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The Need for Integrated Natural Resource Management (Inrm) In Refugee Settlement Areas: The Case of Eritrean Refugees in Shimelba Camp of Ethiopia


In northern Ethiopia, the Tigray national regional state, due to its geographical proximity to Eritrea has been hosting more than 20,000 Eritrean refugees fleeing from their country of origin crossing the Ethiopian border starting from May 2000 because of the deteriorating political and socio-economic conditions in Eritrea especially after the Ethio-Eritrean war. As large groups of people settle in an area, they exert pressure on the natural environment especially in the case of refugees where the assistance from relief organizations is inadequate. The areas of refugee settlement have a direct bearing on the environment and the environment, in turn, has a direct bearing on the welfare and well being of people in the vicinity. It is not realistic to expect that the current carrying capacity of the refugee settlement area can withstand the increasing number of refugees. This has resulted in competition for scarce natural resources which have led to a growing tendency of conflict among the refugees and the local people. Therefore, it is crucial to examine the current level of natural resource degradation; examine the level of natural resource consumption of refugees and locals through socio-economic factors, assess the existence and causes of resource conflict and evaluate the current natural resource management practices to recommend possible alternative actions and to take the lesson to similar refugee settlement areas. In order to achieve the stated objectives, qualitative and quantitative data were used. Data were collected from primary and secondary sources. The qualitative aspect focused on major PRA tools which were analyzed by Narration, while the quantitative aspect was based on formal survey of 150 sample households which was analyzed using descriptive analysis, t-test and chi-square test. The high population pressure has seriously affected and damaged the scarce natural resources and the agricultural productivity of the study area. There is a serious problem of fuel wood, grazing land and water resources. As a result frequent conflicts between refugees and the local population occur mainly from competition for these resources. However, natural resource management practices that have been adopted by the concerned bodies to date were found to be suboptimal (minimal) compared to the environmental impacts. The result suggests the need for user-oriented, integrated and participatory approach to ensure sustainable natural resource use by refugees and local communities, which is in line with the basic principles o f Integrated Natural Resource Management (INRM)

Corporate Author: 
Getnet Alemu (Editor) & Ethiopian Economic Association/Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute
Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA)
Primary Descriptors: 

Refugee Settlement

Secondary Descriptor: 

Ethio - Eritrea war

Geographic Descriptors: 
Cataloge Date: 
Broad Subject heading: 
Natural Resource Management
Call Number: 
330.963 PRO 2009
Serial Key Title: 
Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy
Publication catagory: 
Content type: 
Publication date: 
2013-05-27 23:09:00
Forum or Discussion date: 
2013-02-27 15:02:20
Place of publication: 
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Type of material: 
Current frequency: