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Governance of the Commons

 

Governance of the Commons

 

Common resources include land, water, energy, food and the host of ecosystem services that nature makes available to humankind every day, which are ultimately the precondition for development.

Can we imagine new and better ways to manage these resources sustainably and achieve more efficient and equitable results?

In 2009, Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel Prize in Economics for her work on the governance of the commons. Trained as a political scientist, she believed that privatization and commodification, on the one hand, or top-down regulation, on the other hand, were not the only ways in which human beings could govern their common resources.

She demonstrated that bottom-up systems of collective action, in which citizens build shared institutions and collective cooperative mechanisms, can also achieve governance results that are resilient, balanced and long-lasting.

In order to sustainably govern common resources, we, therefore, need innovative governance arrangements with new constellations of actors.

These arrangements may include small-scale farmers and local resource users but also other civil society actors, the private sector, as well as the government.

Only by incorporating networks of different actors and areas of society which span multiple levels of governance as well as administrative jurisdictions, will governance arrangements be created that are capable of coping with complex natural resource systems.

This research area includes our work in land and water governance, agriculture, food security and food sovereignty, as well as our research about environmental governance and more equitable investment models.

Current running projects: 


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World needs a new Bretton Woods with Africa in the lead – Business Day 27.11.2014

This week on Business Day, South Africa’s leading business newspaper, GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti reflects on the need to redefine the economic system and the very definition of economic progress.

“After the 2007-08 global economic collapse, we have not yet seen one major reform. Both bail-outs and quantitative easing (a cryptic term to hide the fact that governments have resorted to the old-fashioned, Zimbabwe-esque remedy of printing money out of thin air) have done exactly the opposite: they have condoned business-as-usual practices, providing an incentive for the financial sector to continue speculating.”

Our leaders make public appeals for more growth, but fail to specify what “type” of growth they want. While in the postwar period the world could have been satisfied with economic growth at all costs — most countries had been destroyed by the conflict and the future was simply about rebuilding — the new century has brought some critical reality checks. The planet is in pain, unbridled economic growth has increased inequalities in many countries and environmental damage has become a concern not only for tree-huggers, but for anybody interested in social and economic stability.

Read the full article on Business Day. 

Creative ideas on migration will open the doors to growth -Business Day SA-

“South Africa is the destination of many workers from the rest of Africa and from the rest of the world. We know that about 7% of SA’s workforce is foreign. More than 38% of workers in gold mines are non-South African citizens and more than 22% of mine workers in all sectors hail from Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.

Data are sketchy and grossly underestimate the phenomenon. Many migrants are employed in informal positions, with precarious jobs, both in terms of safety and social security. Most undocumented migrant workers are poorly captured by official statistics. By all means, migrant workers are a fundamental factor in SA’s economic development. But how supportive and reliable is the present administrative and legislative framework?

What we need is a simple and clear framework to allow citizens of neighbouring countries to seek work and business opportunities in SA. We may even want to consider experimenting with free movement, for instance, within the Southern African Customs Union. In the European Union (EU), where free movement is a reality, most people have not relocated to other countries. As they benefit from clear arrangements that allow them to return regularly to their home country, they need not relocate permanently.”

In his regular column on Business Day, Lorenzo Fioramonti discusses how South Africa could transform its position of African immigration hub into an economic opportunity.

Read the full article on Business Day

Private sector must address challenges of the 21st century

THE Corporate Governance Index 2014, which GovInn released last week in partnership with the Institute of Internal Auditors of SA, provides a worrying snapshot of the state of business performance in SA.

The index finds that the leadership skills, accountability and overall conduct of public and private corporations have worsened over the past year. GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti comments on the perilous relationship between economic and political powers on Business Day, South Africa’s leading business newspaper.

If public officials take bribes to favour a few at the expense of the public good, then it is worth asking: where does the money come from? And the answer usually is: from business.

The simplistic juxtaposition between corrupt government and virtuous business does not pass the reality check.

Read the full article here

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