Outline of the Book

The book is organized as follows. Chapter 2 presents the process model of grassroots global governance, discusses the dynamics of each phase, and identifies key points where the process breaks down. It then details grassroots global governance theory, describing key network activation strategies and explaining how various combinations of these strategies determine whether the process endures or breaks down, and where failed cases break down.

The remaining chapters examine grassroots global governance through the lens of Ecuador’s IWM reform attempts. Chapter 3 sets the stage by contrasting IWM with preexisting watershed management practices in Ecuador and describing the degree to which IWM reforms were implemented in the six cases. One purpose is to introduce the different local contexts where IWM reforms were pursued and local actors involved. In doing so, the chapter shows how success and failure does not correlate with local political, socioeconomic, cultural, demographic, or ecological conditions. The chapter’s second purpose is to clarify what successful IWM reform looks like and to describe the various outcomes in the six cases.

Chapters 4 and 5 analyze phase 1 of grassroots global governance by examining the diffusion of IWM to particular Ecuadorian localities through the expansion of transnational IWM networks. Chapter 4 shows how Ecuador’s national context acted as a filter, empowering some transnational networks and disem- powering others, thereby influencing how IWM was defined and operationalized domestically. The chapter also analyzes the network activation strategies IWM advocates used to navigate Ecuador’s national context and shift contestation to local arenas. Chapter 5 examines national network activation from the grassroots perspective and shows how the level of network activation experienced in a locality during phase 1 determines the prospects for success during phase 2. To illustrate this, the chapter traces the transition from phase 1 to phase 2 in two similar Andean cases: one where local IWM reform efforts succeeded (Celica) and one where they failed (Ibarra).

Chapters 6 and 7 examine phase 2 of grassroots global governance. Chapter 6 presents the results of frame analysis and social network analysis for all six cases. The results show how various combinations of network activation strategies explain why some local IWM reform attempts broke down while others led to experimentation with innovative institutional arrangements. The chapter highlights the strategies used in El Chaco to show how the right combination produces the pressure from beside needed for experimentation to endure. Other cases illustrate the strategies that cause phase 2 to break down during agenda setting, rule-making, or implementation efforts. Chapter 7 traces the entire IWM reform process in Tungurahua to show how changes in strategy produce different outcomes. The case illuminates how network activation strategies interact and reveals grassroots actors’ power to contest, translate, and adapt IWM principles to fit local realities. By showing how ordinary farmers, community organizers, and indigenous activists guided the way global IWM principles were applied locally and consequently evolved, the chapter demonstrates how grassroots actors become global governors.

Chapter 8 examines phase 3 of grassroots global governance. It shows how Tungurahua’s experimental IWM system institutionalized indigenous norms, associated with the concept buen vivir, which challenged the dominant international model of sustainable development. The chapter then explains how Tungurahua’s experiment was scaled up nationally through network activation, resulting in Ecuador’s National Plan for Buen Vivir. Ecuador’s experience catalyzed international organizing and action around a new global idea—the rights of nature—as a means for “living in harmony with nature" (buen vivir). Consequently, the Tungurahua case illuminates how local populations working with competing interpretations from international agendas experiment with innovative local governance regimes and how the scaling up of these regimes carries local norms, principles, and practices to the global level, where they challenge traditional thinking.

The concluding chapter reflects on some broader implications for understanding global governance structures that commonly form around local-cumulative problems like poverty, disease, deforestation, and climate change. In addition, the chapter offers several policy lessons with the hope that future reformers can learn from the Ecuadorian experience, and that Ecuadorians can use this research to improve their own efforts to solve local environmental programs and sustainably manage their natural resources for the benefit of local communities.

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