“Territories of Commons” in Europe: pivotal for food production, nature stewardship, heritage maintenance and climate mitigation
Extended document presented and discussed during the first meeting of the European Commons Assembly, 15-17 November 2016, Brussels
The “Territories of Commons” provide innovative and customary solutions by the European people to solve the multiple crises Europe is facing these days (values, democracy, biodiversity, food, water, energy, rural depopulation). These territories produce essentials for human survival (water, food, air), they are important pieces of the European cultural heritage, people living and working there are the best stewards of Nature and biodiversity, food systems in those areas are better adapted than industrial food production to mitigation and adaptation to climate change effects, and the collective management practices applied to food systems and natural resources are fine-tuned to increase resilience, adaptability and production of valuable goods and services. In that sense, the traditional management of the commons, quite aligned with agro-ecological practices and direct and decentralized democratic practices, presents a feasible transition pathway and alternative narrative in the quest of sustainability and fairness to all Europeans and Nature.
The place-based commons, understood as collective-arrangements to manage resources useful for all members of the community, shall be legitimised, protected by policies and supported by higher EU funds as a legitimate, historically-rooted and sustainable way of managing natural and knowledge resources. They are valid pillar to combat climate change, biodiversity losses, democracy voids and generate healthy communities that create employment and meaningful livelihoods.