Pre-conference Workshops

Policy Discussion on Commons: lessons from recent policy experiences in the UK and Europe

(Panel Organizer: Chris Short)
This workshop will outline the recent policy development changes within the UK, focusing in particular on the structures providing a voice for those with user rights those managing the register of users.  The workshop will spend the first half outlining the core principles behind the recent policy development before spending the second part seeing if these principles would be useful in meeting some of the challenges within the Indian and wider Asian context. 

The main speakers from the UK and Europe would be taken from:
A representative from the Foundation for Common Land - a newly formed organisation made up of common rightsholders from across the UK and Ireland whose aim is to secure the future of commons in terms of their function and cultural significance

A representative from the Association of Commons Registration Authorities - the second new association formed to bring together the local government officials who hold the registers of rightsholders and the maps of commons. Their role has been developed significantly under recent policy developments, including the digitising maps and making more information available through the internet.

Kate Ashbrook of the Open Spaces Society - a conservation group established in 1865 to protect commons across England and Wales who are now actively involved in protecting particular sites and the traditional character of these areas.  Kate spoke at the Cheltenham conference in 2008.

A representative from either the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the Welsh Assembly Government - the two government departments who have led the development of the legislation in England and Wales respectively.

A representative from Natural England - the government agency responsible for biodiversity in England who are implementing the act at the local level, particular the locally based rightsholder councils, which will provide a more formal approach to management aimed at meeting national targets and resolving other management concerns.

A representative from the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastorism, a Europe-wide network which raises awareness of the importance of low-intensity farming for nature conservation and aims to improve the way public policies respond to the needs of these farming systems.  They are very experienced in assisting many European countries, including those in Eastern Europe about the importance of collective management in sensitive landscapes.

The workshop will end with a session looking at highlighting areas where knowledge can be transferred and the mechanisms for enabling this to the benefit of Indian representatives and the UK and European organisations.

Workshop Leader/s: Chris Short

Supporting Organization/s: Countryside and Community Research Institute, University of Gloucestershire (UK)