Transparency in global sustainability governance: to what effect?
Gupta, A. ; Boas, I.J.C. ; Oosterveer, P.J.M. - \ 2020
Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 22 (2020)1. - ISSN 1523-908X - p. 84 - 97.
environmental governance - transparency - accountability - empowerment - commodity chains - visibility - traceability - digital surveillance - information and communication technologies (ICTs) - sustainability governance - information disclosure
Transparency in environmental governance is no longer an uncontroversial answer to problems of accountability and effectiveness. How to design effective transparency systems and in what policy contexts they are effective remain contested issues. This special section, consisting of this introduction and four research articles, interrogates complex and potentially conflicting links between transparency, accountability, empowerment and effectiveness in environmental governance. Building on existing literature and the four contributions, we discuss persisting diversity in varieties of transparency, the evolving dynamics of commodity chain transparency, and the consequences of emerging novel forms of digitalized transparency. As we show, the contributions to this special section interrogate in novel ways the transformative potential of transparency, through shedding light on the performative effects of transparency in ever more complex environmental governance contexts. These contexts may include, inter alia, the growing ubiquity of traceability in transnational commodity chains, the need for ever more anticipatory (ex-ante) forms of environmental governance, and an ever-broadening quest for digitally monitored environments. In particular, the impacts of the realtime ‘radical’ transparency engendered by use of novel digital technologies remain under-analyzed in the sustainability domain. We conclude by raising several critical concerns that deserve further scientific research and policy debate.
Nine lives of uncertainty in decision-making: strategies for dealing with uncertainty in environmental governance
Dewulf, A.R.P.J. ; Biesbroek, G.R. - \ 2018
Policy and Society 37 (2018). - ISSN 1449-4035 - p. 441 - 458.
Uncertainty - ambiguity - wicked problems - decisionmaking - environmental governance
Governing complex environmental issues involves intensive interaction between public and private actors. These governance processes are fraught with uncertainties about, for example, the current state of environmental affairs, the relevant set of decision alternatives, the reactions of other actors to proposed solutions or the future developments likely to affect an issue. Uncertainty comes in different shapes and sizes and different strands in the literature, which has placed emphasis either on the substance of the issue (e.g. in environmental sciences) or on the decision-making process (e.g. policy sciences). In this paper, we bring together these different strands of literature on uncertainty to present a novel analytical framework. We build on the argument that the nature of uncertainty consists of three types: epistemic uncertainty (involving the lack of knowledge about a particular system), ontological uncertainty (irreducible unpredictability due to inherently complex system behavior) and ambiguity (conflicts between fundamentally different frames about the issue at hand). Scholars have also argued the importance of differentiating between three different objects of uncertainty: substantive uncertainty (uncertainty about the content of decisions or policy issues), strategic uncertainty (uncertainty about the actions of other actors in the strategic game of decision-making) and institutional uncertainty (uncertainty about the rules of the game in decision-making). The framework is useful for analyzing and addressing the nine lives of uncertainty in decisionmaking. Better understanding of the range of uncertainties is crucial to design more robust policies and governance arrangements and to deal with wicked environmental problems.
Metagoverning Aquaculture Standards: A Comparison of the GSSI, the ASEAN GAP, and the ISEAL
Samerwong, P. ; Bush, S.R. ; Oosterveer, P.J.M. - \ 2017
The Journal of Environment & Development 26 (2017)4. - ISSN 1070-4965 - p. 429 - 451.
aquaculture standard - metagovernance - GSSI - ASEAN GAP - ISEAL - environmental governance
The presence of multiple eco-certification standards for sustainable aquaculture is thought to create confusion and add cost for producers and consumers alike. To ensure their quality and consistency, a range of so-called metagovernance arrangements have emerged that seek to provide harmonized quality assurance over these standards. This article aims to answer the question of how these metagovernance arrangements differ and whether they actually reduce confusion, with a focus on aquaculture in Southeast Asia. We compare three metagovernance arrangements, the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative, the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Good Aquaculture Practices, with respect to differences in their goals, their levels of inclusiveness, and their internal governance arrangement. The findings indicate that these metagovernance arrangements differ with respect to their goals and approaches and do not seem to directly reduce confusion. More critically, they represent a new arena for competition among market, state, and civil society actors in controlling the means of regulation when aiming for more sustainable aquaculture production.
Governing cruise tourism at Bonaire: a networks and flows approach
Bets, L.K.J. van; Lamers, M.A.J. ; Tatenhove, J.P.M. van - \ 2017
Mobilities 12 (2017)5. - ISSN 1745-0101 - p. 778 - 793.
cruise tourism - marine community - networks - flows - environmental governance - Bonaire - small island developing state
Conceptual approaches to thoroughly study governance of cruise tourism are lacking in the literature. Relying on Castells’ network society, we analyze how two interconnected flows of cruise ships and passengers are governed by a marine community of users and policy makers. Bonaire is used as a case study. Research shows that the transnational cruise ship flow increasingly determines the local passenger flow at Bonaire. Therefore, the marine community increasingly connects with and adapts to the requirements of the transnational cruise network. Moreover, unequal power relations between cruise networks and flows prioritize the economy over the environment at Bonaire.
