Throughout Asia, degradation of natural resources is happening at a higher rate and is a primary environmental concern. Recent tragedies associated with climate change have clear footprints on the deforestation, land degradation and water course changing. A significant proportion of land use conversion is undertaken through rural activities, where resource degradation and deforestation are often the result of over-exploitation by users who make resource-use decisions based on a complex matrix of options and potential outcomes.
Governments, NGOs, and academics have been searching for appropriate policy recommendations that will mitigate the trend of natural resource degradation. By promoting effective policy and building the capacity of key stakeholders, it is envisioned that sustainable development can be promoted at both the top-down and bottom-up perspectives. Capacity building in the field of natural resource management and poverty alleviation is then an urgent need and several policy alternatives have been suggested.
The importance of informed policy guidance in the sustainable governance and management of common-pool resources (CPRs) in general have been recognized due to conflicting and competing demand and uses of these resources in the changing economic context in Asia. This is because these resources are unique in its respect, management of these resources are public in partnership with state and local community but the benefits are at the individual and private level in day-to-day basis. In the larger virtual environmental context, however, the benefits and costs have global implications. There are several modes of governance and management arrangement of these resources in partnership of private-public range.
Several issues related to governance and management need to be addressed that can directly feed in the ongoing policy efforts of decentralization and poverty reduction measures in Asia.
Specifically, the following issues are of interest to seek answers to:
- How can economic growth be prudent together with holding natural resources intact?
- How has decentralization of natural management rights affected the resource conditions, and how have concerns of gender and social inclusion been incorporated in the process?
- How can the sustainability of efforts to improve the productive capacity of CPR systems be assessed in the context of current debate on the effects of climate change and initiative and implementation of new programs such as PES and REDD+?
- How can multiple methods of information gathering and analysis (by multiple methods, we mean both triangulation of methods to get the true picture as well as the combination of socioeconomic methods with the biological science through a combination of micro-macro analytic methods such as remotely sensed data overtime verified by ground-truthing and additional GPS sample point verification process) on CPRs be integrated in the national natural resource policy guidelines and the results used by local managers and users of CPRs, government agencies and scholars?
- What are the effective polycentric policy approaches for governance and management of CPRs that are environmentally sustainable and gender balanced?
The conference will be hosted by the Asian Institute of Technology and will be jointly organized and chaired by professor Ganesh Shivakoti and professor Rajenda P. Shrestha (both Asian Institute of Technology).