PRE-RECORDED VIDEO SUBMISSION DEADLINE: May 7, 2021
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05/18/2021 11:00 PM05/21/2021 01:00 PMAmerica/PhoenixIASC 2021 Water Commns Virtual Conference Online, Worldwide
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Welcome to the
IASC 2021 Water Commons Virtual Conference
Aim & Scope
We are pleased to announce our call for individual presentations, special sessions, webinar panel discussions, and methods workshops. This conference aims to bring together scholars and practitioners on the water commons broadly understood. We will cover topics including climate change impacts — flooding, storm surge, drought, and other extreme precipitation events — involving all forms of water — ice sheets, glaciers, rivers & lakes, groundwater, clouds, effluent — and all types of water uses — irrigation, industrial, instream flows, habitat protection, energy generation, urban and domestic consumption, and cultural practices, among many others.
Water governance and management at multiple scales is central for addressing impacts and collective action dilemmas that emerge in no small part because water is a fugitive resource. What special governance challenges are raised by the fact that water is a fugitive resource? Is multi-level, or polycentric, governance the most appropriate approach for dealing with water? What other forms of governance or management, such as formal and informal markets, regulation, public-private partnerships, and collaborations, are possible and how do they interact with the commons?
The topic of the water commons is iconic in common pool resource studies. In our three day virtual event, we thus want to address the following questions: What are the blind spots in treating water as a commons? What important dimensions of water are neglected in using a commons lens? How can a commons approach incorporate the existence of multiple values and power dynamics among users? What is the role of gender, and marginalized communities, in water commons governance, in the face of societal change? Conversely, what dimensions of water would be better understood if brought under a commons lens? How can a commons approach guide policy to create, manage, or modify hard (buildings), soft (institutions), and green (nature-based) infrastructure?
As a web-conference within a series of conferences organized by the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC), we will facilitate a discussion among water scholars and practitioners on the many and diverse governance challenges of sustainably managing all forms of water across multiple scales, with a special emphasis on equity.
This is one of the most challenging topics for commons governance. Information on pollution and its sources is costly to identify. Polluters have few reasons for engaging in collective action to address the public bads they are producing. Yet, what roles can and does self-governance play in addressing such problems? Is self-governance better matched with state regulation or markets to satisfactorily address water pollution?
Heavy polluters – water protection management in industrial regions and in the mining sector: approaches, solutions, future scenarios.
Invisible intruders – contaminants of emerging concerns, i.e. micro-pollutants, in our water bodies: how to manage the small and how to raise awareness of it?
Supersaturation of phosphorus and nitrate – how to tackle one of the nine planetary boundaries?
Agriculture’s footprint on water – governing pesticide use.
Acute accidents – Mauritius, the Gulf of Mexico, Siberia, the Rio Doce, and many others – how to learn from the past to avoid future damages to aquatic and marine ecosystems?
Disproportionate impacts on disadvantaged communities.
Access to water is a basic human right but water for human uses is increasingly scarce because of increases in population, industrial pollution, and climate change impacts, and the global south is especially vulnerable. This has put stress on water commons in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and aquifer recharge and governance challenges are pronounced because water flows across jurisdictional boundaries, from local to international. Less flow of water in rivers, unabated extraction of water, excessive agriculture, industrial and municipal consumption has led to a drop in the water table. Considerable mindfulness is needed for sustainable use of water commons.
Water scarcity, and single-source control, disputes, and collective action for inter and intrastate conflict resolution
Threats to the world’s largest river basin systems: Infrastructure, dams, climate change, navigation, and over-extraction
Challenges to freshwater and ecosystem commons
Agriculture, industrial and municipal water consumption, sustainable strategies and conservation technologies, and water treatment
Challenges to access to potable water to communities, including commercialization of potable water, greywater usage, and water conservation.
We are already facing the impact of the global rise in temperature with severe forest fires in California, Australia or Siberia, coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, and a drastic decline of the Arctic ice, to name just a few. Responses to climate change have traditionally relied on the development of new and more grey infrastructure — such as dams and reservoirs to regulate flooding and seawalls to combat sea level rise; but what about different forms of soft infrastructure and green infrastructure for providing for protection? How do current governance systems manage interdependent infrastructures? How can governance structures and learning processes help to anticipate climate change impacts on water resources and human livelihoods depending on them?
