Reaching for New Perspectives on Co-Management: Exploring the Possibilities for Systemic Change and Indigenous Rights under the

Tara Goetze, Graduate Student, McMaster University

Submitted to Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Conferenceof the International Association for the Study of Common Property,Vancouver, British Columbia. June 9-14, 1998.

In recent years, a spectrum of the theoretical and practical implications of co-management regimes has emerged, dominated by a particular scope of inquiry; co-management is often seen primarily from a resource-centred perspective. Certainly, ecological considerations are both useful and necessary. Yet the literature reveals a shared understanding that co-management is also about negotiating relationships between people with varying interests in, and varying degrees of authority over, the resource. So, the social and political dimensions of co-management have been recognized, but to a limited degree. In considering the significance of co-management, what might be called 'analytical reach' could be augmented. Using the Interim Measures Agreement (IMA) between the Government of BC and the Nuu-chah-nulth in Clayoquot Sound as an example, I suggest there is great value in reaching beyond the immediate resource-related issues to explore the broader significance and implications of co-management regimes as political, legal and social phenomena. This 'second level' of analysis provides important theoretical and practical insight into issues such as decentralized power-sharing, and indigenous rights.

Incorporating Analytical Reach into Co-Management Research
There is a need for a clearer consideration of the extensive political and social dimensions of joint resource management, and the issue of power-sharing, which 'effective' co-management not only requires, but creates, when it is successful. This is not to say that the ecological components are less significant, but that co-management is not singularly or even dominantly an ecological issue; using this approach, the ecological aspect of co-management is a catalyst, or a starting point, for addressing a spectrum of other social, political and legal issues. My aim is to 'reach out' and comment on the broader implications of this understanding from the perspective of recent research in Clayoquot Sound. The Interim Measures Agreement for Clayoquot Sound A key aspect of the IMA, the Central Region Board (CRB), is designed to oversee all land-use decisions in Clayoquot Sound. The Board, made up of equal numbers of Nuu-chah-nulth and local provincial appointees, reviews all resource use and development proposals and makes its decisions by consensus. Should voting take place, a 'double majority' clause comes into effect. As understood by Nuu-chah-nulth, this means that a majority of Nuu-chah-nulth as well as a majority of all CRB members is required for a decision to pass. In essence, this gives the Nuu-chah-nulth participants veto power. Only the provincial cabinet may overturn CRB decisions. If this occurs, the Central Region Resource Council, composed of Nuu-chah-nulth Hereditary Chiefs and cabinet ministers, would conduct a public inquiry into the decision, which the provincial government would rather avoid, given the inherent volatility of resource issues in Clayoquot Sound.

Co-management, Power-Sharing, and Systemic Change
Many researchers advocate the delegation of authority to local users, often indigenous peoples, under co-management. Suggestions include power-sharing, decentralizing control over the resource base, and self-government for First Nations. Pursuing these ideas beyond their ecological value by attaching their discussion to the wider political implications of power-sharing between indigenous peoples and the state presents co-management as a means to greater systemic changes. As an interim measure which allows the state to experience power-sharing in limited domain, and affords indigenous communities a degree of the autonomy they ultimately desire, co-management allows a period of adjustment or 'confidence building' for governments considering or negotiating claims for broader arrangements of self-governance for indigenous peoples. By introducing new forums for dialogue between Central Region Nuu-chah-nulth, government representatives, and other local stakeholders, the CRB has facilitated the creation of new and positive relationships within a structure of unique power-sharing between First Nations and the provincial government. For Nuu-chah-nulth whom I interviewed, this context of partnership is a significant shift from the state paternalism they have historically experienced. In addition, the CRB is being considered as a model for post-Treaty resource management at the ongoing Nuu-chah-nulth treaty negotiations. This continuity would certainly ease the transition to a post-Treaty environment in Clayoquot Sound, given the familiarity with the devolution of authority the IMA has made possible. Co-management and Indigenous Rights The ways in which co-management might address issues related to indigenous rights, often focus on the recognition of property rights as they relate to ownership or access to resources, and the authority over the resources that ownership confers. Evaluating co-management regimes from a 'rights-in-practice' perspective expands this discussion. Certainly, the recognition of indigenous rights does not necessarily result in those rights being exercised at the local level. Since many indigenous claims are based on claims to certain rights, it is relevant to assess how various forms of co-management address those claims. Furthermore, whether, and how, co-management agreements might 'transpose' internationally endorsed rights discourse to locally engaged rights-in-practice is worthy of consideration. In the case of the IMA, Nuu-chah-nulth make an important connection between the recognition, protection and exercising of their rights to the exercise of power that participation on the CRB and the presence of the double majority clause make possible. Nuu-chah-nulth feel the 'veto' power that double majority represents is key in providing the political leverage required to exercise their rights to self-determination and resource use and protection. Moreover, by sharing determinative authority with Nuu-chah-nulth in the decision-making process regarding resource use on their traditional territories, the IMA allows the Central Region Nuu-chah-nulth to exercise many of the rights recognized in the UN Draft Declaration on Indigenous Rights.

An augmented level of analysis is not confined to issues of systemic change or indigenous rights. The capacity of co-management to mobilize principles ofparticipatory, community-based development is also worthy of investigation. Ultimately, 'analytical reach', involves evaluating co-management as the means to much broader political, legal, economic, and social ends, and highlighting its potential as a promising institutional development for addressing indigenous claims within state systems.