The Future of the Commons

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of “The Tragedy of the Commons” by Garret Hardin. Its widely accepted message about the inevitable degradation of shared resources prompted privatization or nationalization of much common property. Yet sustainable management of the commons has a long history, and new evidence is increasing our understanding of effective governance of these resources for the future.

This policy seminar will discuss recent developments in research and policy on the commons, with particular attention to tenure and governance. Following an overview of key issues, speakers will present the factors that led to the adoption of the UK Commons Act to protect the commons; results of an international review of tenure security of land-based commons, particularly forests and rangelands held by communities and indigenous peoples; new evidence on how tenure can affect investment in shared resources by community members and outsiders; and factors shaping national policies on common resources and implications for the future. 

Introduction

  • Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute

Speakers

  • John Powell, Senior Research Fellow, Countryside and Community Research Institute, University of Gloucestershire and President, International association for the Study of the Commons (IASC)
  • Peter Veit, Director, Land and Resource Rights Initiative, World Resources Institute (WRI)
  • Iliana Monterroso, Consultant, International Forestry Center (CIFOR)

Discussant

  • Thea Hilhorst, Senior Land Governance Specialist, Development Research Group, World Bank