Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2009 for her work on commons governance. Her work in particular explored how communities interact with ecological systems to maintain sustainable yields of resources over long time periods without leading to degradation or collapse of the ecosystem. Although her ideas are important for understanding how we might improve the institutional arrangements for sustainable management of a wide range of natural resources, and are also being applied to new forms of commons such as the internet, intellectual property rights, and biodiversity, they are not widely known.
Try taking this short quiz and see how much you know about Ostrom’s ideas and theories regarding management of socio-ecological systems. (Available in English and Spanish – see below)
If you want to know more about commons, the CCRI is developing a range of short courses focusing on different aspects of commons: their management, governance and sustainability.
Using a wide variety of examples from around the world, the first course in the series ‘Managing our Common Resources‘ will examine the meaning of the term ‘commons’, explore the notions of co-operation, self-interest and rational choice, and also tackle misunderstandings – particularly in relation to the concept of the ‘tragedy’ of the commons. The second course, ‘Defending the Commons‘ will take participants through the skills required for undertaking social action.
The range of courses are unique for a number of reasons:
- They are the first online ‘distance-learning’ programme aimed specifically at raising awareness of commons issues around the globe
- They have been jointly developed and delivered between the University of Gloucestershire in the UK and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) to enable the course to be delivered in Spanish as well as English.
- They will benefit practitioners and policy makers working in a wide variety of locations, enabling them to access the course at times most suitable to their individual situation.
More information on both and future courses can be found on the CCRI website. including dates and registration details.
The development of the commons course series was sponsored by the International Association for the Study of Commons (IASC), and has been made possible by a development grant from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).