Eco-districts : can they accelerate urban climate planning?
Fitzgerald, Joan ; Lenhart, Jennifer - \ 2016
Environment and Planning C. Government and Policy 34 (2016)2. - ISSN 0263-774X - p. 364 - 380.
climate adaptation - climate mitigation - environmental governance - environmental policy - local climate action
Despite signing the Mayors Climate Change Agreement, few US cities have made significant progress in either climate mitigation or adaptation. For the most part, European cities have been more effective, albeit with assistance from the European Union and their national governments. Several of the most successful European cities have implemented eco-districts, which have offered many lessons for overall sustainability planning. Using Malmö, Sweden as a case study, we ask how planners and elected officials learned from implementing an eco-district, focusing on experimentation with new technologies and approaches to planning. We identify how “double-loop learning”, a term coined by Argyris and Shön, was at play in changing planning practice. As eco-districts are catching on in North American cities, there is much to be learned from European practice.
Sustainability Standards and the Water Question
Vos, J.M.C. ; Boelens, R.A. - \ 2014
Development and Change 45 (2014)2. - ISSN 0012-155X - p. 205 - 230.
forest stewardship council - virtual water - environmental governance - commodity networks - private standards - fair trade - food - certification - politics - market
Increased global trade in agricultural commodities has boosted fresh water consumption. This export of ‘virtual water’, embedded in products sold abroad, has increasingly affected local communities and ecosystems, especially in arid regions. Recent initiatives to certify agricultural production are showing a rapidly growing interest in considering water issues within schemes of quality assurance, sustainable production and fair trade. This article scrutinizes current water sustainability certification schemes, and how they affect local water user communities. The authors use three notions of governmentality to examine water sustainability standards and how they aim ‘to conduct the conduct’ of water users: (1) standards as ‘production of truth’ and ‘mentalities’ that constitute systems of collective rationalities, values, norms and knowledge; (2) standards as networks that prescribe roles and establish power relations between companies and producers; and (3) standards as ‘techniques of visibilization’ that control practices and discipline producers. Private standards in general reinforce the political and market power of private sector agro-food chains in local water management, to the detriment of local water user communities and national governments. However, sustainability certification could also potentially enable local, regional, national and international organizations of user communities to stake claims and negotiate to protect their water sources and livelihoods.
Multi-loop social learning for sustainable land and water governance: Towards a research agenda on the potential of virtual learning platforms
Medema, W.J. ; Wals, A.E.J. ; Adamowski, J. - \ 2014
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 69 (2014). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 23 - 38.
natural-resource management - organizational-change - adaptive management - environmental governance - ecological systems - distance education - climate-change - active-worlds - comanagement - framework
Managing social-ecological systems and human well being in a sustainable way requires knowledge of these systems in their full complexity. Multi-loop social learning is recognized as a crucial element to sustainable decision-making for land and water resources management involving a process of managing change where the central methodological concern is with effectively engaging the necessary participation of system members in contributing to the collective knowledge of the system. Ensuring the inclusion of the community of concern may help to ensure robust knowledge, the necessary plurality of views, responsibility sharing and trust enhancement. This will also provide more dynamic lines of input to problem solving: local and changing forms of knowledge, emerging concerns and constraints all feed into an ongoing decision-making process. This conceptual paper is focused specifically on identifying the key drivers and conditions that facilitate multi-loop social learning and the untapped potential of virtual learning platforms in this context. The hyper-connectivity that characterizes digitally mediated networks opens up significant possibilities for information exchange, knowledge creation, feedback, debate, learning and innovation, social networking, and so on. This paper provides a thorough literature review of the conditions and affordances that are conducive to multi-loop social learning in the context of sustainable land and water governance. The insights from this review confirm the potential of a ‘learning ecology’ or virtual learning platform for knowledge co-production, trust building, sense making, critical self-reflection, vertical and horizontal collaboration, and conflict resolution, while serving as a facilitating platform between different levels of governance, and across resource and knowledge systems. To conclude this paper, a developmental research agenda is proposed to refine and improve understanding of multi-loop social learning processes and their effective facilitation through virtual learning platforms.
Governing China’s food quality through transparency: A review
Mol, A.P.J. - \ 2014
Food Control 43 (2014). - ISSN 0956-7135 - p. 49 - 56.
environmental governance - information age - safe food - consumers - systems - trust - perceptions - incidents - risks
In coping with food quality problems, China relies heavily on state institutions, such as laws and regulations, governmental standards and certification, and inspections and enforcement. Recently, transparency (or information disclosure) has been introduced in China’s governance framework to cope with its growing food quality and related sustainability problems. This article investigates to what extent and how China’s transparency institutions and practices regarding food production and products play a role in governing food quality and safety. Four forms of food chain transparency are distinguished and assessed: management transparency, regulatory transparency, consumer transparency and public transparency. It is concluded that in China food chain transparency is still in its infancy with respect to governing domestic food production and product quality and safety, and that only with respect to global (export) food chains transparency and accountability put some pressure on agro-food chain actors to improve their performance with respect to food quality and sustainability. By the same token furthering transparency on food quality is desperately needed as the state’s food management and control system alone proves not capable to provide safe food that is credible and trusted by domestic consumers.