Protection against water as a commons – How to govern the absence or excess of water?
Collective action in the face of sudden events (i.e. flooding or storm surge).
Collective action in the face of slow-occurring crises (i.e. sea-level rise or drought) – how to anticipate their impact and handle the change of landscapes caused by these events?
Preparing for climate change – managing the reduction of water use and water collection and organizing water filtration from the small to the big scale
Governing transboundary water resources poses significant collective action challenges for governments. As an example, the River Nile basin is shared by more than 10 countries that are dependent on the Nile system for water, this dependence can be a source of conflict between upper riparian and lower riparian users. Many approaches have emerged in response, from polycentricity to Integrated Water Resources Management, yet limitations exist in their definition, implementation, and assessment. These limitations have recently heightened, as national-level governments (like the U.S. federal government) have attempted to modify legislation aimed to protect water resources, leaving local governments with the responsibility of developing alternative mechanisms to protect water quality and quantity.
Water governance across scales (i.e. across jurisdictions, communities, uses).
Bringing the (local) government back – Local and regional governance in the face of national-scale deregulation.
Governance across the water cycle (i.e. surface, groundwater, clouds)
From its inception, the commons literature has paid close attention to indigenous knowledge for identifying instances of commons self-governance. As our climate rapidly changes due to human action, governments renege on environmental protections, and markets crowd out resources, how are indigenous communities defending traditional ways of life and responding to calls for environmental justice? How are indigenous communities adapting and mobilizing to defend traditional knowledge?
How can different perceptions of water (as a relatively ubiquitous resource of economic value vs. as a way of life) be incorporated into an effective water governance framework?
Indigenous activism and environmental justice – current frictions between native communities and government & market pressures that jeopardize traditional ways of life. How are these struggles manifested in different regions of the world?
Traditional knowledge and climate change – how are native communities responding to changing water landscapes?
Sustainable water use practices – learning from indigenous knowledge and experience.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development goals include access to clean water and sanitation. Although, by its nature, water flows across uses and users, its management has often been segmented, particularly between so-called “economically productive” uses (such as irrigation or industrial use) and “domestic” uses. The former often involve mostly men, while Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) programs target women, who are often most responsible for and affected by insufficient domestic supplies and sanitation. How can taking a gendered approach to water as a commons help overcome these divides? Possible topics on this theme include:
Gendered roles, responsibilities, and rights to water: How are men’s and women’s rights and responsibilities with regard to water compatible with their differential roles and preferences? How does gender intersect with other aspects of marginality, such as caste or ethnicity in rights to clean water?
Gendered analysis of participation in water governance–across water use sectors and types of governance arrangements: What roles do women and men play in managing and governing diverse water sources and uses, how can women’s participation be enhanced, and how do women as decision makers make a difference for achieving sustainability of water uses
WASH as a gendered commons: The public health aspects of WASH are a public good. Although numerous studies note the inequities and challenges facing women and girls in manually providing water for household uses, in unsafe sanitation, and in caring for sick family members, achieving desired WASH outcomes requires participation by both men and women. How can insights from commons research contribute to these outcomes.
Presentations are prerecorded talks of 10 minutes, and presenters can indicate whether they want to participate in a webinar with presenters of similar topics. We allow for presentations in Spanish, French or Mandarin, besides English. The audience will be able to access the videos with subtitles. The discussion forum on the talks will be in English only.
A special session consists of at least four individual presentations (pre-recorded 10 minute videos). Participants asynchronously interact with the presenter on the presentation in the comment section.
The focus of a webinar is debate. Panelists may make short statements after which there is a moderated discussion during which questions from the audience are addressed. The duration of the webinar is 1 hour.
Led by Edella Schlager, University of Arizona and Saba Siddiki, Syracuse University
The institutional grammar is a prominent approach for understanding and analyzing institutions. First developed by Sue Crawford and Elinor Ostrom, it has been applied across a variety of institutional domains. The methods workshop will offer a tutorial in the grammar. Workshop participants will learn about the theoretical foundations of the grammar, engage in coding laws and regulations, and explore different approaches for measuring and analyzing the coded data.
