By Surya Nath Upadhyay
FMIS Promotion Trust
Welcome Program to Nobel Laureate Dr. Elinor Ostrom’s visit to Kathmandu,
Annapurna Hotel, Darbar Marga, Kathmandu, Monday,
December 06, 2010
Distinguished Prof. Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Laureate
Honorable guests, friends and colleagues!
This is a moment of happiness; a time for celebration. Prof. Elinor Ostrom won the 2009 Nobel Prize for economics, as they say, asking and responding to unusual questions. These questions, as we know, emanated from the very natural human concern about sustainability of our civilization and society; our heritage. These questions may relate to farming systems, social organizations, methods of conflict resolution and the arrangement of property rights. She received the prestigious Nobel Prize for decades of research including her works on FMIS, Nepal’s great techno-cultural heritage. Her research challenges the belief that common property like FMIS is always poorly managed and should be regulated by the state or privatized.
I do not need to go into the kind of natural kinship that we at the Farmer Managed Irrigation System Promotion Trust share with Prof. Lin Ostrom. But it is this kinship and its enduring quality of self-maintenance, self-adaptation and self-promotion that makes this event, this celebratory program, so special, so familial and so gratifying.
Even in the celebratory mood, honestly speaking, the sense of responsibility to protect and promote FMIS with their core heritage values is overwhelming. From the writings of many researchers who are present in this august gathering and the five volumes of proceedings of the five FMIS international seminars produced by the FMIS Promotion Trust in the last 10 years, what one could see very clearly is: Despite the professional and research-based glorification of FMIS and their heritage, FMIS and their heritage have not been able to get their primary voice represented. As a consequence, their autonomy is at serious risk. Perhaps an eloquent evidence of the looming risk is the new book by Dr. Prachanda Pradhan entitled Eroding Social capital through Incompatible Legal and Institutional Regime. Prof. Ostrom will be graciously launching this book after my short statement.
Faced with the risk, ladies and gentlemen, we therefore would like to take this opportunity of celebrating her winning of the Nobel Prize as an occasion to request Prof. Ostrom to return to Nepal to carry on her research on issues that help safeguard interdisciplinary core heritage values of the commons, the FMIS.
At the end, distinguished Prof. Lin Ostrom, we warmly congratulate you on your accomplishments in the non-conventional economics of global commons and their institutions that only help make this planet much creative, plural and livable.