The inspiration for the title of this Conference came from the publication of the same name developed by CEESP Commission members (Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend, Michel Pimbert, M. Taghi Favar, Ashish Kothari and Yves Renaud) in 2004. 'Sharing Power: Learning by Doing in Co-Management of Natural Resources Throughout the World', provided an historic breakthrough in natural resources management by advocating de-centralised models of governance and management of protected areas and natural resources. The book discussed the contextual framework of the struggle between politics and culture in managing natural resources, and provided guidance on how to enable the social context necessary for co-governance and co-management of resources. It stressed the importance for indigenous peoples to be actively involved in natural resources management models in their traditional territories.

Juan Mayr Maldonado (former Minister of Environment of Colombia and former Deputy Chair of CEESP) wrote this about the book, "Sharing Power" is an important contribution to environmental thinking and reflection, at a time of great political and economic challenges throughout the world. It invites us to, and equips us for, a dialogue among different cultures in a respectful and equitable search for new forms of natural resource management."

At the heart of ‘co-management’ of natural resources is a process of collective understanding and action by local communities and other social actors. The process brings about negotiated agreements on management roles, rights, and responsibilities, making explicit the conditions and institutions of sound decentralized governance. De facto, co-management is about sharing power. When successful, it spells out the peaceful and intelligent ways by which communities and other actors overcome environmental challenges, take best advantage of nature’s gifts and share those in fairness and solidarity. When it fails, it ushers conflicts, human misery and environmental damages.

To download and read Sharing Power: Learning by Doing in Co-Management Throughout the World, please click here

Since 2004, there have been many developments, not only in governance and management of natural resources, but also in terms of new understandings of the linkages between economic, social and cultural policies and the implications of trade and macro-economic policies on the environment. New governance instruments, such as Indigenous Community Conserved areas have been established.