Many Southern African natural resources are legally recognized as commons. The governance of commons in Southern Africa has received a good deal of attention from both researchers and the responsible government agencies. The objective of this Specific Support Action is to share existing research and experiences in the governance of large scale natural resource commons across different ecosystem types Southern Africa including marine and other large water body coastal zones arid and semi-arid grasslands, savannas and forest patches and floodplain ecosystems in.
The SSA builds on existing research on commons governance done by institutions specializing in particular resource management problems. It takes as its starting point the insight that addressing natural resource degradation in Africa means finding ways to identify reproduce and encourage existing positive practices of commons management across wide scales. The dual challenge of governance is to meet large- scale problems with large- scale solutions that are rooted in local practices and to use and ecosystem approach to integrate the management of different types of commons, each of which may play a role in the household survival strategies of vulnerable populations. Experience with governance in one type of commons generates lessons of value to the governance of other types of commons and for integrated governance.
The proposed work programme consists of a series of preparation tasks and workshops in which researchers who have been working on different kinds of commons in Southern Africa comb their research for lessons of use to other kinds of resources and then present this work at joint workshops. The work takes place in two phases each one having a theme 1) Knowledge, Power, Economic Transformation and Existing Commons Practices and 2) Building On Existing Practices to Achieve Effective Governance Across Extensive Scales.
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