Protected area governance, effectiveness and management, Mendha-Lekha village


After many discussions in the village, it was decided that the key decision-making institution for self-governance and management of surrounding forests in Mendha would be the Gram Sabha (GS) or the village assembly. The GS was constituted in late 1980s. The GS is composed of all adult members of the village and presence of at least two adult members (one male and one female) from each household is mandatory for a meeting. Inclusion of all adult members and the fact that all decisions are taken on consensus ensures greater transparency in the process of decision-making. GS meets once a month and issues are discussed and revisited, if necessary until a consensus is reached.1 Decisions taken by the GS prevail over any other decisions, including those of the government agencies. Minutes of the GS are recorded by the villagers. If need be, outsiders (including government, industry, NGO representatives, etc) are invited to discuss their plans and programmes with the villagers. The main functions of the GS include, conflict resolution and formulation and implementation of rules and regulations for village administration as well as forest management.

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