Track Policies

_CPL_Practitioners' Lab

In the past, practitioners meetings have been organized at several IASC-conferences, offering an excellent opportunity to exchange knowledge and expertise between practitioners and academic scholars interested in commons. In order to promote these meetings, the IASC now issues a specific call directed at practitioners. We hope scholars and practitioners will use this opportunity to mutually benefit from each other’s expertise and experience.

The IASC calls on practitioners to present their initiative at the conference on the basis of a number of specified features as well as to formulate questions they would like to see addressed at one of the practitioners’ labs. On the basis of the issues raised, specific labs will be organized, where practitioners and scholars can convene.

The local organizing team of the Bern Conference will ensure that rooms and time slots will be reserved for these meetings. After the conference, the descriptions of the initiatives will also be shown on the IASC-website, so that these will remain visible to other interested parties.

If you want to present your case and/or submit questions, please go to http://conferences.iasc-commons.org/index.php/iasc/IASC_Europe_Bern2016/login to create an account and submit. Have you already registered for the Bern Conference? Then log in to your account and submit your case or submit your questionsby choosing the option Contribution Practitioners Lab.


Call for Contributions to Practicioners' Labs (deadline 1 April 2016)

Directors
  • Tine De Moor, Utrecht University
  • Rene Weeren, University of Utrecht
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

A01 - Food system impacts on commons from a North-South perspective

The sustainability of food systems is an emerging field of research. Studies analyze how actors, institutions, knowledge, and power relations regulate access to natural resources and their use, as well as how natural resources are transformed into food flows, from input supply to production, consumption, and beyond. The outcomes of food systems are assessed against the five principles of food sustainability: food security, realization of the right to food, social-ecological resilience, avoidance of harmful environmental impacts, and reduction of poverty and inequality.

Changes in relative prices in the global North have affected the management of commons in the global South since colonial times. Today, agroindustrial food systems, often spanning two or more continents, link consumers in the global North with producers in the global South. These transcontinental systems have additional strong impacts on commons in the global South. Local commons are part of local food systems, which in turn are crucial for people living in the South. Case studies have shown that the penetration of transcontinental agroindustrial food systems into a local context lead to changes in relative prices that affect the management of common-pool resources. Such processes can be described as a new form of economic enclosure expressed in obliging people to resort to the use of local commons to cope with shortcomings of agroindustrial food systems for their livelihoods. Some studies have also revealed positive developments: In the Mount Kenya region, for example, agroindustrial horticultural companies facilitated the development of new forms of common resource management (e.g. water for irrigation) to prevent negative impacts of conflicts among local actors and between the companies and local actors for accessing commons in a transformed setting.

These cases indicate that food system impacts on local commons create a need—and sometimes opportunities—for renegotiating how these commons should be governed. To achieve food sustainability, renegotiations must involve local, state, private sector, and civil-society actors, including food producers, processing companies, retailers, and consumers.

For this panel we seek contributions that help to better understand the links between food systems, food sustainability, and common-pool resources. Examples may range widely and might focus on issues such as water governance in a setting where agroindustrial food production coexists with local or traditional forms of food production; air pollution rules regarding emissions from food production, processing, and transporting (e.g. in the context of carbon trade schemes); or the effects of food consumption patterns in the global North (e.g. meat, sugar, palm oil) on forest use in the global South. We welcome both conceptual and empirical contributions that link the commons to food systems and look at relations between the global North and South.

Directors
  • Johanna Jacobi, University of Bern
  • fabian käser, Institute of Social Anthropology University of Bern
  • Stephan Rist, Centre for Development and Environment; Institute of Geography
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

A02 - Extractive and bio-political frontiers: (dense) tropical rain forests and the transformation of the commons

Over the last two decades, due to the encroachment of the agricultural and extractive frontiers, humanity has witnessed an increasing commodification of natural resources (land, forests, water, minerals) around the globe. The planet's last biosphere sanctuaries have become commodities, and currently, relatively remote local peoples are suffering from drastic alterations of their natural and socio-cultural habitats. This development is especially pertinent in the case of (dense) tropical rain forests, which are generally situated in distant regions peripheral to the economic and political centres of the respective nation states. At the same time, the state, in different national settings, has greatly extended its visibility, facilitating the transformation of territories and nature into commodities. This visibility is due to state regulatory mechanisms – i.e., regional development planning - which accompany the global run for resources and which affect marginal regions and territories. One important power instrument in this context are efforts to standardize property right regimes, which often put commons under pressure and threaten them to be ruled by (inter-) national land markets. On the other hand, the international community attempts to meet the global challenge of tropical forest conservation – as one of the policies to mitigate loss of biodiversity and climate change - with a range of programmes and measures that have been developed over time (conservation units like parks, certification schemes, payment for eco-system services, regulations and international conventions), but which yield intended and unintended consequences. At the local level (areas of tropical rain forest) these instruments generate consequences for regional and local property regimes – especially for the commons - through forest conservation modalities, development planning policies and massive extraction of resources. Additionally, to analyse resource extraction in tropical rain forests, one of the aims of our panel is to detect the consequences of (inter-)national protection regimes and to understand to which extend they protect or endanger the commons in forest areas. Our understanding is that the maintenance of commons enables local population to protect nature and enhances local people’s chances to survive socially, culturally, and economically. Therefore, we want to invite contributions which deal with the following questions: To what degree do common property regimes still exist in tropical rain forest territories? How they are institutionally sanctioned and protected? What is local peoples’ agency in this respect?  To what extent is the encroachment of the extractive frontier based on the transformation of property right regimes? What are the triggers, who are the actors and whose is the agency of this kind of development? What is the role of the nation-state in this context? To what extend do international environmental conservation schemes affect the commons and contribute to changes in property right regimes? Contributions based upon research in all regions of tropical rain forest (or other forest systems) are welcomed and we expect a fruitful discussion on differences and similarities in global perspective.

Directors
  • Karin Naase
  • Nírvia Ravena, Amazonian University Federal University of Para
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

A03 - Undermining the commons: transnational corporations, mining, and impact on commons governance

In the context of a “super-cycle” of high commodity prices over the last two decades, the fast expansion of extractive industries was accompanied by increasing social conflicts. Switzerland and European based Transnational Corporations and commodity traders play a crucial role in expanding the “frontier of extraction” especially in regions of the “Global South”, where the capital-intensive, large-scale mining industry often collides with local institutions of common-pool management – especially, regarding land, forest, and most of all, water. Mining crucially contributes to the transformation of commons to private and state property, because it gives priority to state-regulated, privatized access to underground mineral resources over the livelihood-base of local communities.

Mining corporations adopted a pioneering role in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR proofs to be useful for immunizing corporations against critique (Kirsch 2014) and as a tool for corporate security (Welker 2014); it thereby supports the imposition of “developmentalist” value-systems, as defined by corporate actors, over the political and socio-cultural sphere through legitimizing discourses that create what miners call the “social license to operate” (Coumans 2011). As an “anti-politics machine” (Ferguson 2006), CSR-related consultation and compensation programs nurture expectations among local populations to participate in “development”, rather than to resist against negative socio-environmental impacts of mining. This exacerbates social divisions and results in complex resistance/negotiation-dynamics, with different sectors taking conflicting positions during a mine’s life-cycle. However, the turn to CSR has also improved the power leverage of local people under certain conditions. Through strategic coalition-building – especially if it is underlined by common values and conceptions of well-being and “the good life” ­– mining projects can be challenged. Conflicts at specific mines can thus become “hot-spots” for contestations, discourses and practices that relate to other places and local movements against large-scale industrial projects, in different stages of development (in the sense of a “politics of time and space”, Kirsch 2014). They may thus be “politics machines”, i.e., a breeding ground for the constitution of shared values that counter mainstream notions of “development”, which again may be the precondition for the bottom-up emergence of new institutions (in the sense of “constitutionality”, see Haller/Acciaioli/Rist 2015) – in this case, regarding the ownership, use and management of mineral resources, and the possibility to conceive mineral resources as “glocal commons”.

