Commons in Action
It is indeed a pleasure that the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), is hosting the 13th Biennial Conference in Hyderabad bringing this interesting and eclectic gathering to India in 2011.
For those of you not very familiar with our work, FES has been involved with issues of management and governance of common property land resources in India since 1986. As its work spreads to more than 1 800 villages in six states of the country, FES began to be more associated with its activities around commons. As an institutional member of the IASC since 1999 , we have been regular participants at its biennial conferences since 1998.
The 201 1 Biennial Conference emphasizes on the one hand, the traditional and direct livelihood significance that the commons hold for dependent communities, while and on the other hand the conference wiII see explorations on newer emerging global issues such as climate change. The conference will not only examine the inter-linkages between poverty and the commons, but shall also be a forum to understand, revise and synthesize analytical tools while appreciating methodological challenges. The impact of globalization on the governance of the commons is an important conference focus and affords us the chance to compare and examine legal frameworks from across the world. What we hope will make this conference memorable are the sessions designed around its seven sub-themes. Discussions across these themes will be a fascinating intellectual journey, navigating the analysis of institutional frameworks, the influence of markets on public policy, and the dynamics between these policies and institutions at Iocal, regional, national and international scales against a backdrop of global transition.
The conference has come to south Asia for the first time and what is truly unique about 2011 is that it will be the first instance where a practitioner organization (FES) will host the conference. We take advantage of the momentum already generated in this country through extensive programmes on watershed evelopment, joint forest management, participatory irrigation and overall decentralized governance, and attempt to enrich this conference by bringing together practitioners, decision-makers and scholars to a common meeting place. We are joined by a number of non-government organizations, academic and research organizations and community associations and networks in what is being termed the 'Commons Initiative', in this country.
The Impact story brochure is an effort to highlight the past success stories from around the world, aimed to inspire the ongoing efforts to strengthen the commons. For an international association such as the IASC such exercises couId be of strategic value, and allow us to look at the path we have covered and helps us plan for the future. The diversity of impact stories provide an insight into the strategies that were or could be deployed in impacting efforts on commons.
From an Indian perspective, these international stories would add to the evidence that Commons are not a relic of the past and help reaffirm our resolve in furthering the cause of commons in India.
Jagdeesh Rao Pupala
Executive Director, Foundation for Ecological Security