So that a new governance of land and natural resources can be promoted, a deep change in our way of thinking must take place. Our method enables us to identify the forerunner signs and the sparks of this revolution of governance.
AGTER and the network it runs establish the means of observation which are necessary to identify, take inventory and compare what is moving in the world relating to management of land and natural resources:
new forms of social engagement
private management of functions that were ensured by the State until then
reconsideration of communities and redefinition of citizenship
forms of legal pluralism
new forms of relations between different levels of governance
construction of an international public scene through initiatives carried out by civil society.
The preparation of the Notebooks mentionned above was conducted by a group of people coming from different continents and having a long practice of the issues dealt with. Their approach was based on sharing experiences. From the exploration of many different realities, they built proposals and gathered lessons by going beyond differences and searching for the points situations had in common. The methodological framework and the learning processes based on this sharing of experiences have been validated during successive meetings that gathered participants from different regions of the world and of various socio-professional sectors.
For some Notebooks, such as the one on agrarian reforms and land policies, workshops organized during the two first social forums of Porto Alegre enabled to dig ideas and debates.
By its nature itself, the network has got specific dynamics of organization and development, which are very different from the ones of classic institutions. The network’s dynamics are not based on hierarchical conventions but on a conceptual framework which was freely assented by all. Its respect determines the capacity to act collectively.
This framework is the only warrant of originality of the contribution offered by the network. It helps to move forward, from the ability of collective analysis to the ability to built common proposals at an international level.
Sharing experiences and building collective proposals are the two ways of working that we chose in order to build the basis of the fundamental knowledge that is to be pooled within the network, distributed and promoted among different sectors of the civil society.
This working method permits to consider two key questions:
the question of the construction of new identities. They are often necessary in order to invent new forms of governance that are not only legal, but also legitimate. New social contracts can then be established between stakeholders.
the question of governance levels. No answer can be found if the reflection goes on being compartmentalized. Distribution of skills among different levels is not enough, it is also necessary to build a real cooperation between levels.
The only kind of partnership that can meet these challenges is a partnership that refuses the usual paternalism of States and funding organizations. It must also establish new social pacts that can fulfil long-term objectives.
For more details on methodological aspects, see Pierre Calame’s book (soon to be translated into English) « La démocratie en miettes »: see the website of the Editions Charles Leopold Mayer.