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Co-managing a Complex Commons: The Case of a Marine Protected Area Established along a Coastal Urban Setting in Brazil

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Seixas, Cristiana Simao
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1587
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Urban Commons
Region: South America
Subject(s): coastal resources
complex systems
Abstract: "Coastal urban areas are often good examples of complex commons. This paper examines the co-management of a marine protected area established in 1997 along the coast of an urban area in Brazil: the Arraial do Cabo Marine Extractive Reserve. The Reserve area is used for fisheries, tourism, port and chemical industry. We use stakeholder analyses to investigate the history of and potential interventions in managing the Reserve. Field research (2005-2007) included informal interviews, structured open-ended interviews, participant observation and archival research. Initially, the co-management involved only the Federal Environmental Agency and the traditional population, especially fishers, and focused mainly on a single-commons: fisheries. Since 2002, a major change in legislation at the national level required the development of a co-management board involving all major stakeholders in order to manage a complex commons: the coastal zone of Arraial do Cabo. Although expected to be more inclusive/participative, this board has not been crafted yet due to numerous stakeholder conflicts and lack of resources/preparedness of many groups, including government. We conclude that co-managing a complex commons requires involvement of all interested parties, particularly when a marine protected area is established along a coastal urban setting. Although there are legal instruments available to develop platforms of resource user negotiation in Brazil, much still has to be improved concerning capacity of stakeholders (including government agents) to engage in collective action and decision making."

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