For the past two years a team of commons scholars from two countries in south America have been toiling away preparing the 17th Biennial Global Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC). In less than two weeks around 500 of us, commons scholars and practitioners, will be gathering in Lima, on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, for the opening ceremony at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP).
It promises to be one of the most exciting events in the IASC calendar and the first time we have held a commons conference in South America (the 10th Biennial global Conference was held in Central America, Oaxaca, Mexico IN 2004). It is also the first time one of our conferences has been organised by IASC members based at different universities in two countries. The conference co-chairs are: Juan Camilo Cárdenas, a Professor of Economics at the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia and, Deborah Delgado Pugley, a Professor of Sociology at PUCP in Peru.
The focus of the conference is on ‘Defense of the Commons’, a critical issue for many indigenous people’s whose livelihoods depend on access to commons resources in the oceans, rivers, and forests of South America. The conference will explore a wide range of problems affecting commons along with actions being taken in response to deal with conflict and find new solutions to manage resource utilisation and access, not just in South America, but around the world.
Three of us from CCRI (Chris short, John Powell, and Dilshaad Bundhoo), along with Kate Ashbrook from the Open Spaces Society are flying down to Lima next week. We have a full week of giving papers (on a range of issues including: the future of commons grazing in Norway and England, urban green infrastructure, campaigning in defence of commons, and issues related to the current economic system), running a workshop, and attending meetings. We are also going to deliver a multi-stakeholder dialogue (MSD) to examine conflict in the commons. The MSD is a new initiative of this conference – designed to bring together practitioners and academics to explore new approaches to resolving commons problems in a short ‘workshop type’ forum. More importantly, we will get to meet old friends, make new acquaintances, and explore fresh ideas and perspectives that we can apply to some of the most complex problems facing our societies today – how to share resources fairly, equitably, and sustainably – without destroying the processes that create them.
John and colleagues from CCRI have also published two free e-books that relate to commons, one of which specifically details attending the international conferences. These can be downloaded for free from the University of Gloucestershire’s repository: