The Commons

Commons Action for the United Nations-FW10

The commons is the main focus of a group of collaborators from
around the world called Commons Action for the United Nations.
We are bringing awareness of our shared ecological and social resources—
our commons—to UN policy and programs. Our goal is
to highlight the necessity of commoning processes, where people
at local levels claim sovereignty over the resources they depend
on for their livelihoods and quality of life. Just as governments
have sovereignty that originates from the trust of the people of
each nation, so too the people must have sovereignty over those
resources of natural and social capital that ensure them a livable
future. Neither political expediency nor relative market value can
take precedence over this innate sovereignty. 

Ultimately, this means local people working together to protect,
govern and manage their commons through the formation of Social
Charters, Commons Associations and Commons Trusts, cooperating
within and beyond political borders with the full
support of far-sighted government, enlightened business and
global civil society. these new commons institutions, networked
and scaled up and down among local, regional and global levels,
will help balance the role of governments and globalized markets in
support of all people and the resources upon which we all depend. 

Commons Action is more than a movement; it is the growing realization
that a meta-narrative is emerging in which all sectors of
society are being called to re-evaluate our shared direction, recognizing
the need for deep structural adjustments—economic,
political and societal—to address global inequities, ecological
crises and financial instability. 

Join this growing common awareness in support of our local, regional
and global commons. Here’s how you can get involved: 

1. Participate in a free on-line Common Course:
Commons Action for the United Nations and the Anthroposphere
Institute will be sponsoring free on-line Commons Courses. 

2. Join a Commons Action working group: 

• Commons Economics – Policy development, social charters
and commons trusts, Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Project: local interviews
and documentary film. 

• Commons Education – Building commons awareness in civil
society, the business sector and the UN, including United Nations
University and UNITAR. 

• Letter Writing Team – Civil society organizations and NGO’s
collaborate to bring key commons information and solutions to
Governments and UN Programs. 

• Commons Advocacy Team at the United Nations attends UN
Conferences, works with Major Groups to give input into Government
proceedings and negotiations, organizes educational side events,
develops working relationships with representatives of Governments.
For Fall 2010, COY6, COP16. For 2011, Commission for
Sustainable Development19 and PrepCom2. For 2012, Rio +20. 

3. Share commons information with others to help build
awareness and a global commons network of cooperation: 

• The first UN High Level Segment policy statement in support
of the commons was UN document E/2010/NGO/29. 

• See for basic information on the
commons and how creation of commons associations and trusts can
balance the relationship between government and business in favor of
resource preservation and justice for human and natural communities. 

• Search for information on commons
related projects and models around the world. 

• Subscribe to Kosmos Journal. 


Lisinka Ulatowska at 

Mary Beth Steisslinger at

This article was originally published in the Fall | Winter 2010 issue of Kosmos Journal.