COMMONERS AND THE CHANGING COMMONS: LIVELIHOODS, ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY, AND SHARED KNOWLEDGE
From the 3rd to 7th of June 2013, the 14th Global Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) was held in Kitafuji, on the northern slopes of Mt. Fuji, Japan’s iconic volcano that was just recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. The conference organization was a collaboration of the IASC with the Onshirin commoners’ federation and the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature.
Onshirin is a federation of 11 villages holding access rights to about 8,000 hectares of land on the slopes of Mt. Fuji. The villagers have been harvesting grass, firewood, lumber , and other natural resources in this area in accordance with rules agreed upon in the early 17th century. The Kitafuji Commons have also been the location of one of Japan’s most valiant struggles to maintain legal rights and a functioning commons in the face of hostile pressures and massive social, economic, and political change. The Conference was the first IASC meeting to be held on a commons and the first to be sponsored by commoners. Around 400 participants from Japan and around the world gathered in Kitafuji to discuss research and practice of the commons.
Dates: June 3 - 7, 2013
Location & Conference Site: Mount Fuji - lake Yamanaka and Fujiyoshida City, Japan
Papers Archives - Conference papers available at the Digital Library of the Commons
Host: Onshirin Regional Public Organization
Japan has a long and rich history in the use, governance, restoration, and defense of commons. Furthermore, as the presentations of many Japanese scholars at the conference showed, new commons keep on being created and invented as people find ways to address new challenges in governing and managing public spaces and natural resources in an urbanized, modern setting. Reflecting this context, a conference included a Policy Forum on the role of the commons in recovery and reconstruction efforts from the tsunami and nuclear disaster of 3.11