The panel calls for presentations that explore aspects of this thematic: from the analysis of local transformations that come with global trends in the mining and commodity trading sector, to the dynamics of local resistance/negotiation and their feedbacks on the global scale, to the potential of linking these scales, not only for more equitable and sustainable extraction, but also exploring linkages to the demand-side (i.e., consumption, recycling etc.).

Directors
  • Thomas Niederberger, University of Bern / Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Peru PUCP
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

A04 - Energy and the commons

Free panel

Directors
  • Bern Conference Team
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

A05 - The climate change dilemma: global and local scales in climate science

This panel suggests treating climate as a common and explores the scientific and ideological causes of a crucial dilemma behind the failure of climate politics: the emergence of a predominance of global perspectives, conceptions and knowledge of climate, in short the globalization of climate knowledge, which does not translate into local knowledge, experience and political action. On the one hand, twentieth century climate science improved an understanding of global climate change tremendously. On the other hand, it focused on reductionist quantification and modeling, and an emphasis on large spatial and temporal scales. The panel offers a contribution to a better understanding of how scientific, technological and political interests pushed a globalizing agenda in climate science and produced a conceptual and discursive detachment of climate knowledge from human scales.

Climatology as conceived in the 19th century by Alexander von Humboldt and others focused on detailed local information. The human dimension – the support of human affairs – was at the core of it. In this conception climate was, first, associated with a specific geographical location, second, directly linked to human experience, and third, a holistic concept that included the investigation of the mutual interaction of climate and humans on the local scale. This conception retained priority until the mid-20th century, while at the same time a fundamental transformation from geographical to physical understanding, from local concern to global science was underway since the late 19th century and became hegemonic in the postwar era. With this transformation climate knowledge became detached from humans, knowledge-making from meaning-making, and global fact from local value. Climate science represented a powerful global player with a significant impact on ideologies and perceptions, and the tendency to alienate global understanding from local practice.

It is the purpose of the panel to invite scholars in history, geography, anthropology and other fields to investigate the increasing loss of the human scale and its impact on scientific and social perceptions and action. Sets of leading questions are:

1                     How and why did an increasing focus on large spatial and temporal scales in climate research in the 20th century emerge, whereas perspectives on smaller scales, notably on the human scale were increasingly marginalized?

2                     Which scientific, political and cultural interests and contexts proved instrumental in the push to larger scales? How did broader phenomena of economic, political, technological and cultural globalization inform the push towards global scale knowledge?

3                     How did scientists and other global and local actors perceive and negotiate scales of knowledge and the gains and losses of an increasing predominance of climate knowledge on large spatial and temporal scales?

Answers to these questions are important to facilitate effective interfaces between local processes and global understanding.

Directors
  • Dania Achermann, Centre for Science Studies Aarhus University
  • Matthias Heymann, Aarhus University Centre for Science Studies
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

A06 - Transforming the commons: business models of large-scale land investments

The ongoing global trend of large-scale land investments (LSLI) alters governance of the commons worldwide. Evidence is increasing that a considerable diversity of business models is used to implement LSLIs in diverse economic, socio-political and ecological contexts. Business models can be defined as the organizational set-up used by private or public actors to structure their investment and production activities and their integration into value chains. Different business models interact differently with established governance systems (e.g. land tenure regimes, customary and statutory political authority) in the target regions of LSLI. They yield varying impacts in terms of sustainability, as operationalized through food security, environmental justice, altered gender relations, ecological sustainability and other evaluative criteria.

Recent research has identified, classified and described a variety of business models in use for LSLIs. Examples include, but are not limited to, individual farms, contract farming, nucleus estate farms, cooperatives, asset management models, agribusiness estates, and others. Despite the existence of different business models and their evolution in the context of LSLIs, it remains challenging to understand what business models are suited in what socio-political, economic and ecological contexts to perform well for whom and for what specific evaluative criteria. Furthermore, the dynamic interaction of established governance systems at multiple levels with business model choice, evolution and impacts remains largely unclear and requires further research.

This panel aims to advance this debate by bringing together contributions which address one or more of the following themes and questions:

(1)   Characterizing business models: How do different business models organize production, investment, and value chain integration? What types of business models are observed in LSLIs in different countries? What are the best variables to characterize business models and to study the interface between these models and the commons?

(2)   Evolution of business models (robustness, change and failure): Why do some business models operate robustly over time while others fail? How do investors change business models over time? How do resistance and collective action at community-level in target regions affect the evolution of business models?

(3)   Impacts: What are the impacts of different LSLI business models for whom and in terms of what evaluative criteria (e.g. food security, environmental justice, gender, ecological sustainability and other criteria)? Who benefits, who loses and what are the key factors that explain the distribution of benefits? How do perceptions of benefits and disadvantages change over time? Are there specific features of business models that account for more sustainable forms of LSLIs?

(4)   Governance systems: How do different business models change governance systems in target regions of LSLIs? How are they changing the commons from a governance and rights perspective?

Directors
  • Ward Anseeuw
  • Christoph Oberlack, University of Bern Centre for Development and Environment
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

A07 - Land grabbing - a phenomenon in Europe?

This panel deals with European investments in land in Europe. Compared to typical agricultural land transactions of a decade ago, such investments now are larger in scale and quite capital intensive. The trend shows that more non-agricultural investors appear and the number of foreign investors increases. Yet, “foreign” means, here, mainly other European nationalities. This development has attracted attention due to recent increases in agricultural land prices and widespread publicity on the complaints of local farmers. Changes in tenure governance and its socio-ecological outcomes are in the focus of this panel.

Large-scale land acquisitions increasingly take place not only in developing countries of the Global South, but also amidst European States. In contrast to investments in arable land in the Global South, investments in land in Europe are undertaken as an investment in already existing profitable farms. Sometimes, this happens not even by actually buying the land but by buying equity shares in agricultural companies. The Common European Agricultural Policy has partly promoted this trend by subsidizing the sector by area payments. However, land in Europe is not only a commodity traded on a market but fulfills many other nexus functions such as biodiversity host, leachate purifier, and recreation space. Furthermore, ownership of land has a strong emotional aspect and often a cultural meaning beyond the economic return on investment.

The individual presentations in this panel deal with large-scale land acquisitions in industrialized European countries. Europe means the whole continent, not only the EU member states. In contrast to the use of the more neutral term “large-scale land acquisition”, we would like to explore, whether we face similar negative externalities as in the Global South (ignoring the interest of smallholder farmers and rural population) with the investments in Europe. These should be rather framed under a notion with a clearly negative connotation “land grabbing”. Yet, studies on large-scale land acquisitions in Europe have yet to emerge and research is needed on whether there are similar negative externalities possible in countries with a generally functioning legal system, formal land rights guaranteed by the state and no dependence on the access to agricultural land for the livelihood of a large share of the population.

As important as large-scale acquisition of land is the issue of the ongoing trend of land ownership concentration in Europe. How the interaction of both processes works has rarely been studied. We would like to explore in particular the social implications of concentration in land ownership within Europe, including the impact on community engagement as a form of social commons. Another important feature we hope to examine is the environmental impacts due to the standardization necessary for agricultural production on large tracts of land, such as monoculture and nitrate pollution due to intensification.

With the individual contributions in this organized panel we plan to approach the following questions:

Christoph Oberlack (Centre for Development and Environment, University Bern, Switzerland) contributes to this panel by exploring the topic "Adopting the land grab frame in Europe: Pattern and Criteria". In this contribution patterns emerging from meta-analysis on land concentration processes in middle and low-income countries are transferred to the situation in Europe.

We further explore the need for a refined concept of land grabbing in the European context? What are suitable social, cultural, ecological and economic criteria, that needs to be developed and likewise operationalized to apply the concept. The contribution by Ramona Bunkus and Insa Theesefeld (Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany) on “Socio-cultural externalities of European large-scale land deals and concentration processes” will present besides the concept, first results of an empirical study in East-Germany about the role and extent of such various impacts and the perception on those by the rural population.

Natalia Mamonova (Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands) compares current local responses ranging from support to resistance of rural population towards large scale land acquisitions in her paper on "The post-soviet agrarian capitalism ‘from above’ and ‘from below’: agrarian transformation, land grabbing and rural resistance in Russia and Ukraine".

