Reaching for New Perspectives on Co-Management: Exploring the Possibilities for Systemic Change and Indigenous Rights under the Interim Measures Agreement in Clayoquot Sound, BC

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"In recent years, cooperative management of resources has received increasing attention from academics, policy makers and resource users alike. Researchers from many disciplines have investigated 'co-management' from a variety of perspectives. As a result, a spectrum of the theoretical and practical implications of co-management regimes has emerged, though it is dominated by a particular scope of inquiry: co-management is seen primarily from a resource-centred perspective. This makes sense. The primary motivation for initiating co-management is typically to ameliorate the management of a resource in crisis, threatened by competing interests and/or knowledge systems. Certainly, ecological considerations are both useful and necessary. Yet the literature reveals a shared understanding that co-management is not only about improving the management of resources, but also about negotiating and redefining relationships between people with varying interests in, and varying degrees of authority over, the resource (Usher 1986, Pinkerton 1989, Finlayson 1994, Hoekema 1994). So, the social and political dimensions of co- management have been acknowledged, but to a limited degree. In considering the significance of co-management, what might be called 'analytical reach' could be augmented. Using the Interim Measures Agreement (IMA) between the government of BC and the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations in Clayoquot Sound as an example, I suggest there is great value in reaching beyond the immediate resource-related issues to explore the broader significance and implications of co-management regimes as political, legal and social phenomena. This 'second level' of analysis provides important theoretical and practical insight into issues such as decentralized power-sharing and indigenous rights."
IASC, co-management, Native Americans, indigenous institutions