A Commons Conversation

The short film A Commons Conversation speaks to the importance of commons, and the need to protect the rights of local people to their commons through legal and social recognition, community-based regulation, and empowerment. The protagonists took part in a workshop hosted by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and the German Institute for Human Rights, Using the Voluntary Guidelines to Secure the Commonsin Berlin on July 2, 2014. The Technical Guide on Tenure Rights to Commons, is currently in preparation by the IASS within the framework of the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT), on behalf of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The aim of this technical guide is to support the adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure in national contexts.

Commons are natural resources such as land, water, and forests, which are collectively owned, managed and used by a community. The collective use and management of resources contrasts very strongly to the individualistic goals of profit and private ownership of the corporate ideology. Managed by traditional, indigenous, or customary laws and systems of rights, commons have been stewarded and handed down from generation to generation. As arable land and extractable resources are becoming ever scarcer, the trend towards privatization of these communally used and managed resources endangers the livelihoods of millions of rural people worldwide. Displacement of rural people due to conflict, land development, and population growth places further pressure on commons. Collective action, in which a community acts together to form a voluntary institution, is a way to secure the rights to commons.

In conjunction with Blog Action Day 2014. Let’s Talk About Inequality

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