Further open questions to be addressed by other contributors in this panel could be:

Where do these large-scale land deals in Europe currently take place? Is this a phenomenon limited to the Eastern Member States, or can it be found in the meantime in Western Europe, too? Do we see a particular role of non-agricultural investors, or particular purposes?

Which impact do these investments have on the dynamics of commons management of natural resources, such as community pastures or community forests?

Does the appearance of new actors in local arenas hamper local self-governance or are there potentials for leadership capacities that will even enhance bottom-up participatory governance self-organization?

Directors
  • Ramona Bunkus
  • Insa Theesfeld, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg Natural Science Faculty III Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Policy
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

A08 - The impacts of common enclosures on local power relations

Sparked by the food and energy crises, wealthy food and energy- importing countries, as well as private national and international investors are acquiring land at an unprecedented scale, often in poorer “land-abundant” countries, in order to grow food crops and biofuels. While this land rush has also sparked an “academic literature rush”, so far few case studies have focused specifically on the commons and on how local power relations are affected by commons enclosures.

Designated as “wastelands” or unused land by target governments, land governed under various forms of common property arrangements provide an ideal target for foreign and local investments.

Common pool resources however often sustain and enhance people’s livelihoods. Water and fuelwood are collected from rivers and forests and domestic buildings might rely on timber or thatching grass from woodlands. These resources if managed under common property institutions are also used for income-generating activities (e.g. selling fuel wood, woodcarving etc.). Last but not least, common pool resources provide important supplements to local people’s diets and often serve as a “safety net” for households during droughts. Pastoralists, indigenous people and women are generally seen as the main beneficiaries from the commons if they have access through common property institutions.

Despite their crucial function to local livelihoods, discourses of win-win scenarios and efficiency gains by investing in these “unused lands” are persistent.

This panel thus wants to investigate the impact of LSLA on the commons from a political ecology perspective, asking:

- What environmental and social impacts do these commons enclosures have?

- Who benefits and who looses out from commons enclosures?

- How do enclosures of commons affect and alter local power relations?

- How are enclosures of commons legitimized, by whom and with what effects?

Directors
  • Kristina Lanz, University of Berne
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

A09 - Are large scale land acquisitions leading to "commons" and "resilience-grabbing"?

New pesrpectives on land and water governance: this panel addresses the issue of institutional change in the property regimes of common pool resources related to land in various contexts. It extends the view on the Large Scale Land Acquisitions (LSLA) by focussing on the impact of LSLA on land and related common pool resources such as water, forestry, non timber first products, pasture, game etc. European Investment often pays attention to voluntary guidelines and CSR policies in which a) land owners shall be compensated and b) former land users shall profit from getting access to wage labour. However, evidence from 11 research projects at the University of Bern on the issue indicate a dual type of institutional change with problematic consequences:

First, investments in the global south, namely but not exclusively in African contexts, is based on a transformed notion of property: Whereas in pre-colonial institutions land and related common pool resources did not belong to single individuals but rather collectively by group of members coordinated by leading actors, this notion is transformed to a notion of “customary tenure” that is de facto privatization of land controlled by leaders and their heirs who were part of the colonial administrative system. The second transformation takes place in the institutional change of land related common pool resources from common property to state property followed by a process of institutional fragmentation and disconnect of resources, which are interrelated in ecosystems:  Common pool resources are since colonial and post-colonial times managed in separated administrative organisations (ministries) that base their governance on fragmented formal institutions (legislation on water, forests, agriculture/veterinary services, fisheries, conservation etc.), often without coordination.

Under these two conditions LSLAs create a double effect: Frist, access to former communally held lands is no longer possible as former members of a territory are excluded from the land now controlled by the elites and thus cannot ask for compensation when LSLA takes place. Second, access to common pool resources, which is often crucial marginalized members of communities (differences by wealth, age and gender) is no longer possible or not viable anymore as common pool resources deteriorate as a result of LSLAs off site effects namely of reduced or more variable water resources availability. Under LSLA constellations it is the state that provides investors the right to use common pool resources (especially water) or to reduce common pool resources that make way for alternative uses of the land (pasture transformed into irrigated fields, forests cleared, wildlife reduced etc.). Former commoners and related user groups (f.e. pastoralists) therefore find themselves excluded. These changes challenge food security and reduce the capability of actors to meet cash needs from common pool resources, while wage labour is absent (f.e. direct sale of fish and veldt products or sale of secondary uses (access to pasture provide milk for sale and access to water that provides options of vegetable production for sale, etc).

LSLAs seem to undermine these strategies and we look for papers which unpack these processes in concrete case studies. But we are equally interested in unpacking local strategies of collective action, resistance and possible options for institution building in the context of water governance affected by European investments, but papers dealing with other cases are welcomed as well.

 

Directors
  • Thomas Breu
  • Tobias Haller, Institute of Social Anthropology University of Bern Lerchenweg 36 3012 Bern Switzerland
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

A10 - The consequences for the commons of large scale investments in land & infrastructure (Africa, Asia, L. America)

Large scale investments in land and Infrastructure in Africa, Asia and Latin America: what are the consequences for the commons - what is the maneuvering space for collective action?

European companies and funding agencies (often under the cover of various public –private partnerships) are very much involved in large scale investments in land and infrastructure development in various African, Asian and Latin American countries. Large-scale land investments in food and biofuels, but also in urban infrastructure, hydrodams, tourism complexes etc. are contributing to the rapid transformation of the landscapes, restricting people’s access to open commons (land, water, forests etc.) and leading to enclosures and fragmentation or competing claims. Local groups are increasingly under pressure as the consequence of three spatial trends which each is limiting local people’s manoeuvring space (Zoomers 2010): The rapid expansion of food and biofuels promote worldwide ‘monocultivation’, i.e., expansion of the areas used for industrial monocrops, for example soya, oil palm and sugar cane (Borras & Franco 2014; Budidarsono et al. 2014; Cotula 2012, 2014). Even though this might contribute to economic growth (employment, income etc.), it often goes at the cost of freedom of choice. Becoming an outgrower or plantation worker is the only way to benefit, but producing monocrops often make producers more vulnerable (price and climate variability). Second, there is a rapid increase of ‘no-go areas’ as consequence of large scale investments in (eco)-tourism and, in particular, the boom of REDD+ in the context of climate mitigation. Facilitated through multilateral funding for reducing forest emissions, thousands of forest  emission projects are currently being implemented on large areas of land in countries with remaining forest frontiers. Even though local people are supposed to share the benefits (e.g. providing ecological services), levels of remuneration are low and the cost of losing access to common pool resources is often higher than the benefits. In addition, large-scale tourism development (usually at beautiful sites) is occurring in many countries, and is often followed by real estate booms and rapidly rising land prices. In addition, processes of landscape destruction are increasingly a cause of exclusion and displacement. Governments in countries such as Mozambique, Peru, Indonesia, Zambia and Nigeria have generously provided enormous concessions for the exploitation of oil, gas, bauxite, etc. In countries such as China, Vietnam, Brazil and Ecuador, large-scale investments are made in hydropower dams, often in the context of climate change mitigation (green energy), forcing local people to move or become resettled (Pham Huu 2015; Tanner & Allouche 2011). Local groups are at best compensated for their loss of land, but the amount they receive is in many cases not enough to rebuild their livelihood in new locations.

In this panel we aim to analyse the consequences of large-scale investments in land and infrastructure, by focusing in particular on what happens to the commons (local people’s access and use of natural resources). Current discussions are very much driven by questions such as how to stimulate ‘green inclusive growth’, ‘protecting local people’s rights’ (FPIC etc.) and taking care of ‘fair’ compensation. But what are the implications for local people’s manoeuvring space to ‘have the life they value – their capacity to develop their own plans and pursueing collective action? What new kind of civic-public and civic-private partnership do we see, what kind of negotiations are taking place? Do these help to defend ‘development as a freedom’?

