Fostering collective action to revitalize degraded lands and waterways

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The Foundation for Ecological Security works in over 7000 villages across eight states in India, contributing to rehabilitation of 3 million hectares of common forests, pastures and farmland, with benefits for 7.8 million rural people. FES has pioneered the concept of the commons as an effective instrument of local governance, as an economic asset for the poor and as a means to boost the viability of adjoining farmlands. It has also highlighted how investments in collective action to manage natural resources benefit other spheres of village life such as education, health and access to economic opportunities.

FES has partnered with Collaborating for Resilience to convene its leadership and staff to reflect upon successes and challenges in establishing and sustaining multi-actor platforms to scale landscape restoration innovations in degraded forest lands and waterways.  Challenges include the dynamic, evolving goals of different actors in the platforms; gender equity in dialogue processes; representation of the extreme poor; political party competition; and lack of collaborative leadership at levels above traditional village institutions.

FES has identified a set of joint priorities for action research to assess these obstacles and synthesize learning to address them. The partnership also aims to document the role of multi-actor platforms in governance reform, spread good practices among civil society actors, and identify routes to greater policy influence. The aim is to support a five-fold increase in reach as part of an alliance promoting the “Promise of Commons.”