Conserving Commons - an answer to Climate Change’

Conserving Commons - an answer to Climate Change’

By Bijay Mishra
Bhubaneswar, 17- 3-22

     Leaders of various civil society organisations , journalists, legal experts and academicians in a 3-days workshop at BBSR  on “Promise of commons” emphasised and formed Action Plan to Secure Commons for Climate -resilient Economy, Ecosystem and Sustainable Livelihoods . Foundation for Ecological Security (FES),a national level organisation working on the issue of Commons, organised and facilitated the workshop. The participants designed a vision for the state in this context and clear pathways to collectively walk towards the same. 

Over 350 million Indians live in rural communities without secure tenure rights over the shared natural resources that adjoin their farmlands. These shared natural resources, referred to as Commons, including forests, pastures, dry lands and water bodies, have the potential to address the interconnected challenges of environmental degradation, social inequalities and unharnessed natural resources-based economic opportunities.

In Odisha’s Commons play a crucial role in contributing to the livelihood, disaster and overall climate resilience of the state and its people. Apart from playing meaningful role in combating climate disasters, the Commons also contribute significantly to the household incomes of dependent communities.
The  Panchayati Raj Act, Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA) and Forest Rights Act (FRA) has created an enabling legal and policy context for community-led Commons restoration in the state. Further, the 2011 Supreme Court judgment on Commons directs all states to protect and restore Commons, and restored it to the Gram Sabha/ Gram Panchayat for the common use of the communities. More so, there is now an amount of about INR 500 crores is made available annually by the governments through MGNREGA for restoration of natural resources.
In the consultation workshop , the participants collectively arrived at a plan of action to ensure that the agenda of ‘Conserving Commons - an answer to Climate Change’ moves forward in a steady and sustainable manner.
Along with journalists, legal experts, academicians from NRMC, XIM University, Bhubaneswar, and  representatives from international institutions such as UNDP and Water Aid, civil society organisations such as POREVARTHAN, SPREAD, Samonaya Trust, Seva Niketan, FoGGO, Seba Jagat, YAR, MASS, SEWAK, CREFTDA, RCDC, NIRMAN, SHAKTI, RCDC,DFF, Boudh, JangalSurakshyaMahasangha, Nayagarh, DFF, Balangir, Jana Kalyan Sanstha, SEWAK, PRADAN, Harsha Trust, Vasundhara, Samonaya Trust, and Lok Bikas Parishad, participated in the workshop.
The participants designed a vision for the state in this context and clear pathways to collectively walk towards the same. The workshop stressed on building the ‘Alliance for Commons’ for collaboration around translating research into implementation for scale and government integration, improve awareness about opportunities to use the Commons by integrating data and technology.

Among others the workshop was addressed by FES Regional Team Leader Meenadas Mohapatra , Swapnasri Sarangi of ‘ Commons Collaboration “, Prof Satyendranath Mishra of Xavier University , Commons Expert Sisir Pradhan , Ranjan Panda of Water Initiative  and Sahana Srinath of Communication Team of FES