It’s been more than two decades since the Nature, Wealth & Power (NWP) framework was developed, and seven years since it was last updated. Recent RTI efforts examine whether NWP remain a helpful way of addressing our planet’s evolving challenges.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” the adage goes. But the past few years have been a time of such dramatic global shifts—in action on climate change, urbanization, and the effects of an unprecedented pandemic—that we wondered if that was true for our work in natural resources management.
When NWP was first proposed in 2002, it was focused on rural Africa, where centuries of natural resource extraction were almost entirely decoupled from the needs and interests of the surrounding communities. It called attention to the fact that environmental mismanagement, rural disenfranchisement, and poverty are all interconnected, and referred to access and control over natural resources as “the bread and butter issue on which democracy must deliver.”
The NWP framework was updated in 2013, broadening its regional applications outside of Africa, heightening its scope beyond the project level, and accounting for changes in, among other things, private sector engagement. It was summarized by what scholar Hilary Faxon called “the best Venn diagram since 5th grade.”