Directors
  • Annelies Zoomers, International Development Studies Utrecht University
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

A11 - European zoological gardens, conservation discourse, and the commons in the South

Not too far in the past, the stroll through a zoological garden would have presented itself quite at odds with what we experience today. While the inhabitants of cages or menageries would have been more or less the same - save some rather disturbing ethnological expositions - their purpose and method of exhibition are influenced by different ideological practices. Although the history of displaying the exotic and wild can be traced back to ancient times, developments during the imperial period evoked a boom of sorts. The establishment and institutionalisation of zoological gardens grew dramatically during colonialization from the 15th century onward. Firstly reserved for the pleasures of the elites, by the 19th century enjoying the curiosities won through colonial exploitations moved to the forefront of public Europe. This way, the sovereigns and elites were able to demonstrate proof of what lied beyond, what was conquered. The hierarchy of power from the rulers of the world to their areas of dominance was portrayed in the small encampments of what was soon to be known as zoos. It seemed, at the time, an ideal way of displaying the legitimacy of European rule over the ‘savage’ world.

Moving towards the 20th century, desires to exploit clashed with new desires to preserve and respect what discoveries were made in ‘other’ areas of the globe. No longer could zoos encase animals out of context for simple display but aimed to extend their cages beyond the physical boundaries and use them as platforms. Platforms by which the natural realm could be reconciled with that of man - of the cultural. A new purpose for zoos was born. That of conservation and education.

While conservation developed along its own history, the linkage to zoological practices has become inextricable from it. In light of this, it seems only prudent to establish the relationship between what conservation aims to do and how zoological institutions contribute to this. This relationship, although far from being transparent, has been growing ever more in recent times. The overarching question that has long been at the forefront, is whether the legitimizing instance of zoos has moved beyond colonialization of the physical realm of culture and nature toward one of responsibility over and reconciliation of the two? Which, by no means, precludes the possibility of a new form of colonialism based on ideology, formed by western policies.

By this, the management of what used to be mostly common-pool resources in now postcolonial areas of the world, has become a practise of privatising and securing land and wildlife. Under the basic assumption of resource overuse in the commons, industry, states and other organisations have opted for more privatisation in order to secure them. However, while zoos fight to ensure the survival of wildlife as a commons, the actions taken to secure and monitor them can at the same time, paradoxically, put restrictions on the forestries, grazing land and fisheries which were once also part of common land.

 

Directors
  • Samuel Weissman, Institute of Social Anthropology University of Bern
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

A12 - African farmer-led irrigation: reframing agricultural investment

African irrigation has had a curious history in the last hundred years. Diverse forms of irrigation long pre-dated colonial investment. But the problems of European-lead development schemes in colonial times and the disappointing performance of large irrigation schemes in the 1970s and 80s saw a twenty-year hiatus of large-scale investment. The past decade, however, there has been an intensified focus on African irrigation development. Persistent low productivity in African agriculture and vulnerability of African food supply to increasing instability in international commodity markets are driving pan-African (NEPAD-CAADP) agricultural investment initiatives that identify as a priority the improvement in reliability of water control for agriculture. This panel is founded on the belief that for such initiatives to be effective, there needs to be a re-appraisal of current dynamics of irrigation use in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly with respect to the role of small-scale producers’ initiatives in expanding irrigation. The panel invites reviews and studies of the different forms such small-scale producers’ initiatives take: for example construction of canals to divert streams in hilly areas; management of seasonally-flooded or waterlogged lowlands; and use of small motor pumps to raise water from lakes, rivers or groundwater. It invites examination of the official narratives and statistics on African irrigation and the extent to which they adequately register such activities. The panel considers five key characteristics that it argues contradict widely-held assumptions that inform irrigation policy in Africa. These are (1) farmers’ invest substantially in irrigation; (2) in the process farmers interact with state agencies and markets; (3) farmers innovate as part of broad socio-technical networks; (4) irrigation development does not require formal land tenure; and (5) despite many farmers benefiting from self-developed irrigation, others are adversely affected. Finally the panel invites papers that identify priority areas for research to assess the growth potential and impact of such interactions and strategies for their future development.

Directors
  • Dan Brockington, SIID, University of Sheffield
  • Jean-Philippe Venot
  • Philip Woodhouse
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B13 - All commoners are equal? The impact of different distributions op power and social inequalities within CPIs

All commoners are equal? The impact of different distributions of power and social inequalities within common pool institutions on sustainability and resilience within the premodern era.

Historical institutions for collective action have a track record of successful management of natural resources in Premodern Europe. In an increasingly urbanised, commercialised and exploited world, these institutions were able to reduce risks and costs, while maintaining a sustainable management of the natural environment. Al throughout Europe case studies have shown that these institutions can endure for centuries and can prevent a tragedy of the commons from happening (Ostrom, 1997; De Moor, 2009, 2002; Winchester, 2008, 2010; Lana Berasain, 2008).

 

A bottom up management and regulation of the commons has been pinpointed as one of the vital aspects in obtaining this ecological and social success. Rules were not imposed top down, but were formed from the grass roots level upwards. The involvement of the community of users in managing and regulating the commons and distributing the benefits towards the different strata within rural communities has been a much debated topic. Who was exactly involved and what was their level of impact on the decision making within the community? Was it vital for all the community members to have an actual vote or were village representatives enough? (Haller et al, 2015; Agrawal, 2005) This debate deserves more attention and especially from a historical point of view. Has the concept of participation and decision making evolved through time? But more importantly, historical case studies have shown that the functioning and level of sustainability of the commons could diverge quite significantly, because of divergent social constellations and institutional frameworks. While some societies include practically the entire village community in the common pool institutions and share the ecological benefits among the different social strata, others have a more exclusive constellation. What is the effect of such divergent social constellations on ecology and functionality? Within this panel we will focus on the social distribution of power within communities, the actors behind the common pool institutions and the impact thereof on the functioning of the commons and the level of sustainability in Premodern Europe.

Central topics/discussions will be:

  • The (evolution of the) participation level of community members in common pool institutions
  • The impact of polarised or equitable communities on the distribution of ecological benefits among community
  • The impact of external factors on the participation level within the commons
  • Institutional change because of societal evolutions
  • The link between sustainability and participation level
  • The causes behind exclusive and inclusive institutions
  • Social stratification of excluded groups and the effect upon their social position within society

Directors
  • Maïka De Keyzer, Utrecht University
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B14 - Managing commons: pre-modern perspectives

Since the publication of Garret Hardin’s seminal article on the Tragedy of the Commons has sparked a host of new research on the viability of commons and commonly used resources, most of this new work has focused on the twentieth century. While the importance of these results for today’s industrialised economies and societies are undoubted, historical research examining pre-modern arrangements that managed commons not for decades, but for centuries can provide new insights into the working of commons management regimes. They are intriguing not only point of reference for theoretical considerations about the nature of commonly used resources, but also provide practical examples for management that proved successful (or not) in dealing with changing political, social, cultural and ecological environments. Thus they can serve as a test for contemporary and theoretical assumptions.


Questions to be asked by papers in this panel include:
Which cultural, social and economic roles did commonly used resources play in pre-modern communities?
How did pre-modern communities manage commons to make them viable over long periods of time?
Which factors were responsible for success and failure?

Directors
  • Michael Zeheter, Universität Trier
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B 15 - Switzerland as a laboratory for governance innovations in the management of CPRs - historical approaches

Among currently active common property institutions in Switzerland the diversity is considerably high and rise international interest in the Swiss Way of governing common pool resources (CPRs such as pasture, water and forestry). In his classical publication from 1879, August v. Miaskowski states that Switzerland with its diversity (including political decentralization and participation) can be seen as a laboratory for gover nance innovations in the management of CPRs. That issue of laboratory can also be related to the work of Robert Netting on pasture and water management in Törbel (Valais), influencing Elinor Ostrom’s design principles for the sustainable institutions for CPR management and newer work dealing with the sense of ownership of bottom-up institution building processes for the commons (constitutionality) also refers to the conditions of innovations which is found in the Swiss decentralised and participatory political system (Haller et al 2015).

In the context of modern public administration the robustness of the commons linked to civic corporations («Bürgergemeinden») and corporations («Korporationen») can only be explained by having a historical analysis in

the longue durée. In this panel we will ask, how these systems remain robust and how they adapt, endure or are newly crafted under the pressure of economic or political change over the last three centuries.

