Commons, a model for managing natural resources

Over the course of history, societies have developed specific ways to manage natural resources collectively, so as to ensure their prosperity and continuity. This most often took place on a local scale. These are the “commons.” (...) These collective forms of resource management have survived (including in “devel- oped” countries), changing over time, up until the present day. They have survived despite dominant development models (from big business capitalism to state capitalism) attempting to destroy them, or at least marginalise them, seeing them as archaic remnants from the past. (...)

This collection aims to demonstrate, by way of concrete examples and analysis which have been put together by activist networks and civil society organisations, that the commons are a key aspect to the way forward when it comes to addressing the manifold social and environmental crises in many parts of the world today. They also represent the way forward in how we deal with global challenges such as climate change. As opposed to many of the “solutions” currently promoted by governments, big corporations and international institutions, the commons have proved much more reliable and effective in protecting the integrity of the natural world while fostering sustainability, democracy and social justice.

On the occasion on the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), held at Rio de Janeiro on June 2012 (also known as Rio+20), the Coredem team has published an updated version of the publication, in English and Portuguese. It has been distributed during the Peoples Summit, a citizen encounter organized at the same time as the international negotiations of the United Nations and aimed at denouncing the green economy logic which goes against environmental and social justice, claimed by international civil society. The Commons are one of the pillars of the demands and proposals for a participative management of natural resources and the respect of fundamental rights.

To receive some copies, please send an e-mail to :

You can download Commons, a model for managing natural resources here.