Digital Library Of The Commons Repository

 

Recent Submissions

Conference Paper
Challenges and opportunities of mineral extraction for energy transition on Indigenous land
(2024) Kellner, Elke
Energy transition is a critical aspect of fulfilling the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, given that approximately two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions stem from energy-related sources. Low-carbon technologies are pivotal in this transition, leading to an increased demand for minerals. Limiting global warming to 2 °C to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement requires a quadrupling of minerals by 2040 than today. Given the current low recovery and recycling rate of these minerals, a substantial portion of the mineral supply must originate from new sources, resulting in an increase in mining activities. The current geopolitical situation, e.g., China's significant control over mineral extraction and refining processes, has led to an increase in domestic mining projects in the Global North. Particularly concerning is the trend of these projects being situated on Indigenous land. A recent publication shows that more than 50 % of mining projects for energy transition are located on or near Indigenous land. 29% of these projects are on land where Indigenous peoples are recognized as managing or exercising some form of control or influence. Indigenous communities, in contrast to recent settlers or colonizers in these regions, rely directly on local natural resources for their livelihoods. This dependency makes them highly vulnerable to environmental changes in addition to their relationships to nature and place-based identity. Consequently, they are particularly exposed to the environmental repercussions of mining activities such as the processes of mining, rehabilitation, and closure. This article gives an overview of the challenges and opportunities of mineral extraction on Indigenous land based on recent literature and exemplary examples. Further, it suggests how western-based social-ecological systems frameworks could be adapted to integrate Indigenous ontologies.
Conference Paper
Cultural fit of institutions: A critical condition to make the 30 by 30 initiative successful
(2024) Kellner, Elke
After extensive negotiations in the last years, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted in December 2022. Target 3 of the framework aims to elevate the global coverage of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures to a minimum of 30 per cent by the year 2030 (also called '30 x 30 initiative'). This goal is a fundamental component of the worldwide endeavour to halt and reverse the decline of biodiversity. However, it is also intended to bring about advantages for both biodiversity and human society by “recognizing and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, including over their traditional territories” (COP 15 2022). Scientists and conservation groups have lauded the ambitious framework, however, concerns persist such as goals to tackle the drivers of biodiversity loss and the lack of legally binding measures (Gilbert 2022). Social scientists pointed out that “achieving target 3 requires new knowledge about the social implications of different scenarios by which it might be implemented. Generating this knowledge will require innovative collaboration across disciplines and sectors.” (Sandbrook et al. 2023). Other scholars mention that the social and economic impacts of the initiative need to be more considered to address social and environmental justice concerns (Schleicher et al. 2019). Reyes-García et al. (2022) emphasize in their perspective on the post-2020 Biodiversity Agenda “that transformative change requires the foregrounding of Indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ rights and agency in biodiversity policy”. This presentation introduces the concept of cultural institutional fit which can be used to assess whether the institutions regulating protected areas adequately account for the different cultural knowledge systems, values, beliefs, customs, and resource uses of the affected human actors.
Conference Paper
Four Decades of Polycentric Evolution in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
(2024) Baehler, Karen; Biddle, Jennifer
This paper reports preliminary results from our application of Baldwin, Thiel, McGinnis, and Kellner's Context-Operations-Outcomes-Feedback (COOF) framework to the case of collaborative watershed management in the Chesapeake Bay region from the 1980s to the present. We provide a novel approach to operationalizing the framework and discuss its utility. Based on initial analysis, we find a low probability of a polycentric governance (PG) arrangement emerging and surviving in the Chesapeake Bay given the evidence of a larger volume of inhibiting conditions compared to enabling conditions in the period leading up to the establishment of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement (CBA) and Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) in 1983-84. Yet these polycentric programs not only formed, but also grew in size, scope, and rigor over the next four decades. Key inhibiting conditions, such as the chronic inability of state leaders to impose pollution limits on politically powerful interests (urban/suburban developers and farmers), have significantly slowed progress toward Bay restoration to date and generated large volumes of criticism. Despite the system's many weaknesses, the original partners (DC, MD, PA, VA and the EPA) have continued to participate, and new partners (DE, NY, and WV) have joined. Some progress has been made toward pollution reduction, and some indicators of Bay health have improved. The paper identifies primary and secondary games played by principal actors within the Bay's PG institutions and emphasizes the vital role play by litigation in maintaining accountability for progress.
Conference Paper
Community-based water management: The case of unregulated self-governance of drinking water systems in coastal Bangladesh
(2024) Hossain, Mohammad Jobayer
Substantial progress has been made toward drinking water access globally, including in Bangladesh, where over 98% of people have basic water services. Bangladesh’s rural water supply policy deploys the responsibility of maintaining the water infrastructure solely to the community, which is performing well for 95% of the country's population for groundwater-based hand pump systems. However, the coastal region in Bangladesh still suffers from chronic water insecurity driven by complex socio-hydrology, resulting in no access to suitable groundwater. To access clean drinking water, this hazard-prone, low-income, climate change vulnerable community depends on community-based adaptation technologies (e.g., Rain-fed Pond, Pond Sand Filter, Rainwater Harvesting) subject to numerous limitations, particularly poor operation and management. Here, we used three theories of common-pool water management: (i) Ostrom’s design principles, (ii) collective action, and (iii) moral economies for water to evaluate the self-governance of the community-based Pond Sand Filter (PSF) system. Data was collected through individual interviews with water users and management personnel in January 2024 in two PSF sites (one functional and another non-functional system) in Khulna, coastal Bangladesh. Our initial findings reveal that the existing management system can be defined more by moral economies for water than collective action and design principles by ensuring access and equity but cannot guarantee sustainable self-governance. We argue that a functional system does not guarantee a good system. The functional PSF system has been running for more than ten years, but there is a lack of trust and accountability in water management. Along with the moral economies for water, we still need design principles and collective action for a sustainable self-governance system. Besides, the self-governance of these common pool resources is a risky responsibility due to the unbearable cost of maintenance and increased threats of climate change. This study will inform the decision maker to make necessary policy reforms to improve service delivery and ensure sustainable water in a low-income, hazard-prone, and climate-change context.
Conference Paper
Dangers of Commonism, or Ostrom vs. the Commonizers
(2024) Theesfeld, Insa; McGinnis, Michael D.; Cole, Daniel H.
The community of scholars exploring governance and institutions for the management of an increasing range of resources systems is steadily growing. As long as we were dealing with classical, traditional natural resource governance, the resource units and property regimes were relatively easy to define. In the last two decades new commons and global commons have been added to the research agendas of commons scholars and gained lots of attention in society. The considered resource unit needs to be specified and may not always be subtractable nor the system excludable. The focus is not the appropriation, but rather the joint provision of the resource system. Following this thought, sometimes, commons have been interpreted as social constructions that guarantee the transformation of society towards sustainability and well-being. From a Bloomington School perspective, we want to critically review this development of the recent radical-normative use of the term “commoning.” After addressing the shifting meaning of “commoning” in the literature, our goal in this paper is to “rescue” “commons” as an analytical concept from normative “commonism.” Inter alia, we not only raise concerns but also offer suggestions for structuring empirical observations in the hope of inspiring more constructive discussion.