Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Common Property Resource Management in Vanuatu - Perspectives from a Community

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posted on 2021-11-03, 21:19 authored by Leathers, Amanda

Vanuatu's common property natural resources provide essential ecological services for the global community and sustain the livelihoods of 80% of the Vanuatu population. Sustainable management of natural resources is dependent on locally developed systems that govern common property resources. Understanding the drivers of commons management problems from local resource-users' perspectives is essential to know how local governance systems can be supported and strengthened. I explore locally identified drivers of commons management problems using a case study of the Tangoa Island community of South Santo, Vanuatu. Methods include participatory rural appraisal (PRA) techniques and 31 interviews with local people. Literature from Vanuatu as well as 18 interviews with Vanuatu government departments, NGOs, and aid donors informs how relevant the issues identified in the case study are for other communities across Vanuatu. I found that drivers at different contextual scales, from local to global, affect two main elements of a community's cooperative capacity for commons management - social cohesion and governance systems. The issues identified by the Tangoa Island community affect many Vanuatu communities because they are driven by wider processes of social, cultural, economic, and institutional change. Approaches to support and strengthen local social and governance systems can target drivers at multiple contextual scales.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Development Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Development Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Gavin, Michael; Weaver, Sean