Sub-theme 10. Local institution building and radical futures for the commons
Sustaining collaborative governance: how can collaborative governance be more effective and sustained over time?
Collaborative governance has been widely adopted within forest, fisheries and protected area management, often with the aim of improving compliance with rules and regulations, reducing pressure on natural resources and improving the livelihoods of resource users. Involving government, resource users and other non-state actors, collaborative governance faces many challenges, including delivering on these positive ecological and social outcomes and keeping going over time. Research into factors, or conditions, that enable successful governance suggests that local ownership, inclusivity and evidence of benefits are important for success and sustainability. These conditions are, however, challenged by the scale of resources, often located across multiple administrative boundaries, limited funding to support governance over time and a diversity of interests leading to conflicting objectives and approaches. For collaborative governance, there are additional challenges of what power sharing means in practice and building relations of trust.
The purpose of this panel is to learn from research and practice how collaborative governance can be more sustainable, effective and inclusive. We welcome papers that address questions such as: what are the key challenges in achieving effective, inclusive and sustained governance and how are these being overcome, or how could they be overcome? What changes need to happen in policy and practice? How is collaborative governance working effectively within the context of decentralisation, or how could it work more effectively? Which areas of theory and which research methods are particularly useful in informing research in this area? Papers are welcome from any natural resource sector and country.
Panel 10.7. A
1. Functional convergence and collaborative governance for restoration of commons: Experiences from spring rejuvenation in the Himalayas
1Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, India, 2Wheels Water Council, India
In this paper we explore how collaborative governance can be sustained when there is lackluster project implementation by the state. Among the many factors that influence collaborative governance, multi-stakeholder platforms which develop trust, assurance and a shared understanding have been the most important. The extant literature on this model of governance has explored the enabling conditions, institutional design and outcomes, but is silent on the ‘mechanism’. We use participatory action research (PAR) methods to understand this through implementation of a spring rejuvenation project in a large and rugged Himalayan state in India. The intervention is based upon scientific evidence-based decision tools and executed in collaboration with state departments and non-state agencies. At the center lies an accessible and agile portal-based platform which facilitates horizontal coordination between agencies and front-line-workers. Researchers have been participant observers with involvement in decision making process wherever needed. After eighteen months of participation, we found that fifty-six springs were rejuvenated at nearly a tenth of the cost and half the time as compared to the traditional state interventions. This detailed participatory observation study reveals that for successful collaborative governance, the mechanism of functional convergence is more important than de-jure policy convergence. A necessary condition for this is understanding institutional diversity, ecological characteristics, motivations of resource users, role of interest groups and state agency at micro levels. We conclude with a discussion about cost saving investments in building platforms that is critical to sustainability of collaborative governance for restoration of commons.
2. Sustaining fisheries co-management through tackling challenges on Lake Victoria, East Africa
University of Birmingham, UK
Sustaining co-management of fisheries can be challenging over time. Literature on the experience of co-management has identified factors that explain the difficulty of establishing and maintaining effective co-management. These include the often top-down nature of development and implementation, lack of ongoing financial and technical support, the degree of power sharing between governments and community-based structures, and difficulties in maintaining fair and inclusive participation within co-management structures. Research into the practice of fisheries co-management on Lake Victoria carried out in 2015 found other factors, including the influence of the broader political and economic context in which co-management is situated, the lack of a clear definition of co-management in national policy and legislation, insufficient participation of women in co-management and lack of recognition in policy and plans of how co-management has been undermined by corruption linked to fisheries illegalities. This paper will briefly explain these findings and then explain how, in 2022, funding to promote impact from past research enabled a number of activities to take place in the Lake Victoria region to act on these findings. These activities included dialogue with key stakeholders on defining co-management in policy and legislation and on how corruption could be addressed; interviews with training providers and a survey of fisheries staff on their experience of training in co-management; and, a study on whether and how women groups within fisheries interact with co-management and could be used as a way of enhancing the meaningful participation of women.