The long-term utilisation of the collective resources has to be analysed in the context of changing «energy ages» (Pfister / Egli 1998): The «agrarian society» which was most of all based on solar energy (until 1850), the «industrial society» which was based on coal imports after the country had been connected to the railway network (1850-1950), the «consumption society» which was characterised by mass consumption and mass motorisation based on the global availability of mineral oil (after 1950). How was collective agriculture affected by the changed economic significance of the analysed resources in the course of these three ages? How did resource users adapt the common property institutions in order to react to these changes? Where could the observed practices be located in the context of today´s concept of sustainability with its ecologic, economic and social dimensions?

Additionally, one will also have to ask in which ways institutions and resource management were affected by the political dynamics during the period under analysis – from the Ancien Régime to the period of transition into the constitutional and federal state which started with the Helvetic period. How did the pre-modern institutions succeed with adjusting to the modern constitutional state? How did they adjust their collective use of resources to the changed political environment, or how – vice versa – did they influence it? And how are the political changes related to those of the energy system?

Directors
  • Martin Stuber, Institute of History, University of Bern
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B16 - Consitutionality and bottom-up institution building processes: lessons from Europe

This panel outlines the recently proposed approach for analysing bottom-up institution building processes, with a special focus on new legal forms and collective action linked with local views on and local motivation for crafting institutions. There seems to be an important gap in the literature on institution building with regard to local perceptions of common pool resource management (Ostrom pers. com in Zurich 2011). Ostrom’s work highlights the way successful institutions work and which aspects are important for their success (Ostrom 1990, 2005; Poteete, Jansen and Ostrom 2010). Others such as Ensminger have highlighted the role that the bargaining power of actors and ideology play in the institution-building process (see Ensminger 1992, 1998; Haller ed 2010). However, there is very little research on how local actors themselves view (i.e. emically) an institution-building process in retrospective. The new approach which was first based on partially successful case studies of bottom-up building processes (by-laws for fisheries in Zambia; and local conventions for pasture and forestry in Mali) was proposed by Haller et al (2015), stemming from real cases of recent self-driven institution building. Additional case studies from Spain, Israel, and Switzerland, in which emic views become apparent in several new legal forms such as by-laws and conventions that are based on local participation will be discussed in accordance to such self-driven processes of “constitutionality”, which we see as a conscious process of institution building from below, and which does not suffer from the drawbacks of top-down imposed processes of democratisation, decentralisation and participation, which are often subject to processes of elite capture. Contesting the view that subjects internalise governmentally imposed frames of viewing the world by ‘participating’ in institutions (see Agrawal 2005), this perspective emphasises instead how local actors construct a sense of ownership in the institution-building process that can take new more formalized form such as conventions and by-laws. What are the conditions from a local view for such successful institution building cases? As a basis, we use theory of practice, actor-oriented approaches and a variant of the New Institutionalism approach in social anthropology. This approach incorporates power and heterogeneous group interest, and the theory of social learning. The panel should make us understand from a local perspective why and how constitutionality works, even in politically heterogeneous settings. The panel focuses on European cases of Constitutionality in which the rule of law and democratic participation is often stronger than in the Global South, however with significant differences, such as cases from Spain, Switzerland and other countries will show.

Directors
  • Ramez Eid, Sakhnin College; The Technion Israel
  • Gabriela Landolt
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B17 - Common-pool resource institutions in the shadow of the State

Policy analysts are often victims of the biased view that CPR institutions are a relic of the past condemned to disappear in the context of today’s public policies. This is due to a presumed loss of functionality by such institutions, which suffer from competition with modern states, whose policies have shifted resource management responsibilities to higher decisional levels, resulting in less room to maneuver for local property rights holders, in particular CPR institutions.

In a world organized in nation states – even if these states are “weak” –, the perpetuation of local CPR institutions

need often to be understood in connection with the role played by higher levels of organization. Although it appears difficult in some cases to find any formal traces of state intervention, it must nevertheless be admitted that self-organization is often made possible because of the “shadow of hierarchy” (Scharpf 1994). As Bratton (1989) puts it, the state “may be incompletely formed, weak, and retreating, but it is not going to wither away”.

This panel aims to open the black box of Ostrom’s 8th design principle focusing on embedded regimes, i.e. on the necessity to “build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system.” Indeed repeated empirical observations focusing on the regulation processes associated with several natural resources stressed the specific role played by CPR institutions, which have survived in many cases, despite the predictions of their inevitable demise. Thus, it would appear that some CPR institutions have managed to adapt to the economic, technological, social, political, and institutional changes that have affected the development of central states over the past century.

This panel aim to address the following questions: (1) What role do CPR institutions play within the implementation process of natural resource management policies? (2) What are the conditions of the perpetuation of CPR institutions within countries characterized by a growing density of policy regulations and an exclusive property rights regime? (3) What are the advantages and disadvantages of political-legal arrangements involving CPR institutions in the implementation of sustainable resource management policies?

Directors
  • Jean-David Gerber, University of Bern
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B18 - Analysis of collective action in payment for ecosystem services contexts

Payments for ecosystem services (PES) have become a popular approach in addressing environmental degradation in Europe. This has been particularly the case in the agricultural sector. Payments for conservation agriculture in the EU (also called Agro Environmental Schemes) amounted to E22 billion of the Union’s 2007-2013 budget. The European Commission spent €3.23 billion on AES in 2012, a figure two orders of magnitude higher than the cost of managing Natura 2000 sites. Given these figures it is important to understand the conditions under which farmers are willing to participate in AES programs, and more specifically, the role that collective action dynamics play in those decisions.

Some scholars argue that PES should be seen as institutions for collective action rather than just economic incentives. At last three reasons motivate this view. First, the effectiveness of many conservation practices strongly depends on threshold and agglomeration effects. In some cases the practices are only effective if they are applied by a minimum number of resource users (see, for example, biological pest control practices). In other cases the practices need to follow certain spatial configurations (see, for example, practices contributing to the creation and/or maintenance of ecological corridors in the agricultural and forestry sectors). Second, some environmental outcomes can only be measured at aggregate level, implying that payments are made conditional on collective outcomes. Third, where resources are owned jointly or managed by groups of users, payments to groups imply collective action dilemma for the group members. Our knowledge about how PES design and contextual factors influence the behavior of resource users (e.g., their willingness to participate in PES, coordinate, comply with the practices) in such settings is rather rudimentary.

Looking at PES from a collective action and institutional approach, entails understanding soil and water-related Ecosystem Services as commons in different degrees, paying attention to the associated social dilemmas (e.g., provision and coordination problems) that resource users face in the implementation of resource conservation practices, and recognizing the role that institutions can play in aggravating or overcoming those dilemmas. The theory of the commons may be useful to better understand cooperation in PES contexts; however, a straightforward application of the theory may not be entirely appropriate or sufficient. The theory has proven great value to explain the sustainability of self-organized common property regimes for the management of common pool resources at local levels. Although PES can be implemented in those contexts, they can be also used in many other contexts. Furthermore, the introduction of PES may affect pro-social preferences and thereby cooperation.

Some of the questions to drive the panel are: To what extent do different design attributes of PES influence collective action in the implementation of environmental conservation practices? Which institutional factors contribute to the success of group PES? To which extent can PES influence pro-social behavior and long-term collective action dynamics? To what degree can the theory of the commons help us to understand the success of PES in local contexts? How is the PES context different from the situations usually addressed by the theory of the commons? To what extent can methods applied by commons scholars be used to better understand collective action dynamics in PES contexts?

To start addressing these and other related questions, the panel will include 4 papers uncovering the diversity of resource use contexts, countries and analytical methods.

Directors
  • Stefanie Engel
  • Sergio Villamayor-Tomas, Institute of Environmental Science and Technology
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B19 - Networking, comparing, and integrating urban commons initiatives in research and action

The organization of this panel is imagined around the topics explored within two ongoing European projects MAZI, meaning “together” in Greek, and NET commons. These research projects imply comparative analyses of similarities and differences, to unlock the potential for networking and integrative practices within urban commons initiatives concerned with various key aspects such as communication, nutrition, housing, and social infrastructure. For instance, the more information and communication technologies (ICTs) play a central role in our everyday communications, the more critical it becomes who has authorship in their design, who owns the corresponding infrastructure and information generated, who makes important decisions, and according to which objectives. A long-term vision of these research consortia is to collaborate in the spirit of sustainable living, while advancing the rich European democratic heritage through research and action within specific cultures that shape their current and future collective living in the midst of diversity.

