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The two days international conference and workshop on Legal Pluralism in Natural Resource Management has been organized by Amrita School of Business (ASB) and Asian Initiative on Legal Pluralism (AILP) supported by the international Commission on Legal Pluralism, held at Amrita School of Business, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Ettimadai, Coimbatore India during March 30-31, 2012. The conference brings out interesting perspective to various issues on legal pluralism relating to natural resources across various regions of India and a few other regions of South and South-East Asian Countries.

On behalf of the ASB and conference coordinator, Dr. V.S. Somanath, Dean ASB extended hearty welcome to the gathering and introduced the theme and scope of the AILP workshop. In his introductory remarks on the workshop, Dr. Somanath, traced the relevance of the concept and issues of Legal Pluralism in not only in the areas of natural resource management but also in the field of business law, finance, taxation etc. His brief introduction also traced that, legal pluralism encompasses so many issues and reasonable questions in an integrated manner.

The workshop was led by four key resource persons during four technical sessions. The first session on “Theories and Concepts of Legal Pluralism: An Historical Perspective” was led by Dr. Sulistyowatri Irianto, Law University of Indonesia, Indonesia.

The second session on “Theories and Concepts of Legal Pluralism: Contemporary Issues” was led by Dr. D. Parthasarthy, IIT Bombay, India.

The third session on “Application of Legal Pluralism in Natural Resource Management” was led by Dr. Maarten Bavinck, University of Amsterdem, The Netherland.

The final session on “Application of Legal Pluralism in Natural Resource Management” was led by Dr. Svein Jentoft, University of Tromso, Norway.

The conference brings out various shades and application of legal pluralism concepts in natural resource management. The issues cover resources including forest, water, fisheries, agriculture etc. Similarly, the cases are from various regions of India as well as a few other regions of South and South-East Asia. Institutional and ecosystem issues are often intertwined in a complex way. Besides, the resource dependency in each ecosystem is different. The institutional responses are often shaped by nature of resources, dependency on these resources for livelihood as well as critical involvement of various stakeholders including the state and communities. Therefore, it is important to understand how legal pluralism as a method of enquiry works in varied ecosystem. The papers in this conference attempted to understand these different ecosystems that include marine, costal, deserts, hilly tracts, mountains, valleys etc.

Dr. Sudarsana Natchiappan, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India inaugurated the conference on ‘Legal Pluralism in Natural Resource Management’ in the presence of Pro Chancellor Abhyamrita Chaitanya, Maarten Bavinck, President of Commission on Legal Pluralism, and an Associate Professor at the Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands and many others.

Dr. Natchiappan told that the scope of legal pluralism in the realm of international study is enlarging since every country is bound by legal compulsions of various institutions created in domestic and international governance. He also said that the topic on ‘Legal Pluralism in Natural Resource Management’ became much more enhanced to resolve conflicts and disputes with various stake-holders. He argued that “In earlier times, the natural resources of
a country were not attractive to another country. This was because the use of such natural resources depended on the national need and was based on the technology and know-how of that country”. Further he argued that “In the 18th and 19th centuries, expansion of colonial rule by various countries in search of natural resources for value addition and market, through the industrial revolution created the explosion of laws, regulation and multiplication of legal pluralism”.

Dr. Natchiappan released the conference proceeding entitled “Legal Pluralism in Natural Resource Management: South and South-East Asian Perspectives” edited by Dr. Amalendu Jyotishi, Dr. Sushanta Mahapatra, Dr. Maarten Bavinck, Published by Excel India Publishers, New Delhi, India, ISBN: 978-93-82062-16-5.

Presence of multiple stakeholders often leads to a multiple forums of law in the case of dispute, conflicts and negotiations. And in many cases, the approach point need not necessarily be the statutory law. These situations give rise to legal pluralism. All the papers have been divided into six broader categories, presented in six technical sessions, apart from inaugural and concluding session. Of these, the first three categories are specific to three

different and important resources namely forest, water and fisheries. Remaining three categories includes set of papers on rights of indigenous communities in resource management, historical understanding of conflict and natural resource appropriation and its evolution, and perspective thinking on recognition of legal pluralism on the onset of various conflicts and negotiation in environment and natural resource management as well as larger governance issues in environment and resource management.

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