3. Legal pluralism, ideology, and institutional change: the evolution of institutions for coastal resource co-management in Ghana
Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), Germany
Co-management regimes have been vigorously advocated for the governance of common-pool resources since the early 90s. Co-management arrangements are not only desired for resource governance for their instrumental value but also, because of their potential to achieve normative governance objectives. While the transition to such institutional arrangements has been a success for coastal resource governance in many places across the globe, institutional change towards co-management regimes has faced challenges in many other contexts. Such governance changes can be more convoluted in resource governance contexts where strong legal pluralism exists because different ideologies tend to underlie various normative orders. Examples exist where successful transitions to co-management regimes occur but the sustainability of the institutional arrangements is often short-lived. Whilst this challenge is recognized in literature and has been attributed to many factors including lack of participation, limited funding, power dynamics, and resource scale, the role of ideology and the complexities of legal pluralism have been less studied. In this paper, we combine the perspectives of legal pluralism with the ideational theory of institutional change advanced by Douglass North to examine the challenges of institutional development for coastal fisheries co-management in Ghana, where co-management arrangements collapsed a few years after their establishment. The findings demonstrate the critical role of ideology (or shared-mental models) in understanding the challenges of sustaining co-management regimes in coast resource governance. We argue for the use of complementary institutional approaches to enhance our understanding of the challenges of collaborative resource governance arrangements.
4. Institutions for collaborative governance: A systematic review
1University of Georgia, USA, 2Florida Atlantic University, USA
Natural resource governance requires involving a variety of stakeholders with often conflicting interests operating at different levels and scales. Collaborative governance initiatives have been touted as potentially effective policy tools to bring together such stakeholders and engage them into development coordinated policy decisions. The popularity of this approach is observable in the impressive amount of literature published on the topic over the last 20 years. Although this literature has made significant strides with regards to the preconditions and outputs for successful collaborative governance, the term “collaborative governance” often covers a wide variety of initiatives, and thus little is known about the existence or not of lessons regarding their design. We seek to address this gap by systematically reviewing research published between 2000-2022 to understand how scholars have empirically studied the design of collaborative governance initiatives in the context of environmental governance. Over an initial list of 785 articles, we employed inclusion-exclusion criteria to narrow our list to 93 academic publications that discuss issues of collaborative governance and institutional or rule design. We analyze those publications using a combination of bibliometric analysis, including co-citation analysis, and narrative analysis to identify gaps in the literature as well as clusters of relevant work that are driving current advances in the literature. Results provide insights on current theoretical and empirical gaps for improving our understanding of the design of collaborative governance initiatives for the governance of shared natural resources.
Panel 10.7. B
1. Fifteen conditions for collaborative groundwater governance to be more effective and sustained over time
1CIRAD, UMR G-EAU, Univ. Montpellier, National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia, 2Higher School of Agriculture of Mograne, Tunisia, 3National Institute of Research in Rural Engineering, Water and Forestry, Tunisia
All over the world, groundwater degradation and overexploitation are increasing. In semi-arid and arid areas such as the Maghreb, groundwater provides a significant share of water uses, and is therefore a major factor in the economy. With climate change, the development of irrigated agriculture and the growth of other water consuming sectors, pressures on groundwater resources are likely to increase. Yet current water policies struggle to curb these trends. In this context, a solution that is increasingly put forward is collaborative governance. But the specificities of groundwater (“invisibility”, interdependencies between actors, less easily available data, etc.) complicate this collaborative governance. In Morocco, attempts to develop participatory groundwater contracts on large aquifers have been made for the past fifteen years, although not always living up to expectations (Del Vecchio, 2019). In Tunisia, a similar reflection is currently underway. In this contribution, we argue that collaborative groundwater governance is not a panacea everywhere, and that a number of conditions must be met for this collaborative governance to be more effective and sustained over time. Through an analysis of cases and literature, we identified 15 conditions that are favorable to collaborative groundwater governance. These conditions are related to the resource itself (size of the aquifer, access to alternative water resources, etc.), to the actors and their interactions (territorial attachment, conflicts, etc.) and to institutional frameworks (resources available, respect of existing laws and management instruments, etc). These conditions have been tested in two aquifers in Tunisia. Our contribution presents the results of this work.
2. Effectiveness of games for experiential learning and collaborative governance of groundwater in India: Results of large-scale impact assessment.
1International Food Policy Research Institute, USA, 2International Food Policy Research Institute, Germany, 3Foundation for Ecological Security, India, 4ICRISAT, Kenya
As a common pool resource, water is easily depleted without effective coordination among users. Groundwater overuse is particularly challenging, as declines are not directly visible. In India, about half of all wells show falling water tables. The key question is how to promote effective and sustainable coordination, rules, and behavior in a participatory way without external imposition, in a low-cost manner that supports large-scale implementation.