The NET commons and MAZI projects bring together partners from different disciplines: computer networks, social sciences including law and urban studies, human-computer interaction, community informatics, and design research. In the MAZI project, the academic partners collaborate closely with four community partners to benefit from the grounded experience of citizen engagement. These case studies refer to a) an international network of urban researchers and activists (INURA Zurich), b) an urban community garden in Berlin, Prinzessinnengarten, c) a pioneering community in grass-roots communication networks, Deptford, London, and d) a nomad group interested in urban regeneration and social integration, the unMonastery Athens. Drawing on the diverse mix of competencies, the projects develop a transdisciplinary research framework guiding a series of long-term pilot studies, and enhanced by various cross-fertilization events. While space becomes inherently hybrid (virtual and physical), the disciplinary gaps between engineers, interaction designers, and social scientists seem to become wider; with the commercial 'smart city' vision advancing in a rapid pace, we extend and redefine Henri Lefebvre's cry for “the right to the city” as the right to the hybrid city. MAZI consortium understands the 'smart city' project as an opportunity for sustainable living, generated by the advancement of ICTs, by engaging citizens in the decision-making processes on local issues that concern their everyday life, by stimulating grass-roots participation in political life and thus social cohesion in the long-term, and by connecting local communities through broader networked systems. As a means to bring closer together those living in physical proximity, the projects invest in the paradigm of technology-supported networking by developing a Do-It-Yourself networking toolkit that offers tools and guidelines for the easy deployment and customization of local networks and services. This research activity comes as a response to the need of common vocabularies, shared understandings and suitable boundary objects that will facilitate the collaboration of engineers with social scientists, user-centred designers, and community activists, in both educating people as well as in providing the necessary tools for them to claim their rights to the hybrid city, innovate at the local level and shape their hybrid urban space through inclusive and participatory processes.

Directors
  • Ileana Apostol, Nethood
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B20 - Emergence of smart cities - a confluence of common and private resources towards a new definition of urban commons

The Proposed initiative of development of a hundred smart cities in India over the next five years was inspired by the encouraging experience of Europe of last decade plus, starting from the use of ICT in urban governance to integrated management of civic amenities in different metropolitan cities in Europe.

 

The concept of smart city may be described as “a technology driven urban commons, that brings together technologies at hard and soft levels, to offer not only basic infrastructure to its residents, but to give a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment, through application of a range of smart solutions.  Creation and maintenance of basic infrastructure, in terms of assured water supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, robust IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation, safety and security of citizen to become available and accessible to all.”

The smart city concept is gaining attention not only in countries such as India, but in the rest of the world too, where the leadership and commitment of technology leaders is catalyzing the transformation of people centric cities. The progress made so far in creating and sustaining smart cities across the globe needs a fresh look and

understanding from the perspectives of how commons lead the future urban habitat.

The proposed panel would like to examine the concept of Smart Cities of India, and contrast it with the advances that other countries made in the area. It is proposed that the research may focus on the following three dimensions, and also examine, any corollaries that help better explain the praxis of new urban commons.

 

Inter alia, the panel would like to invite papers that examine:

 

The axiom of the use of urban land – primarily, a common property, as the backbone for the creation of a smart city. Such a strategy, throws open the challenges of dovetailing commons with physical infrastructure, virtual governance systems and institutions together by private and public organizations along with citizens. Study of creating land based commons in urban congregations and the challenges involved with regard to addressing the common/private property ownership for land – across different parts of the globe – which will include collective action for institutional development and management;

 

The co-creation of new systems of urban community management in terms of:  technology hardware installations; service delivery, management and upkeep with people participation, partnership and ownership roles for the physical and virtual property resources on one-side and development and upgrading of systems, methods and management practices on the other side with evolving of people’s organizations and other forms of new age institutions may be addressed in the second dimension; and,

 

Learning from the experiences of the last decade, of the deployment of smart services such as home land security systems, intelligent traffic management systems; and ground and surface water management methods, managing river water flows and potable water supply systems  from the existing smart cities; the experiments of inter-linking smart cities with smart villages and paving way for successful climate smart “rurban” habitats through the collective interfaces of people’s organizations and development institutions , offering a potential for polycentric e-governance for livelihoods, market access and climate change mitigation -  may be addressed in the third dimension.

Directors
  • Ramanacharyulu Amaravadi, Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship Bangalore India
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B21 - Urban commons in a "glocal" world

Free panel

Directors
  • Bern Conference Team
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B22 - Collective action regimes, co-management, and the commons

Free panel

Directors
  • Bern Conference Team
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B23 - Collective action for the survival of forest commons in Europe

Globalization affects forest management by accentuating economies of scale. Global scale actors who are not embedded in local institutional arenas may challenge local institutions’ ability to effectively govern forest resources and landscapes. The survival of forest commons in Europe under a new set of vulnerabilities depends on an institutional capacity to learn and adapt to on-going changes. Forest commons provide interesting examples of adaptive behavior and offer promising learning experiences. We argue that CPR regimes can drive purposeful institutional change for sustainability by introducing social innovation.

The session will target a conceptual discussion on the ongoing dynamics of forest commons. In particular to understand the factors essential for innovations and sustainable management under global market pressures. The panel will comprise eight presentations to address the key challenges of forest commons survival and the role of innovative institutional models, social enterprises, climate change adaptations, and ecosystem service governance.

 

Directors
  • Tatiana Kluvankova, Institute of Forest Ecology SAS
  • Andrej Udovč, University of Ljubljana Biotechnical faculty
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B24 - Influence of European & internat. forest policies, investments & discourses on local contexts & counter-responses

From a historical perspective, the panel will look into how the European and international way of dealing with forest matters affects local contexts, influences national state frameworks on forestry and into how communities respond to it.

Some presentations will shed light on the discursive elements coined by Europe such as illegal logging, sustainability/sustainable management, forest governance, protected areas, logging, timber as driver of economic development and on how they reappear in specific local contexts. Others will rather focus on impacts of European and international action under laws and programs such as Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) or REDD as well as the impacts of European investments in specific situations. How are local discourses, policies and livelihoods influenced by the mentioned elements? The presentations will highlight how a certain type of dealing with forests is anchored in power structures and is legitimised. The analysis is based on concepts of political ecology such as by Jesse Ribot.

The panel will furthermore highlight how these policies, investments and discursive elements are adapted and reinterpreted in specific contexts as well as into how local communities respond to them. It will bring up issues such as collective action within specific national forestry frameworks and forest discourses inspired by research done by Elinor Ostrom and Arun Agrawal.

The panel also aims at a historical perspective. A lot of European countries were colonial powers in countries of the South. Some of today's forest laws and policies in countries of the South can be traced back to colonial times and reflect European perceptions of forests from that time. Today's forest policies of many countries of the South are influenced by their colonial past. The dominant understanding of forests as timber producers interlinked with their perception as driver of economic growth roots in colonial European understanding. Also the other dominant international discourse, the environmental discourse, that perceives forests as places that should remain untouched by human beings, finds its origin partly in Europe.

 

Directors
  • Lysann Schneider
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B25 - The spiritual dimensions of commons - missing link in scientific and policy debates?

Commons are increasingly recognised by research and policy makers for the high relevance they have for organizing locally based, but globally articulated, poly-centric forms of governing societies and nature beyond the market and the state. However, the increasing recognition of their potentials for creating more sustainable futures is still quite static and essentialist: Although thousands of case studies demonstrate the institutional and political feasibility of CPRM in highly complex and heterogeneous settings, the cultural processes related to their maintenance, defence, weakening or expansion are not yet figured out well.

This becomes even truer, if cultural processes are analysed as closely linked to spiritual practices and principles, which play a crucial role in reaffirming, transforming basic values entailed by the lifeworld of people related to the commons.

