13th Biennial Conference of the IASC, January 10–14, 2011, in Hyderabad

The International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) publishes The International Journal of the Commons and organizes bi-annual international conferences to provide a common forum for academics, practitioners, activists, and policy makers. With the topic ‘Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future’ (10–14 January 2011), this year’s conference had a strong focus on environmental sustainability, natural resource management, urban commons, and India. As the conference took place in Hyderabad and the announced topics perfectly matched our research agenda, we gratefully presented and discussed ongoing research of our Project. Parts of our work on climate change, energy, food, institutions, traffic, and water were presented to an audience of more than 700 colleagues from all over the world.

On Monday the 10th, a pre-conference workshop with eleven parallel events took place. The Division of Resource Economics (RESS) from Humboldt University organised one, hosted by Prof. Markus Hanisch, Dr. Andreas Thiel, and Jes Weigelt, where ‘Analytical Frameworks as Learning Heuristics in Common Pool Resource Research’ was discussed. In the evening of the same day, among others, the Guest of Honour, Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests from the Government of India and Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Laureate in Economics and member of the scientific advisory board of our project, officially opened the conference. On Tuesday and Wednesday, several hundred research papers were presented and discussed in parallel sessions: among them papers from the project partners. Christian Kimmich, for instance, presented a paper with the title ‘Challenged commons: electricity governance and provision for groundwater irrigation and the impact on common-pool tank irrigation in dry land agriculture in Andhra Pradesh, India’. On Thursday the 13th, field trips were organized by different local research institutes. The International Water Management Institute, for example, hosted an excursion to Medak district, North of Hyderabad, where canal, lift, and tank irrigation coexist in one single village.

The last day of the conference was again reserved for paper presentations in parallel sessions. A special ‘Sustainable Hyderabad Panel’ under the title ‘Analyzing governance dilemmas in Megacity development’ – chaired by Fritz Reusswig and organized by Prof. Konrad Hagedorn, Prof. Markus Hanisch, Dr. Dimitrios Zikos and Christine Werthmann – included five presentations based on our project’s findings on: electricity (Julian Sagebiel – IfG), ‘Road space as urban commons’ (Angela Jain and Hans Dienel – NEXUS), road traffic and transportation (Bhuvanachithra Chidambaram – RESS and PTV), agriculture (Rajeshwari Mallegowda – IfG) and food (Ruhi Gandhi – RESS). The lively discussion with numerous colleagues attending the session will certainly further improve our work; meanwhile, many new contacts with colleagues working on similar topics have been established. In other sessions during that day, Jens Rommel, Christine Werthmann, and Dimitris Zikos (RESS) presented and discussed findings from recent research.

Summing up, the 13th Biennial Conference of the IASC was a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to present our research. Outcomes of the many discussions and plenty of newly established contacts will be of great use for future research. We would like to thank the organizers for their great efforts in making this conference an all-around successful event. The next biennial conference of the IASC will be held in Kyoto, Japan, in 2013 and the European Meeting of the IASC will take place from 14–17 September 2011 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. We are looking forward to these events to present the next phase of our research on the emerging megacity of Hyderabad.

A list of the presented papers can be accessed .