Collective action games offer a promising approach for experiential learning about water management, especially when combined with structured community debriefings and planning tools to support community decisions on technical interventions. The games can simulate effects of individual behavior on resource outcomes, which affect individual as well as collective economic outcomes.
This study provides rigorous testing of the effectiveness of a package of experiential learning tools for groundwater management on mental models, norms, and behavior. We facilitate experiential learning using: 1) collective action games that allow people to experience effects of their water use decisions on water management and try out different rules; 2) structured community debriefings to discuss the implications of the games; and 3) crop water budgeting to facilitate participatory water planning. Particular attention is given to how to scale such interventions, using community-based resource persons as facilitators. The impact assessment was conducted in 472 communities in Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, with 2/3 of the sample randomly assigned to treatment and 1/3 to control.
We present the conceptual foundations of this approach for social learning, as well as findings of the impact assessment
3. Governing common-pool natural resources in Uganda. A comparative analysis of the development trajectories and performance of the Fisheries and Forestry sectors.
1University of Iceland, Iceland, 2Makerere University, Uganda
Uganda has encountered multiple sustainability challenges when governing its common-pool natural resources, a problem familiar to sub-Saharan African countries. Uganda is well endowed with diverse renewable natural resources that provide important basis for the livelihoods of its citizens and overall economic development. Is has developed relatively comprehensive administrative structures to govern its environment and natural resources that have, however, manifested differently in different sub-sectors. This novel study provides political economy analysis of governance in two of its key common-pool resources sectors, hence fisheries and forestry. Dealing with common-pool resources, the two sectors have a lot in common although their approach to governance has been quite different. The study objective is to compare the development trajectories, structures, and performance of these two resources sectors and draw lessons that might be of mutual interest. Within a political economy lens, the study builds a theoretical framework for comparative analysis of the development trajectories of the sectors, their institutional evolution and change, organizational structures, performance, and outcomes. The preliminary findings illustrate is that although governance of the fisheries and forestry sectors have entered quite different trajectories, neither have been successful in generating sustainable outcomes. The study illustrates and explains multiple political economy factors that have shaped the sectors performance. We identify both political agency and institutional and organisational factors that help explain these outcomes. The paper reflects and compares what governance issues might be of mutual interest for the two sectors that can inform policy and enhance their performance.
4. Collaborative Governance to Minimize Livelihood Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise: A Case Study of Wakatobi Island – Indonesia
1IPB University, Indonesia, 2Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, Germany
Wakatobi is a small island district located in the heart of the triangle coral reef in Indonesia’s southeastern part of Sulawesi. The local community has been experiencing big seasonal waves, but they do not perceive such events as a part of sea-level rise, although it has become more frequent and uncertain. These events create losses and damages and affect the livelihood of the local community. For quite a long, the local community has self-organized mitigation by building breakwaters allocated from the annual village budget. Collective action has long been practiced to build traditional breakwaters surrounding residential areas in the coastal area. The central government has been making a dike to prevent the impacts of severe and frequent waves. It has been perceived as the best solution to cope with such events, but at the same time, it also creates side impacts for the community and beach ecosystem. Dike limits access of fishermen to moor their boats on the beach. Accordingly, they place their boats on the side of the dike, which has a higher risk of damage due to waves crashing on the dike. Such circumstances create polemic among the local community, while the implementation of dike construction less involves the local community. This study aims to scrutinize how the local community perceives climate-related events, how they organize to mitigate, to what extent government intervention should take place, and how collaborative governance should be set up to reduce livelihood vulnerability and promote climate change mitigation.
Panel 10.7. C
1. Emerging governance mechanisms as a response to contemporary democratic decentralization reforms in the forest commons of India: Engagements with State, Non-State Actors and the Capitalist Economy
1Binghamton University (SUNY), USA, 2Xavier Institute of Management, India
Democratic decentralization is being promoted as a worldwide development approach that aims to empower communities to engage and negotiate in creating systems for improving their long-term well-being. In India, Community Forest Resource Rights (CFR rights) under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 provide forest-dwelling communities with a unique opportunity to have both access to and substantive control over their forestlands. After the recognition of CFRs, many gram sabhas (village councils) have started asserting rights over the most important forest resources, i.e. Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFPs). The question now is how these communities will organize themselves to fully use their rights to achieve the goal of livelihood enhancement and sustainable resource management. In most cases, these gram sabhas are coming together and forming coalitions with each other and also with other state and non-state actors for developing strategies for the sustainable harvest of non-timber forest produce and its trade. Collective action as established in the previous literature can help people improve the welfare of forest-dwelling communities and help them get out of poverty in several ways: provide local goods and services they would not be able to provide as single individuals, substitute for missing markets or help overcome barriers to participation in markets, and increase their bargaining power to request services from higher level institutions. In this study, we take stock of the emerging collectives in Maharashtra, India to illustrate how they organize themselves in collective action and how such collectives are interacting with other state and non-state actors to facilitate livelihood enhancement and sustainable resource management.
