Commons in Action

ACOFOP and Marcedonio Cortave's story

Marcedonio Cortave is probably one of the most emblematic people of the community management of natural resources in Guatemala.
Its most recognized work dates back to 1990 when, facing the creation of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, it formed a broad community front that successfully fought to ensure the communities' rights of use and management of that resources. This struggle has been consolidated in the Association of Forest Communities of Petén, ACOFOP, a structure of 22 organizations that benefit 15,000 people directly and 70,000 indirectly.

Knowledge Commons

Knowledge commons governance is likely to be key to successfully addressing important social issues in medicine, environmental protection, education, science and beyond. It is critical for us to study knowledge commons and learn how variations and governance affect outcomes: what works, what doesn't. Recently a group of university researchers affiliated with IASC has founded a new Internet based research network called Workshop on Governing Knowledge Commons -
We encourage others interested in these topics to connect with us!

A Japanese story

In March 2012, a double natural disaster struck Japan: an earthquake followed by a tsunami. The coastal region of the Miyagi Prefecture was isolated and destroyed. Several regions were cut off from the rest of the country, making it impossible for them to receive medical assistance or other necessary supplies to survive. On the days following the disaster, people came together to handle the emergency with tools such as local leadership, community decision making and collective action.

Open Spaces Society's story

The Open Spaces Society has been campaigning for the commons and against enclosures for the last 150 years. Founded in 1865 as the Commons Preservation Society it is the oldest national conservation body in Britain.
The Open Spaces Society's campaign for the commons has focused on collective action in defense of common lands and influencing decision-makers, by gathering evidence of the cultural and ecological importance and value of commons and galvanizing support for the cause. Visit us at

Foundation for Ecological Security's story

The Foundation for Ecological Security was set up in 2001 to reinforce the massive and critical task of ecological restoration in India. The Foundation strives for a future that is based on a holistic understanding of the principles that govern the interrelationships of various life forms and natural systems. The essence of these efforts lies in intertwining principles of nature conservation and local self-governance in order to accelerate ecological restoration, as well as improve the living conditions of the poor.
As 'ecological security' is the foundation of sustainable and equitable development, the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) is committed to strengthening, reviving or restoring, where necessary, the process of ecological succession and the conservation of land, forest and water resources in the country. Visit us at

Grupo Autónomo para la Investigación Ambiental's story

The "Grupo Autónomo para la Investigación Ambiental" (GAIA) is an association that mainly works in the Southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico. GAIA works based on regional development programs, incorporating different communities in various regions focusing in threes lines: Community institutional strengthening, community land and natural resource management and regional development strategies. For many years GAIA has worked with the governmental program of Payment for Environmental Services, interested in the recognition of the role of communities´ efforts in the maintenance and provision of ecosystem services.

Grupo de Estudios Ambientales' Story

The Environmental and Social Studies Group (Grupo de Estudios Ambientales y Sociales A.C. – GEA) is a non-profit “research-action” institution working in central Mexico to promote local access to safe water and food, train communities in sustainable land management, and support the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and agrobiodiversity in rural Mexico. It is among the oldest grassroots environmental organizations in Mexico and works with a network of researchers, community groups, and local civil society organizations to leverage both technical expertise and traditional knowledge in service of environmental conservation. Visit us at