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Arthur P.J. Mol

This paper aims to understand and illustrate how and to what extent the increasing role and importance of information, informational processes, and information technologies have changed the environmental policies and politics of state institutions. More specifically, how have states tried to find answers to the dilemmas resulting from a growing centrality of informational processes in environmental governance? As such, the paper sets out the contours of what can be labeled informational governance on the environment.

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Constanza Parra and Frank Moulaert

Introduction This article contributes to restoring the unity between “nature” and “culture” in the study of the governance of socio-ecological systems (SES) in academic disciplines such as ecology, biology, spatial planning and geography, as well as

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Erik Gawel and Kristina Bernsen

Although the traditional approach in water resources management is to address water-related scarcity problems at the local or regional scale, some see water as a global resource with global drivers and impacts, supporting the argument for a global governance of water. If water is not appropriately priced, or if “poor water governance“ creates adverse incentives for resource use in countries that export “virtual water,“ then increased demand from the world market may lead to the overexploitation of water or increasing pollution. Is this reason enough for a global governance of regional water-scarcity problems? On which scale should water-management problems actually be addressed, and can global action compensate for local and regional governance failure? The paper argues that compensating globally for regional governance failure could cause “problems of fit“ and present severe downside risks.

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Navigating Shifting Regimes of Ocean Governance

From UNCLOS to Sustainable Development Goal 14

Ana K. Spalding and Ricardo de Ycaza

Recent decades have seen a rapid increase in the diversity of ocean uses and threats, leading to the Anthropocene ocean: a place fraught with challenges for governance such as resource collapse, pollution, and changing sea levels and ocean chemistry. Here we review shifts in ocean governance regimes from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the first legal regime for the global ocean, to Sustainable Development Goal 14 and beyond. This second period represents a merging of growing international interest in the ocean as part of the global sustainable development agenda—characterized by a focus on knowledge, collaboration, and the formation of alliances between diverse actors and institutions of environmental governance. To conduct this review, we analyzed literature on changing actors, regimes, and institutional arrangements for ocean governance over time. We conclude with a summary of challenges and opportunities for future ocean governance.

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Ehsan Nouzari, Thomas Hartmann, and Tejo Spit

The underground provides many spatial planning opportunities as it offers space for structures, but also functions as a resource for energy. To guide developments and use the capabilities the underground provides, the Dutch national government started a policy process for the Structuurvisie Ondergrond (a master plan). Stakeholders are involved in the policy process because of the many interests linked to underground functions. However, past policy processes related to the underground dealt with lack of stakeholder satisfaction. This article explores a quantitative approach by focusing on (a) statistical testing of four criteria of interactive governance and (b) using said criteria to evaluate the satisfaction of stakeholders in a policy process. This article highlights the usefulness of a more quantitative approach and provides new insights into the relation between interactive governance and the procedural satisfaction of stakeholders. It also provides insights that help to improve interactive governance in terms of process management to achieve greater procedural satisfaction.

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Niki Frantzeskaki, Jill Slinger, Heleen Vreugdenhil, and Els van Daalen

This article presents the reframing of flood management practices in the light of social-ecological systems governance. It presents an exploratory theoretical analysis of social-ecological systems (SES) governance complemented by insights from case study analysis. It identifies a mismatch between the goals of the underlying ecosystem paradigms and their manifestation in management practice. The Polder Altenheim case study is an illustration of the consequences of flood management practices that do not match their underlying paradigm. The article recommends two institutional arrangements that will allow institutions to increase their capacity to co-evolve with SES dynamics: (a) institutional arrangements to ensure and enable openness in actor participation, and (b) institutional arrangements to enable updating of the management practices in response to SES dynamics.

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Documenting Sea Change

Ocean Data Technologies, Sciences, and Governance

Kathleen M. Sullivan

This review examines social science and practitioner literature regarding the relationship between ocean sciences big data projects and ocean governance. I contend that three overarching approaches to the study of the development of ocean sciences big data techne (the arts of data creation, management, and sharing) and data technologies can be discerned. The first approach traces histories of ocean sciences data technologies, highlighting the significant role of governments in their development. The second approach is comprised of an oceanic contribution to the study of ontological politics. The third takes a human-social centered approach, examining the networks of people and practices responsible for creating and maintaining ocean sciences big data infrastructure. The three approaches make possible a comparative reflection on the entangled ethical strands at work in the literature.

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Marie Mahon, Frances Fahy, Micheál Ó Cinnéide, and Brenda Gallagher

The urban-rural fringe in Ireland harbors diverse and often competing visions of place that unfold against a backdrop of rapid physical and socio-economic change. The desire to develop and articulate a shared sense of belonging rooted in place might be reasonably expected to lead to community-level expression through diverse local organizations. These in turn become embedded in wider institutionalized systems of governance. The importance of place vision, and the extent of civic engagement to create and protect such a vision, is the focus of this article. The ongoing and predominantly developer-led transformation of fringe locations has coincided with a shift from government to governance (particularly at local level) and associated changes in power relationships among various stakeholders. This article investigates the extent to which residents of fringe locations perceive themselves as part of local governance processes and explores the implications of such perceptions for citizenship and local democracy.

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Michiel P.M.M. de Krom and Peter Oosterveer

In August 2005, avian influenza entered European public arenas as the next food and agricultural risk. As the virus was detected close to Europe, questions arose whether measures were required to protect human health and secure European food supply. This article analyzes the public debates on the characteristics of the risk and on the interventions needed. The mass media in two EU member states, the UK and the Netherlands, were studied for this purpose. With the help of qualitative analysis the debates were analyzed as they unfolded in selected national newspapers. Arguing that risks are socially mediated realities, the article discusses how struggles on risk definitions relate to different policy decisions. Moreover, it analyzes how these political dynamics are informed by the involvement of state, market, and civil society actors in European governance, and discerns their wider implications for the functioning of the EU food governance framework.

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Remaking Oceans Governance

Critical Perspectives on Marine Spatial Planning

Luke Fairbanks, Noëlle Boucquey, Lisa M. Campbell, and Sarah Wise

Marine spatial planning (MSP) seeks to integrate traditionally disconnected oceans activities, management arrangements, and practices through a rational and comprehensive governance system. This article explores the emerging critical literature on MSP, focusing on key elements of MSP engaged by scholars: (1) planning discourse and narrative; (2) ocean economies and equity; (3) online ocean data and new digital ontologies; and (4) new and broad networks of ocean actors. The implications of these elements are then illustrated through a discussion of MSP in the United States. Critical scholars are beginning to go beyond applied or operational critiques of MSP projects to engage the underlying assumptions, practices, and relationships involved in planning. Interrogating MSP with interdisciplinary ideas drawn from critical social science disciplines, such as emerging applications of relational theory at sea, can provide insights into how MSP and other megaprojects both close and open new opportunities for social and environmental well-being.