Table 3. Design principles derived from studies of long-enduring institutions for governing sustainable resources

1. Clearly Defined Boundaries
The boundaries of the resource system (e.g., irrigation system or fishery) and the individuals or households with rights to harvest resource units are clearly defined.

2. Proportional Equivalence between Benefits and Costs
Rules specifying the amount of resource products that a user is allocated are related to local conditions and to rules requiring labor, materials, and/or money inputs.

3. Collective-Choice Arrangements
Most individuals affected by harvesting and protection rules are included in the group who can modify these rules.

4. Monitoring
Monitors, who actively audit biophysical conditions and user behavior, are at least partially accountable to the users or are the users themselves.

5. Graduated Sanctions
Users who violate rules-in-use are likely to receive graduated sanctions (depending on the seriousness and context of the offense) from other users, from officials accountable to these users, or from both.

6. Conflict-Resolution Mechanisms
Users and their officials have rapid access to low-cost, local arenas to resolve conflict among users or between users and officials.

7. Minimal Recognition of Rights to Organize
The rights of users to devise their own institutions are not challenged by external governmental authorities, and users have long-term tenure rights to the resource.

For resources that are parts of larger systems:

8. Nested Enterprises
Appropriation, provision, monitoring, enforcement, conflict resolution, and governance activities are organized in multiple layers of nested enterprises.

Source: Based on Ostrom (1990).