Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has urged scholars, researchers, and practitioners to accommodate the views and aspirations of locals for sustainable development.
Mudavadi said that tapping the potential of the commons can help in shaping a sustainable and prosperous future.
He said this can be achieved through adopting innovative conservation practices, promoting responsible land use, and empowering local communities.
Additionally, the CS said sharing natural resources as well as managing them should be guided by principles of fairness, equity, and sustainability to enable countries make great strides in development.
‘‘At the heart of the commons we want, is the acknowledgment that our natural resources are finite and must be managed wisely,’’ Mudavadi said.
He added: “Sustainable land and water management is crucial for the preservation of our biodiversity, and the mitigation of climate change impacts; and therefore, the well-being of world communities.’’
Mudavadi was speaking when he opened the 19th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) at the University of Nairobi.
The conference took place at the University of Nairobi but co-organized with the Centre for Integrated Training and Research in ASAL Development CETRAD, the University of Bern (Institute of Social Anthropology ISA and Centre for Development and Environment CDE).
The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH, Basel, Switzerland) and the Swiss Society for African Studies (SSAS) also participated in the discourse on commons and communing.
The meeting is the second to be held in Africa after 20 years, pushing forward the decolonization of conferences and the decolonization of science.
A total of 110 panels that bring together over 600 paper abstracts will be transacted in the five days conference.
The organizing committee Dr Boniface Kiteme said re-imagining the digital world will explore the aspects of training and content and how organizations can utilize these resources for external growth.
‘‘The conference looks back and appreciates the colonial legacies as they shape our thinking and actions into the future strategies for sustainable conservation and development,’’ Kiteme said.
University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, Prof Stephen Kiama, urged participants to embrace research to guide nations on various matters affecting its citizens.
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‘‘I challenge policymakers in government to make good use of research outputs to inform government policies and actions for addressing societal problems. The research function is, therefore, an important pillar and priority for the University of Nairobi,’’ Prof. Kiama said.
Mudavadi said by harnessing the power of collaboration and inclusivity, many countries can create a future that is just, resilient, and prosperous for all.
Mudavadi urged sharing of resources, spaces, and systems equitably for any meaningful development to be realised.
He said sharing resources, spaces, and systems that are managed collectively, will guide the development planning of a given country adding that everyone in society has equal access to resources, opportunities, and decision-making processes
This year’s conference theme was "The Commons We Want: Between Historical Legacies and Future Collective Actions.”
Mudavadi said the country has embraced the spirit of working together to uplift each other since independence, which has enabled the country to scale high in development.
‘‘Kenyans belong to associations that pool resources for each member’s development. This has become the foundation for a shared vision of sustainable development that influences government development planning,’’ he said.
He reiterated that by investing in quality education, promoting research, and fostering intellectual exchange, countries can build the capacity of their citizens to understand and address the complex challenges they face.
‘‘Through collaboration between universities, research institutions, and communities – and government - we can generate innovative solutions that will produce a sustainable future,’’ he said.
Mudavadi emphasized the need to embrace technology and innovation saying digital advancements offer immense opportunities for participatory governance, citizen engagement, and the efficient management of resources.
IASC has been shaping the debate on alternative development pathways by way of putting the commons center stage.
This builds genuine resilience in a tendency to respond in the context of the pandemic, building resilience for a broad range of society has become ever more pertinent, but the framework conditions.
The conference provides a much-needed link to future-oriented research and practice perspective with a look back since many legal and structural legacies predetermine possible development pathways.