IASC Conference 2008


Governing shared resources:
connecting local experience to global challenges

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Photo by Ken Taylor: Keld in upper Swaledale, North Yorkshire

Keynote Speakers

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Professor Elinor Ostrom: ‘A Dynamic Diagnostic Approach’

Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science and Co-Director, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, and Professor (part-time), School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington

Founding Director, Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity, Arizona State University

Elinor Ostrom been associated with the International Association for the Study of the Commons since its early days.  She will discuss the significance of the immense body of important research that has been conducted and is now leading us to a much better understanding of how people successfully or unsuccessfully govern common-pool resources.  With more than 20 years of work behind us it is time to really look toward the future.  Much of our past research has been static.  We must begin to think about dynamic relationships because any institutional arrangements for managing a commons will be facing change from external and internal sources.  How does the institution adapt change over time is a crucial question that we need to address.  Further, we need to develop a diagnostic approach whereby we understand that there are an immense number of potential variables that can affect performance.  We do not have to study all of those variables every time we do a study.  We do, however, have to have a series of core questions that we ask that enable us to identify deeper level variables that may be relevant in some cases and not others.  In this talk, she will present the beginning framework for a diagnostic approach and a dynamic approach.

Rt Rev and Rt Hon The Lord Carey of Clifton

Former Archbishop of Canterbury until his retirement in 2002
Life Peer ‘Lord Carey of Clifton’.
Presentation Fellow of King’s College London, Fellow of Christ’s University College, Canterbury and Fellow of the Library of Congress.

Currently Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire and President of the London College of Theology.
Foundation Board member of the World Economic Forum and Co-Chair of the Council of 100, which seeks to bridge the gulf between the West and Islamic worlds.

Judy Ling Wong OBE

UK Director of Black Environment Network, an organization with an international reputation as the pioneer in the field of ethnic participation in the built and natural environment.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in recognition of her contribution to contemporary environmental thinking. 

Bakary Kante, Director UNEP: “The difficulties of managing global commons”

Director of the Division of Environmental Conventions (DEC) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Former Director of the Environment in Senegal. Played an important role in promoting UNEP’s involvement in the work of the UN Development Groups, and spearheaded the Division of Policy Development and Law (DPDL)’s efforts to develop a number of major projects and programmes including the intergovernmental strategic plan on capacity building and technology support, and international environmental governance.

Bakary Kante has more than 20 years experience as senior manager both at the national, in Senegal, and international levels. He has extensive expertise and experience in the development and implementation of environmental law as well as development policies and human development in general.  A climate change expert, Mr. Kante has led Senegal in all climate change negotiations up until 1999. From 1997 to 1999 he also served as the Chairman of the subsidiary body for policy implementation (SBI) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Professor Kenneth R. Olwig: “Practicing vs. Performing the Commons: Representation, Sheep and the “Tragedy” of the Commons”

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Kenneth Olwig's work has focused upon the tensive relation between the modern scenic conception of landscape, derived from pictorial representation (landskabsbild), and the older notion of landscape as a polity, and the place of that polity, shaped by customary law as represented through political bodies. He is currently interested in pursuing the topic back to both Nordic and Greek conceptions of polity and place (choros) and forward to present day regional and environmental conflicts (e.g. in Frisia). A combination of aesthetic, legal, literary and cultural geographical approaches characterize his approach to landscape and the relationship between society and nature.

This presentation will argue that the cartographic, scenic and landscape architectural representation of the commons has played an important role in the “tragedy” that has occurred for many commons.  By tragedy is meant both their enclosure and the kind of misrepresentation exemplified by Garrett Hardin.  Of particular importance is the representation of the commons as a deadened landscape “scene” for various forms of performance.  Against this representative image of the commons will be presented a notion of the commons as a place conserved through the practicing of use rights and the practice of socio-legal “co-narration” involving “play” of living “natural” metaphor. 

Policy Events:

World Resources Institute will lead an event on the World Resources Report 2008

UK Forestry Commission will lead an event on ‘Community Forestry

International Development Research Centre is sponsoring an event on ‘Creating a political voice for the commons

Rights and Resources Initiative and RECOFTC are organizing an event titled 'The Contested Commons: from conflict to peace'

Rights and Resources Initiative and Forest Peoples Programme will lead an event on ‘Climate Change and Forest Peoples

CCRI will organise an policy forum to explore the Draft Marine Bill and UK marine resources policy

English Heritage will host an event entitled: ‘A very fair field indeed’: the history and archaeology of town commons'

CCRI will manage a plenary session on Landscape and Culture entitled: “Opening Space: approaching commons through new conceptualisations of places and landscapes” with Professor Kenneth Olwig as keynote speaker.

World Resources Institute (WRI) will launch the 2008 World Resources Report – 'Roots of Resilience'


Policy Fora

Several policy events will run in the late afternoon of Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.  The aim of these policy fora is to bring together academics and practitioners with policy makers to explore a particular commons issue and improve understanding.

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