The International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) is considering developing one or more training programs on the commons, in cooperation with Countryside and Community Research Institute of the University of Gloucestershire (UoG); the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales-UNAM; and the CGIAR Program on Collective Action and Property Rights Program (CAPRI).
Before moving ahead, the organizers want to learn more about student interests and needs. You can help them out by taking part in a short online survey in either English or Spanish. It only takes about five minutes. The course organizers are tentatively thinking of offering courses on the following commons-related topics:
I. Introduction to the Commons.
II. Biodiversity and forests. Covering issues such as: ecological principles, biodiversity as a “commons”, forest rights, indigenous utilization, and the capacity for multi-functional use, Valuing biodiversity and influencing policy, and Carbon sequestration and the role of forests in climate change and environmental management.
III. Water. Covering issues such as: water as a finite and shared resource, application of commons concepts to water management under different conditions (trans-boundary management; inter-basin movement; within catchment management), legal regimes, water rights, and ‘markets’ for water.
IV. Marine resources. Covering issues such as: marine resources (fisheries, energy, minerals, navigation), Law of the Sea, Fisheries as closed and open access resources (includes range of case studies from different parts of the world), Regulating inshore and offshore fisheries as commons resources (inshore fisheries as community resources; social and economic impacts of regulatory regime change).
V. Advanced Commons Theory and Practice. Including Alternative approaches to commons management and governance, Game theory, 'new commons' and complex systems, Analyzing political and economic structures; exploring hierarchical systems.
VI. Climate change and the management of global commons. Including climate as a shared resource, the science of climate change, international law, analyzing international institutions.
It’s great to hear that IASC may offer some courses on the commons. The whole field of commons-related education is taking off. One sign is the side event organized at the Economics and the Commons Conference in Berlin that explored “interest in creating a global, open-source education consortium for commons educators, secondary school teachers, and university professors.”
The interest is reflected by the growth of the School of Commoning in London, commons-based education projects in Barcelona and Madrid, the Free Technology Academy, an online offered by the UN Institute on Training and Research, among others. I also know of many college-level courses on the commons in the US that approach the commons from many different perspectives. I look forward to the results of the IASC survey – and to the online courses they will likely offer.