This panel will therefore address the role of spiritual practices related to different cultural groups struggling for defining existing, or creating new commons related to key natural resources, such as the atmosphere, land, biodiversity, water and also local forms of knowledge related to them.

This means to also asking if there are commons- specific ontologies and related alternative notions of “development” e.g. “vivir bien”, that would allow to better grasp with the missing links between spiritual practices and principles, the lifeworlds of commoners and the specific institutional dynamics and transformations of their common property rights regimes and the ways they articulate with the wider societal structures?

The question if there are inter-culturally similarities of spiritual practices is based on case studies on the links of spiritual practices of indigenous people from South America, native nations from Africa, Canada, and India, adherents to liberation theology and deep ecology in Europe. What are the implications of considering spiritual implications of the commons for research and policy aiming at supporting them, is another question of this panel.

The guiding question of the panel is: Are there patterns of collective action that are conductive for the re/creation of commons? The preliminary answer is: Collective action for the re/creation of the commons has also to with the – not yet sufficiently acknowledged – spiritual resources of tradition, emancipation, transformative spirituality and Cosmo-vision.

Directors
  • Beat Dietschy
  • Josef Estermann
  • Stephan Rist, Centre for Development and Environment; Institute of Geography
  • Bruno Stoeckli
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

B26 - Geographical indications as a tool for providing public goods

The Geographical Indication is an intellectual property right (IPR) aimed at protecting denominations related to products that have a strong link to the geographical origin.

As such, those intellectual property rights have a collective nature, because the products concerned originate, both from a historical and a geographical perspective, from a territory where resources and know-how are shared among the inhabitants. This inherent nature of this particular property rights explains why there is generally a collective organisation for the management of the GI products.

More than 1500 European products have been registered so far by the European Commission, showing the special importance of this tool for Europe for developing competitive regional niche food products and giving rural area more chance to access global market. EU is currently working on extending the legal protection to non-agricultural products. Such initiatives of protection for regional food products have shown positive impacts on collective management of pool resources at local levels, like biodiversity, cultural landscapes or traditional knowledge.

Raising awareness and interest for enrolling the actors in a shared approach of the commons is most often a key success factor for developing and implementing action plans. Therefore, the proposed panel will discuss if there are experiences and which are the perspectives to make use of the collective action initiated for the Geographical Indications products for developing participatory approaches for the collective management of the commons. We will discuss this around some case studies.

Directors
  • Dominique Barjolle, ETH
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C27 - Law, commons, and sustainable development goals - exploring law's role in promoting sustainability of the commons

The year 2015 will have been significant for global environmental governance. The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015, and the potential agreement of a climate change “legal instrument” at Paris in December 2015 have strong implications for the international law of sustainable development. Developments at the global level have often been analysed closely but not necessarily in a comprehensive manner. Thus, the combined impacts of changes in different areas of global governance, such as issues concerning knowledge commons (and their privatisation through intellectual property rights) have not always been seen comprehensively in terms of their impacts on local environmental governance.

The interaction between the global and local in international (environmental) law is of particular importance for the commons. For example, in the water sector, water law has primarily developed through domestic laws. However, the global context is of immediate relevance, since the hydrological cycle does not separate water issues into domestic jurisdictions as the law often does. This has implications not only environmentally, but also in terms of human rights and development. Similar tensions exist over forest ecosystems. As the international community recognised the value of forests to climate change mitigation the need to reform domestic forest law for the global public good has led to complex multilevel dialogues amongst competing forest interests.

This panel will seek to explore the role of law in ‘governing the commons’ and promoting sustainability in the context of the sustainable development goals that will shape development policy for the next many years. The speakers will present on a variety of commons and sustainable development goal related fields, such as water, climate, health, sanitation, and forests. Through interacting with both the international and domestic contexts of law and policy in different subject areas, the panel will further explore the linkages between local and global boundaries that are shared across various ‘sustainable development’ regimes

 

Directors
  • Philippe Cullet, SOAS University of London
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C28 - Trade and commons: an ambivalent relationship?

Whether “commons” are effectively supported very much depends on how markets – in particular the commodity and food markets – are shaped. (Existing or missing) market opportunities co-define the way how property rights are shaped, and whether they are implemented. This contribution will reflect on the extent to which the current trade regime directly or indirectly impacts on land property regimes, particularly in the Global South. In addition, it

explores the un-covered potential of trade law to strengthen the protection of commons, by i.a. comparing to the international regime of intellectual property protection, and examines the participatory avenues for local actors and government to uncover such potential. For illustration, the author will include examples from research and debates in which the author is directly involved, including the R4D food sustainability, the FAO/IASS project on strengthening the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Land Tenure (VGGT) (i.a. by working towards more coherent international economic regimes), the SDC lead project on access to justice in land property, and the CDE led project on the impacts of the commodity sector of Switzerland.

Directors
  • Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C29 - Enivronmental justice and the prospect of commons for sustainable development

The socio-ecological values of commons for sustainable development are increasingly recognized by research and policy. However, when critically reviewing to what degree the basic values and principles underlying the manifold versions of CPRM are linking to the corresponding values and principles of sustainability, the recognition is mainly based on the environmental dimension of sustainability. It therefore remains largely unclear, how aspects of commons relate to the social, political and cultural dimensions of sustainability. However, in order to establish this link a normative reference of the social, political and cultural dimensions of sustainability is required.

A highly adequate contribution to this purpose represents the idea of environmental justice. It is defined in a broad sense as the integration of various elements stemming from theories of social sciences and humanities and the concepts on the same matter emerging from social and environmental movements (Schlosberg, 2007) represents such a path breaking contribution to sustainable development. Environmental justice aims to link distributive (social) justice with issues related to differentiated affectation of different social groups by positive and negative environmental externalities, and the question on how human societies can respect the rights of non-human communities of the biosphere (ecological justice). Environmental justice is given if the equal distribution of social and ecological goods and services are recognized and allow expressing the capabilities and legitimate participation of local people in adequate ways, recognizing that this needs to be balanced with the requirements deriving from ecological justices.

In this panel we propose discussing how the concept of environmental justice can be applied and made operational for understanding and innovating the governance of the commons represented by the atmosphere (climate change governance), biodiversity, water and land.

Directors
  • Stephan Rist, Centre for Development and Environment; Institute of Geography
  • David Schlosberg
  • Flurina Schneider
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C30 - Music and the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage debate

In 2003, the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage defined the concept of non-material culture as “the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage” (Article 2, Paragraph 1). Being one major expression of intangible cultural practices, music has been focal issue within the UNESCO safeguarding campaigns intertwined with concepts such as sustainability. The subsequently established national UNESCO immaterial cultural heritage lists include, for instance, the Argentine tango, Spanish flamenco, Lithuanian sutartinės or Korean p’ansori singing.

The processes involving the implementation of these lists have been highly complex and extremely heterogeneous. As Article 12 emphasized further, „each State Party shall draw up, in a manner geared to its own situation, one or more inventories of the intangible cultural heritage, present in its territory and monitor these.“ However, while this hints at an ideal concept that perceives UNESCO as a neutral framework facilitating an equal exchange process of all parties involved, the local results often represent a highly unbalanced situation.

Looking back on the lists established so far, this panel will reflect on the preceding selection methods, hereby not only analyzing the musical choices, but particularly also the representative groups involved in the selection process. Who is actually selecting the representatives? Which role do governmental bodies and NGOs play here and how far were local traditions met on equal level? How and to what extent have academically trained researchers been present in the process? Are there best practice models?

Moreover, the panel will particularly address the consequences of the existent lists. Set up to protect significant and

endangered traditions, some lists have indeed implemented local music traditions quite well (as in the case of Fado). In other cases, however, the lists created conflictual situations, as they could only include a selected number of traditions from specific regions. The positive intentions of the UNESCO lists have thus not only led to the exclusion of other traditions, but also of performer groups and communities. Given the increasing number of UNESCO intangible cultural heritage lists – what are the problems that have come up so far? Can they be solved at all? How can the UNESCO’s role be accessed here? And how far do the current problems reflect deviating concepts of tradition, heritage, and sustainability of UNESCO and local communities?

