FES’ strategies are designed to promote informed and widespread action on nature conservation, natural resource management, local self-governance and sustainable livelihoods.

FES locates Commons in a larger landscape by promoting collective action at the local level. This shift highlights the criticality of nature conservation, of actively seeking ways to improve local employment, livestock production, farm productivity and overall returns, which are, at the same time, within ecological thresholds that foster rejuvenation and replenishment.

Working directly with local communities for improved governance of natural resources

FES works to accelerate momentum on the ground by strengthening local institutions across varied landscapes for informed, collaborative action on natural resource governance.

FES directly engages with communities to secure community land rights, strengthen collective action for inclusive governance of natural resources, and restore degraded landscapes through public investments. We incubate ideas for scale, by applying and adopting knowledge, information and analytics, and landscape-level conservation planning, to core actions.

Enhancing local capacities for policy and programme implementation

FES works to build people's capacities to secure and rejuvenate Commons, and to improve local governance.

The Prakriti Karyashala (Rural Colleges) are designed to become local centres for the exchange of ideas and experiences, providing large-scale, cost-effective and quality learning opportunities. The Karyashalas train rural communities, village institutions, Panchayats and government and NGO officials, who then provide training to stakeholders closest to their location. Results include marked improvements in planning methodologies, increased restoration of natural resources, and improved governance of community assets.

Partnering with governments and NGOs for informed and collaborative action

FES forges partnerships to embed Commons within government and NGO programmes, to address conservation and local stewardship.

We partner with governments and NGOs (and networks) to support on-ground work and implement policy actions, including the Right to Employment Act and the Forest Rights Act. We assist government and NGO partners to help harness the potential of information technology, for informed action at scale.

Building widespread evidence on the significance of nature conservation for improved social and economic outcomes

FES undertakes action research to improve our understanding of Nature, and of the interaction between natural and social systems. We collaborate with established institutions to monitor and evaluate ecological, institutional and economic change across landscapes, building data and evidence of the significance of nature conservation and collective action.

We innovate and incubate methods and tools (such as Community Based System Dynamics, Experimental Games and Crop Water Budgeting) to promote collective action, influence behavioural changes, and aid decision-making.

Strengthening local networks for social inclusion and accountability

FES aims to build more equitable community participation in developmental decision-making, ensuring in particular that women and marginalised groups are more consistently included in all participative governance processes and habitation level institutions relevant to Commons.

We also work towards expanding data access and use, and creating mechanisms to reinforce transparency, social accountability, and monitoring of programme implementation at the local level.

Centre-staging Commons by advancing the dialogue, locally and globally

FES works to enhance the debate, translate knowledge to action, and make visible a system-wide thought leadership, for a multiplier impact on community-led governance of shared natural resources.

The Commons Collaborative works to enable system-level shifts by embedding Commons in policies and programmes. It engages thematic groups to advance thinking in neglected domains like pastoralists, small ruminant livestock keepers, community property rights, and groundwater management. It seeks to advance the dialogue on Commons at local, regional, national and international levels, and root it in the larger goals of climate action and sustainable development. It also attempts to build data and evidence to align Commons as a part of the solution for Sustainable Development Growth (SDGs), Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), economic improvements, and biodiversity conservation.

Harnessing the potential of information systems and technology for improving civic engagement, scaling up, and sound use of public funds

FES seeks to promote informed action by improving access to knowledge, analytics and tools, for greater transparency, civic engagement and informed decision-making.

The India Observatory (IO) is a pan-India data platform where data on 1600+ parameters (social, economic, ecological) are spatially presented, from the village to the national level. By collaborating with various organisations and initiatives, IO aggregates and contextualises data, analytics, and tools to supplement the decision-making of rural communities, NGOs and local government officials. It also contains other resources such as Open Data Kits (ODK), Crop Water Budgeting, and more, to support planning, field implementation and monitoring of developmental activities.

Visit the IO website to learn about and access a range of tools and applications. Visit here

Building a groundswell of public opinion on Commons and highlighting the significance of nature conservation for rural economies

FES works to create a greater visibility for conservation needs and to build public opinion and a larger constituency for Commons.

FES employs Communications for greater outreach, to build lasting value, and to inspire change. We deploy communications in a three-pronged strategy to scale for breadth and depth, to help trigger action on the ground and to amplify knowledge and research, by creating spaces for engagement across platforms. We also harness social media and public forums to influence policy and the perception around Commons.

Please switch to portrait mode for optimal browsing experience