Duncan A. French, in his book on the role of the state and sustainable development (2002), wrote: “For many developed States a key challenge is how to achieve sustainable development without a return to centralized planning, an anathema to most States with developed market economies.” In this volume we propose that “bottom-up systems” like customary law play a role in the achievement of viable social systems.
This book is a compilation of contributions that was first debated during the Working Group meeting at Rockefeller Foundation Study and Conference Center in Bellagio (1999) on “The role of customary Law in a local self-governing sustainable development model.” The group met in 2000 at Richardson School of Law, Honolulu and in 2002 at University of Tromsø, Norway for discussions on the prospects of customary law establishing sustainable societies.
Most of the chapters are the sole responsibility of one or two contributors. Jes Bjarup undertook the studies presented in Chapter 3; Fred Bosselman has written Chapters 1, 6, 11, and Section 10.1 as well as the introduction and the conclusion. David Callies is the author of Section 2.1 and Chapter 4; Martin Chanock the author of Chapter 8 and Section 9.8; Hanne Petersen of Sections 2.3 and 10.3; and Peter Ørebech of Chapters 1, 5, 7 and Sections 2.2, 9.1–9.7, 9.9, 10.2, and the introduction and conclusion.
Despite the many authors and their sole responsibility for their contributions, the chapters are in many ways linked together.