Directors
  • Britta Sweers, Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Universität Bern (Switzerland)
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C31 - Commons, conservation, conflict, and co-management in Europe

This panel will discuss the influence that legislation in Europe (both national legislation and Europe-wide legislation) for the conservation of nature has on the management of common pool resource systems on land and at sea. Papers would be welcome both on instances of challenges that conservation legislation and designations create for the management of commons, and also on efforts to resolve these challenges through innovative ways of creating or strengthening community governance systems that fit with or contest conservation aims. Papers which seek to give more overarching accounts of the architecture and origins of conservation legislation in Europe, and how its principles and requirements relate to the management of commons, would also be welcome. It is anticipated that the papers will be followed by a discussion on: the main challenges to commons governance that have emerged from the session; the drivers that create these challenges; and the potential for successful solutions to be found.

Directors
  • Iain MacKinnon
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C32 - Blue communities, collective action for self-declared principles of resource governance - potentials & limitations

TBA

Directors
  • Andreas Klaey
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C33 - Coherence of international laws and trade treaties in respecting the rights to water and sanitation

TBA

Directors
  • Andreas Klaey
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C34 - Multinational corporations and the commons: the role of criminal law

TBA

Directors
  • Julia Eckert
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C35 - "Local knowledge" in climate politics: negotiating climate responsibility

TBA

Directors
  • Julia Eckert
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C36 - Dissolving the commons: pastoral land rights, state intervention, and international actors in Central Eurasia

Pastoral land rights in Central Eurasia have traditionally been held as communal property, either by kin groups, aristocratic fiefdoms or, later, socialist administrative units. In the course of the 20th century various forms of state intervention have changed this picture, although in practice most land was still utilized in ways that did not allow exclusive access to individual pastures. Even though sedentarisation was much propagated by socialist modernisers, the impacts were not as severe and often only temporary.

 

The situation took a new turn in recent years when state efforts towards the creation of stable user groups or fenced property started to interfere, or threatened to, more profoundly with the traditional system. Apart from the image of nomads as being backward this was further fuelled by the accusations that common property regimes are responsible for land degradation and consequent hazards. Following the “Tragedy of the Commons”-paradigm state officials as well as international advisors and European donor agencies stressed the need for clearly defined property rights and rules of access.

 

So far, the implementation of these ideas varies across the region. While the Chinese government has resumed its active policy towards sedentarisation, in Mongolia the new land law is still very much a written document with little meaning beyond the respective ministry. The former Soviet republics, including Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Federation, on the other hand, are just regaining former livestock numbers and have little issue with pasture depletion anyway.

 

In this panel we will look comparatively at differences in policies of dissolving the commons in Central Eurasia and the way pastoralists respond to this. Actors involved in this include besides local and national governments also increasingly international and semi-governmental organisations such as the Swiss SDC or the German GIZ pushing for universal and standardised property rights and livestock management regimes. But resistance towards sedentarisation and more exclusive land rights is by no means universal. People may either stand up against, ignore or actively utilise new property regimes for their own (assumed) benefit. In other cases, effective resistance is hampered by a lack of collective action among herders. What we aim to look at is then the respective interests actors have, the institutional frameworks within which they operate and the relative bargaining power of different groups of actors.

Directors
  • Peter Finke, University of Zurich
  • Emilia Sulek, Institute of Asian and African Studies Humboldt University of Berlin
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C37 -The commons in (post-)conflict zones

Over the past decades an increasing area of the world’s commons has been part of zones where political instability and civil conflict has deeply affected the lives of the population. Some areas have been beyond control of the state for decades, such as in South Sudan, parts of Afghanistan, DRC and parts of Colombia, India and South-East Asia, where rebels effectively controlled territory for many years. This has also affected the ways in which local people managed their land and natural resources. In this panel we want to take stock of the influence of conflict on the institutions and the management of the commons. Despite the fact that these conflicts are often local, the ways in which they are managed remain embedded in global systems of global governance, and actors refer to global discourses of security. As a result, conflict management is a ‘glocal’ field of study by nature. We are interested not only in how institutions and management evolve in conflict areas, but also in the dynamics of post-conflict situations. We would like to focus on questions like: Does the disruption caused by conflict situations weaken local level institutions for the management of the commons and opens up possibilities for powerful (global) actors to appropriate commons during and after conflict? Do armed conflicts lead to the militarization of natural resource management? What are the consequences of the proliferation of small arms for the institutions and management of natural resources? Do people develop new institutional set-ups during periods of conflict, independent of or in collaboration with government and civil society actors that empower them in post-conflict situations? What are the short and long term consequences of conflict and changes in institutions for the sustainability of the commons?

Directors
  • Han van Dijk, African Studies Centre
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C38 - Digital commons in a "glocal" world

TBA

Directors
  • Massimo Canevacci, University of Rome "La Sapienza" University od Sao Paulo (IEA-USP)
  • Wouter Tebbens, Free Knowledge Institute
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C39 - Theoretical debates on institutions for the management of the commons

This panel deals with new theoretical approaches to address new challenges in the management of the commons. It aims specifically to discuss approaches which try to bring together the analysis of issues of power and ideology and address the issue of genesis of institutions in a wider scope than most theories framed in the rational choice and collective action theorems and notions of polycentricity by including elements of political ecology, human rights, institutional change and the new politics of sustainable redistribution. We will make a link to European contexts but also extend this to the „glocal“ world because European colonial expansion and the globalized market as well as broader discourses of state  and issues of local co-management development had and still have a central impact on the commons on all scales in all societies.

Directors
  • Tobias Haller, Institute of Social Anthropology University of Bern Lerchenweg 36 3012 Bern Switzerland
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C40 - The world of finance and the commons

Free panel

Directors
  • Bern Conference Team
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed

C41 - Using evidence fr. Land Matrix & other data reposit:s to investigate impacts of large-sc. land investments on CPRs

Considerable evidence on the scale, geographical scope and dynamics of large- scale land acquisitions (LSLA) has been collected through efforts of a number of initiatives- amongst them the Land Matrix.

While these initiatives are relatively strong on providing information on the scale of the phenomenon and the broad patterns, they do not provide for the necessary project specific details and projects impacts. Only for a small fraction of the land deals, information is available on previous land tenure status, previous land use, land use change, precise contractual arrangements, (intended) compensation or possible benefits such as social and productive infrastructure, job creation or involvement of local communities. Specific challenges for common pool resources are seldom reported systematically.

Some of the challenges relate to:

Access to accurate, reliable, specific and dynamic data regarding impacts: The collection of such data is all the more difficult as local specificities have to be taken into account and that the deals – or the implementation of such deals – are highly dynamic. In addition, as Oya (2013) notes, the presentation of quantitative data on the deals themselves as well as on their impacts can represent an instance of ‘false precision’. The panel may discuss the potential and challenges of global datasets to contribute to this objective.

The complexity of measuring of impacts of LSLA: This relates not only to the methods of measuring but also to the identification and definitions of the indicators, which have to be applicable in very different contexts and applied to very divergent cases of LSLA. The panel may discuss specific challenges in reporting on LSLA in relation to common pool resources.

It has been proven to be a slow process of making available the existing evidence on impacts in an up-to-date, relevant and reliable and accessible format. Too much research is still remaining hidden and too few lessons have been drawn. New approaches and new alliances could advance research and practice alike. Furthermore, questions still remain how exactly the documentation of such impacts and improved transparency on land deals can contribute to steer the process of land acquisition and land investments in view of more equitable and sustainable outcomes.

 

Concretely, the panel aims at presenting and debating the following questions and approaches:

  • Best practices, potentials and challenges related to global data collections on LSLA and their potential contribution to the study of the commons and the study of governance of the commons.
  • What can we learn from current repositories of data on LSLA and how can such repositories contribute towards more detailed, context-specific and relevant discussions regarding impacts of LSLA on common pool resources?
  • Best practices of the use of evidence on LSLA to support weaker stakeholders in their interaction with LSLA in the context of common pool resources.

Directors
  • Ward Anseeuw
  • Markus Giger
  • Peter Messerli, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern
  • Kerstin Nolte
Checked Open Submissions Checked Peer Reviewed


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

For info on other upcoming conferences, please visit our website http://www.iasc-commons.org