Common Pool Nature in the Mekong Bioregion : Dialogues, Ethics, and Justice
Within a bioregion of diverse political-economic state systems and that is home to myriad ethnic groups, this book explores the complex human-nature relationships to interrogate the political ecology and environmental history of the Mekong bioregion "commons". In doing so, the book maps the challenges of inter-state cooperation over a bioregion that is ecologically integrated and yet fragmented and territorialized by the states themselves. The book moves beyond neo-institutionalist frameworks of common pool resources that emphasize the economic value of natural resources by proposing the concept of common pool nature (CPN) to which ethical values and the sacred, as foundations of the relationship between the people and nature, are central. CPN offers new insight into the region’s resource conflicts, including the politics of knowledge and scale in mega-project decision-making together with environmental justice given divergences between state and ethnic justice systems. The authors argue that ensuring human and ecological security in the Mekong bioregion will rest on more effective use of multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary knowledge which spans formal planning mechanisms, scientific approaches, social science, local ecological knowledge and indigenous ethical systems, mediated by multi-cultural dialogues.
The book focuses on the software platform of environmental and social justice as a means to transcend national politics and to see how indigenous ethical systems may provide insights into the environmental philosophy of sustainable human-nature relationships. This book advocates the need to engage stakeholders at all spatial scales, economic segments and social hierarchies in meaningful dialogue in the on-going Mekong bioregional project.