2. Moving beyond icky feelings and towards a more expansive mind-set: Cognitive dissonance as a learning guide for collaborative wildlife conservation
University of Calgary, Canada
Ecosystem conservation, and the research that goes into it, is a collaborative affair that requires expertise across disciplines, worldviews, and public service sectors. As such, international to local science-policy organizations have emphasized the need to “bridge the divide” between Indigenous and Western knowledges. Yet, the effectiveness of these efforts is often impeded by dissonance among conservation actors because of issues such as misconceptions and biases, limited resources, trust, and experience, legacy effects, language barriers, among others.
Conservation psychology of small groups may be useful to help navigate engagement issues in collaborative conservation settings. Within this field, cognitive dissonance is the theory that people experience psychological discomfort, or dissonance, when they hold two cognitions (attitudes, behaviours, values) that are contrary to each other. The greater the contradiction, i.e. the greater dissonance experienced, the more people feel pressured to reduce the conflicting cognitions. Understanding triggers for dissonance in diverse group settings can assist conservation actors in creating strategies to avoid or diffuse tension and conflicts impeding their collaborative work.
Our work focuses on ‘Dolphin and Union’ caribou, a herd that is central to Inuit lifeways and the local ecology in the central Canadian Arctic. As such, this herd requires evidence-informed conservation decisions that are responsive to the needs and knowledge of Inuit communities. This presentation will walk through the process of identifying cognitive dissonance and creating strategies to proactively address conflicting cognitions in order to connect different knowledge sources and support collaborative caribou management.
3. Exploring collaborative governance – The case of the implementation of the SSF Guidelines
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Italy
The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) were endorsed by the FAO Committee on Fisheries in 2014. They are a result of a bottom-up process that led to a globally negotiated and agreed instrument. The challenges ever since is to translate this comprehensive document into the participatory governance mechanisms on the ground that it advocates for. The International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 marked the launch of two National Plans of Action to implement these guidelines, one for Tanzania and one for Namibia. Other countries in Africa have taken on the challenge to – and Madagascar, Malawi, Uganda and Senegal are all at various stages of developing such plans in a collaborative manner. The presentation will summarize and analyze these processes, related challenges and opportunities, in an attempt to contribute to the collective learning for the future, as other countries in other regions start showing interest in embracing this approach.
4. Right-Based Fisheries Co-management as a Solution to Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries
1Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, South Africa, 2Department of Fisheries, Malawi
Geographically, small-scale fisheries are structurally and operationally dispersed. Additionally, ‘open access’ has been a historical management approach based on developmental needs of fishing communities. In effect, implementation of co-management, which proposes access and effort limitations has been met with resistance from fishers, leading to failure to achieve sustainable utilisation. Using Malawi, we argue that institutionalisation of Rights-Based Fisheries Co-Management (RBFC) could hold the best hope for moving towards sustainable small-scale fisheries. Organisation of RBFC should be linked to land-based traditional authority areas. Within their areas chiefs, through co-management committees, could have powers to control access and enforce technical (input) effort and output regulations. Under administrative decentralisation, districts have powers to develop and institute locally-based fisheries by-laws. For RBFC to work, legislation would also have to be promulgated that would require small-scale fishers to land and launch from specific beaches where effort technical regulations (inputs) and the amount of catch (outputs) can be enforced. Such a system will also require fisher buy-in. Without such a system based on universal (water body or ecosystem zones) control of inputs and output, sustainable fisheries management will never be achieved. Fortunately, most fishers realise and acknowledge that the current system of unlimited effort and unlimited output cannot continue without permanently jeopardising sustainability of their fisheries. Given the historical laissez-faire approach to management of small-scale fisheries, institutionalisation of RBFC offers the best option for finding a solution to this wicked problem.