Through collective action, forest users, fishers, irrigators, herders and other rural producers can improve and sustain resources vital for their lives. Inclusive institutions for collective action empower communities to protect and improve their livelihoods. Many communities of resource users possess longstanding traditions of local cooperation, though these traditions may have been weakened in more recent times. In other cases, collective action seems absent, even when it ought to offer substantial benefits for those involved.<br /> <br /> What can be done when people seem unable or unwilling to act together to pursue their interests? Insights on factors crucial to stimulating and sustaining collective action have come from abstract game theory, laboratory experiments, historical research, case studies, and practical experience. This brief draws on this research to review how citizens, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), government agencies and others can strengthen collective action.