Program Overview

Institutions of collective action and property rights influence how people use and manage natural resources, and subsequently affect the condition of natural resource systems. The CGIAR Systemwide Program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi) addresses these issues through an inter-center initiative involving all 15 of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centers and over 400 national agricultural research institutes and universities in developing and industrialized countries.

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CAPRi has developed a simple but effective conceptual framework to assess when and how property rights and collective action are likely to affect the application of agricultural technologies and natural resource management practices, based on their spatial and temporal dimensions. As illustrated in the figure, technologies, such as improved varieties that can be adopted by a single farmer within a season, may not be strongly affected by these institutions

However, with longer time horizons between adoption of a technology and receiving the benefits, farmers need secure tenure to have the incentives and authority to adopt. For example, tenants oftencannot plant trees or lack incentives to do terracing.

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CAPRi aims to strengthen the capacity of researchers and policymakers through international research workshops and policy conferences, research grants, publications, training, and support on research methods.

  • Workshops: CAPRi workshops focus on property rights and collective action as they relate to the CAPRi priority themes.
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  • Publications: CAPRi produces working papers, policy briefs, training materials, conference proceedings, a bibliography, and an inventory of CGIAR projects that relate to collective action and property rights in natural resource management.
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  • Capacity Building in Research Methods: CAPRi offers training courses and materials that are geared toward institutions working in the associated areas of collective action, property rights and natural resource management (NRM).

Role of Environmental Risk

Past research conducted in the CGIAR and elsewhere has demonstrated some effects of risk on the behavior of individual farmers in the developing countries.  In some cases, it may constrain the adoption of new techniques; in others, it may serve as a reason to diversify production and income strategies. Some evidence suggests that an equally strong relationship may exist between risk and property rights and collective action in natural resource management:

  • Risk management can be a motivation for common property regimes.
  • Access to a diverse range of resources tends to enhance the income and consumption-smoothing capacity of individuals and groups and may be particularly critical when financial and insurance markets are lacking.
  • Collective action may strengthen protection against risk by broadening opportunities for risk pooling.

Research on this theme seeks to gain a better understanding of the response strategies that risk imposes, and how these strategies affect the choice of property rights institutions and incentives for collective action.

Cover of book

Available in various formats

Resources, Rights, and Cooperation

A Sourcebook on Property Rights and Collective Action for Sustainable Development

The sourcebook is based directly on the experiences and lessons of CAPRi research from around the world. Its content is based on sound underlying research, but the presentation is simple, straightforward, and accessible. The objective of the book is to build capacity of research and development organizations to recognize the importance and relevance of CAPRi concepts and to apply the lessons and methods from CAPRi research to their work with communities, policymakers, and other stakeholders. It is our hope that it will serve not only as a relevant and practical guide for development practitioners, trainers, and policymakers, but will also be used in universities and other institutions of higher learning.

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