When: Wednesday, May 19, 2021. 6:00 – 8:00 am (AZ UTC-7)
Led by Emanuele Fantini, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education
In this workshop I would like to share our experience of using podcast as a research and communication tool in two projects: the first on the role of media in water conflicts and cooperation along the Nile river; the second on water and the commons in Italy ten years after the victory of the referendum against the privatisation of water services. The workshop is based on the podcast pathway that we presented in this article: Fantini, E., & Buist, E. (2021). Searching for the Sources of the Nile through a podcast: what did we find?. Journal of Science Communication, 20(2), N01. The workshop is structured in three sessions, in line with the three phases of the podcast pathway (design, production, communication). In each session there will be an introduction followed by exercises that the participants will do in break-out rooms. The three sessions revolve around three podcast values and the role that voice plays therein.
Session 1 “Listening” is about the voice of the interlocutor and explores how interlocutor interview podcasting offers a meaningful opportunity to practice active listening skills.
Session 2 “Editing” is about the author’s voice. Here we reflect on the ethical and political implications of editing as a process in which voice is given to or taken away from different actors involved in the governance of water and commons.
Session 3 “Sharing” is about the audience’s voice. Here we reflect on how the podcast can be used to promote and reward a community of interests and practice, and how to collect and follow up the audience’s feedback.
No prior experience in podcasting is requested to attend the workshop. All that is required to join is your ears, a smartphone (or recording device); a pen/pencil and notebook/paper; a piece of paper of your favourite color (preferably A4 size).
When: Wednesday, May 20, 2021. 2:00 – 4:00 am (AZ UTC-7)
Led by Jacopo Baggio, University of Central Florida
Workshop participants will receive hands-on training on key concepts and approaches in Social Network Analysis. Participants will be introduced and have the opportunity to conduct basic social network analysis using social-ecological data.
When: Wednesday, May 20, 2021. 7:00 – 9:00 am (AZ UTC-7)
Led by Ruth Meinzen-Dick (IFPRI), Thomas Falk (ICRISAT), Pratiti Priyadarshini (Foundation for Ecological Security), and Richu Sanil (Foundation for Ecological Security)
The need for effective governance of water resources is well established; what is not well established is what can be done to strengthen collective governance of water resources, particularly on the scale necessary to address widespread depletion of resources and degradation of water-related infrastructure. Blueprint rules introduced in a top-down manner have not changed water users’ behavior. There is strong evidence that effective community rules and their enforcement can motivate such behavior (Ostrom 1990). The better these rules fit the social-ecological context (Ostrom 2007) and internalized norms (Falk et al. 2012), the more effective they will be. Participatory development approaches have addressed these challenges (Pahl-Wostl and Hare 2004; Kolb 1984). The key question is how to promote such coordination, rules, and behavior in a participatory way without external imposition and in a low-cost manner that supports large-scale implementation. This workshop will present the use of behavioral games as part of a well-structured interventions package for experiential social learning to improve water governance. The interventions have been tested in more than 500 communities and are currently being rolled out in over 2,000 additional ones in India through a collaborative project by Foundation for Ecological Security, International Food Policy Research Institute, International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, and Martin-Luther University-Hall. After a brief presentation of the overall approach, the underlying behavioral change concepts and the history of use of games for understanding and improving water governance, we will demonstrate the play of a surface water game simulating maintenance of a shared facility and sharing of water among players. The session will address practical issues as well as findings to date on how these games and community debriefing can contribute to changing mental models and social learning for water collective water governance. All workshop participants will receive a copy of a Sourcebook on Strengthening Governance of Water Commons, covering the underlying principles of “commoning” water, surface and groundwater games as well as other tools, and sample rules that communities have applied.
When: Wednesday, May 21, 2021. 7:00 – 9:00 am (AZ UTC-7)
No hassle, costs, or carbon emissions from traveling. Attend the entire conference safely from home.
Three days packed with prerecorded sessions and live events.
Meetup and Network
Interact with your peers during networking events.
March 27, 2021
Deadline for abstract submission
March 27, 2021
April 4, 2021
Notification on acceptance/rejection
April 4, 2021
May 7, 2021
Deadline for pre-recorded video submission
May 7, 2021
May 19-21, 2021
May 19-21, 2021
This virtual conference is accessible for small fees to cover the costs of the implementation of the meetings. All presenters will have to be or become IASC members. IASC members pay 10 dollars to attend the virtual conference live. All conference material will be available to IASC members after the conference. If you are not an IASC member, you can easily register here. Non-IASC members can attend the conference for a fee of 50 dollars. Dependent on sponsoring, waivers are available for early-career scholars and practitioners from the global south.
