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Adaptive Governance of Commons: Cases from Indian Forest and Water Management

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Sinha, Himadri
Conference: Commoners and the Changing Commons: Livelihoods, Environmental Security, and Shared Knowledge, the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Mt. Fuji, Japan
Conf. Date: June 3-7
Date: 2013
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8969
Sector: Forestry
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): biodiversity
community participation
Abstract: "Biodiversity conservation essentially requires community involvement. But community-based conservation or community based resource management is not just about communities. It is about governance that starts from the ground up and involves multi-level interactions. Complexities of this multi-level governance create problems but also provide opportunities to combine conservation with development. Multi-level governance may facilitate learning and adaptation in complex social-ecological circumstances. Such arrangements should connect community-based management with regional/national government-level management, link scientific management and traditional management systems, encourage the sharing of knowledge and information, and promote collaboration and dialogue around management goals and outcomes. Governance innovations of this type can thus build capacity to adapt to change and manage for resilience. In India, the criticality of commons with respect to social, ecological and economic perspectives is immense. Currently, the challenges for the local institutions are numerous emanating from the rapid globalization and industrialization process with constant flow of information, money, objects, ideologies and exogenous technologies. In subsistence agrarian economy where people largely depend on agriculture and forests for their livelihood requirements and a trend of transition setting in, the problem is all the more critical. Hence, it is critical for the institutions to be resilient to the increased externalities and complexities arising from the forces of globalize economy. The paper examines the institutional challenges and various social factors that influence the process of resilience building within institutional ambience. The cases of forest and water management from eastern India are considered and analyzed from a multi level governance perspective for ensuring socio-political adaptation, distributive justice and livelihood security. Findings shows that distributive justice and livelihood security remain strong in local emerged institution but their adaptation with Political system require external help and assistance."

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