also seeks to generate State revenue through fees. In this situation, information access and communication with external agencies were found to be prerequisites for earning the wetland fisheries property rights, with local leaders able to take advantage of their position to dictate collective decision making. This situation resulted in undemocratic decentralization and devolution of wetland fisheries rights, undermining transparency, accountability and the equitable distribution of natural resources.