We are seeking sponsors to cover the costs of organizing the conference and fund IASC memberships for students and colleagues in the global south. We consider the following level of Sponsorships:
Platinum Sponsor: $5,000
Gold Sponsor: $2,000
Silver Sponsor: $1,000
Bronze sponsor: $120, which covers a membership for one participant for four years.
Platinum, Gold, and Silver sponsors will have their logo on the conference website, the size depending on the level of Sponsorship. If you have inquiries about sponsorships, please contact Marco.Janssen@asu.edu.
The Water Commons Conference and the Polycentricity Conference overlap on Wednesday, May 19, and conference participants of the Water Commons Conference can attend one live event of the Polycentricity Conference. Furthermore, we have a special networking event where participants of both conferences can mingle.
All times are in Arizona time (UTC -7). Last program update 5/14/2021.
WEDNESDAY, May 19
THURSDAY, May 20
FRIDAY, MAY 21
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm, May 20 Webinar Panel 5 – Governing and Conserving Groundwater-Dependent Ecosystems as Commons
Moderators: Shuchi Vora
Panelists: Allison Aldous, Sushmita Mandal, Yogesh Jadeja, and Sazina Bhimani
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05/20/2021 09:00 PM05/20/2021 10:00 PMAmerica/PhoenixWebinar Panel 5Governing and Conserving Groundwater-Dependent Ecosystems as CommonsOnline
11:00 am - 12:00 pm, May 20 Webinar Panel 3 – Advancing the study of collective action in agricultural water commons: theoretical fits, misfits and opportunities to draw on parallel theories
Moderator: Kira Sullivan-Wiley
Panelists: Courtney Hammond Wagner, Gemma Smith, and Landon Yoder
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05/20/2021 11:00 AM05/20/2021 12:00 PMAmerica/PhoenixWebinar Panel 3Advancing the study of collective action in agricultural water commons: theoretical fits, misfits and opportunities to draw on parallel theoriesOnline
When the conference content becomes available, we will provide a link to join the conference’s Slack workspace. Joining will allow you to communicate directly with other conference participants, coordinate meetups, share information, etc.
Interact with other participants in our
During the conference, you will be able to mingle with other participants in our Wonder Room (from https://wonder.me). The video below gives a simple introduction on how to use the platform. Once you log into the conference website you’ll find information about the location of the Wonder Room.
Listen and COntribute to our
We are creating a conference theme-based Spotify playlist available to all participants. During the conference, you will be able to add songs to the list.
“I lost my conference key” “I need a certificate of conference participation
How to get the most out of the IASC 2021 Water Commons Virtual Conference
Welcome to IASC 2021 Water Commons Virtual Conference! We are excited to have you on board! Whether this is your first time attending a virtual conference, or if this is one of many that you have experienced, we would like to give you some tips to increase your focus and make the most of your time during this event.
Block off your calendar
When we attend an in-person conference, part of what makes it special is being away from home, office, and our usual daily routine. We suggest that you do the same for this virtual conference. Let your employers, students, colleagues, and family know that you are immersing yourself in this 3-day conference. We are offering real-time panel discussions and networking events. Get the real-time events that you want to attend onto your calendar first. Then schedule time for yourself to enjoy the pre-recorded presentations.
During this conference, we will be communicating in real-time through a Slack workspace with a variety of Slack channels. If you are not familiar with Slack, check out this tutorial.
Interact with other participants
Encourage friends and colleagues to attend the conference with you. Utilize the comment sections on the pre-recorded presentations to ask questions and create dialogues about various points of view. Schedule 1-on-1 virtual meet-ups with people you meet during our various events. Throughout the conference, a virtual meeting place will be available for you to interact with other attendees at any time. We will be using the wonder.me platform as discussed in “Meet Other Participants”.
Let this event have a lasting impact
After the conference, the presentations will still be available to you. Live events will be recorded and posted for you to watch again. Stay connected to the participants you met while networking. If you are not an IASC member, consider joining and participating in future events.
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