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Cross-Scale Institutional Linkages: Perspectives from the Bottom Up

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Berkes, Fikret
Conference: Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium, the Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/2387
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Global Commons
Theory
Region:
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
co-management--theory
institutional analysis
local participatory management
NGOs
resource management--policy
decision making
influence
Abstract: "How do national and international-level institutions affect the capabilities of local users to govern and manage local resources? The question reflects the practical reality that local commons institutions are embedded in and affected by regional, national and global influences. There seem to be two broad categories of influences. First, decisions and developments in the outside world affect the local use of resources. Second, national governments and other national-level organizations are making commitments to manage international and global commons that obligate them to influence the actions of local resource users. This paper is mainly about the first category of influences, (1) understanding how higher-level institutions affect local institutions, and (2) identifying promising institutional forms for cross-scale linkages. "The commons literature is full of examples of destructive state intervention, such as excessive centralization, as found in many parts of Africa, which has stifled existing local institutions and prevented self-organization. However, the literature also contains many examples in which the state has created enabling legislation or has otherwise facilitated the development of local-level institutions. A literature has developed also on forms of institutions with potential for cross-scale linkages. One of these forms is co-management, linking local-level institutions with the government level. A second is multistakeholder bodies. A third is institutions oriented for development, empowerment and co-management (examples: CANARI in St. Lucia, West Indies; number of NGOs in Bangladesh). A fourth is the class of institutions for linking local users with regional agencies (example: epistemic communities leading to the Mediterranean Action Plan). A fifth concerns research and management approaches that enable cross-scale linkages (examples: adaptive management and participatory rural appraisal). Finally, a sixth is the emerging class of institutions for 'citizen science' (examples: watershed associations in Minnesota, USA; Peoples Biodiversity Registers, India)."

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