Measurementality’ in biodiversity governance: knowledge, transparency, and the Intergovernmental Science–Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
Turnhout, E. ; Neves, K. ; Lijster, E.B. de - \ 2014
Environment and Planning A 46 (2014)3. - ISSN 0308-518X - p. 581 - 597.
environmental governance - interface - politics - accountability - conservation - information
Current policies and practices in biodiversity conservation have been increasingly influenced by neoliberal approaches since the 1990s. The authors focus on the principle of transparency as a self-proclaimed basis of neoliberal environmental governance, and on the role of standardized science-based measurements which it purportedly affords. The authors introduce the term ‘measurementality’ to signify the governance logic that emerges when transparency comes to stand next to effectiveness and efficiency as neoliberal principles and to highlight the connections that are forged between economic, managerial, and technocratic discourses. The example of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is used to discuss the role of measurementality in global biodiversity governance. The analysis suggests that IPBES aims to coordinate the science–policy interface in order to optimize the generation of user-friendly knowledge of those elements of biodiversity that are considered politically and economically relevant: at the current economic juncture, these being in essence ecosystem services. Based on these findings, the authors proceed by critically reflecting on the ways in which the measurementality logic of IPBES may not only result in an impoverishment of the biodiversity research agenda, but also in an impoverished understanding of biodiversity itself. To conclude, the authors argue that measurementality is part and parcel of the neoliberal paradigm in which science produces the raw materials for subsequent control and exchange and that, as a result, the intersection of science, discourse, policy, and economics within these governance systems requires sustained critical scrutiny.
Unpredictable Outcomes in Forestry—Governance Institutions in Practice
Koning, J. de - \ 2014
Society & Natural Resources 27 (2014)4. - ISSN 0894-1920 - p. 358 - 371.
natural-resource management - environmental governance - ecuadorian amazon - decentralization - deforestation - livelihoods - bolivia - conservation - bricolage - market
Community forest management in the Amazon has been subject to institutional changes because of a shift from government to governance. Although these changes aim to create opportunities for local communities, the effectiveness of new institutions remains arbitrary. In particular, the unpredictability of legislative outcomes—as one of the institutional changes—evokes discussion on how local people respond to new institutions. This article analyzes the effects of forest institutions at the local level. By using the concept of institutional bricolage, the article argues that institutions in practice work differently than intended.
REDD+ policy strategy in Cameroon: Actors, institutions and governance
Somorin, O.A. ; Visseren-Hamakers, I.J. ; Arts, B.J.M. ; Sonwa, D.J. ; Tiani, A. - \ 2014
Environmental Science & Policy 35 (2014). - ISSN 1462-9011 - p. 87 - 97.
congo basin forests - environmental governance - climate-change - land-use - deforestation - emissions - degradation - adaptation
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is receiving increasing political and scientific attention as a climate change mitigation approach. The government of Cameroon has expressed an interest in participating in REDD+, and national deliberation on a policy strategy has attracted interest from different actors in the forest sector. This paper analyses the challenges of designing a governance structure for a REDD+ strategy in Cameroon. Theoretically, the paper builds on the literature on governance structures for resource management, focusing analytically on the interactions between actor constellations (state and non-state) and institutions (formal and informal) to produce policy outcomes. The paper draws on documentation of REDD+ policy events, policy texts and 23 in-depth interviews with members from government, civil society, research organizations, development partners and the private sector. It argues that although the actors involved in REDD+ are, to an extent, polarized around different issues and priorities, they are nonetheless increasingly distributing roles and responsibilities among themselves. The institutional arrangements within the policy process include: (1) rule-making systems for engagement; (2) expanding existing coordination mechanisms; (3) national safeguard standards; and (4) building on existing forest governance initiatives. The paper concludes that the multiple benefits promised by REDD+, such as poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation and economic development, are critical for the legitimacy of the mechanism.
Putting sustainable fisheries on the map? Establishing no-take zones for North Sea plaice fisheries through MSC certification
Toonen, H.M. ; Mol, A.P.J. - \ 2013
Marine Policy 37 (2013)1. - ISSN 0308-597X - p. 294 - 304.
environmental governance - marine - area - management - knowledge - economy - impact
Spatial approaches gain importance in the governance of marine practices and their environmental impacts. Harmful effects of fishing gear on marine habitats is seen as a considerable spatial conflict that needs to be resolved. One of the most severe measures is the instalment of ‘no take zones’. In the certification programme of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) this measure is considered to be a last resort. MSC provides a telling example of ‘informational governance’, that is, a mode of environmental governance wherein information plays a centripetal but often also contested role. Such governing through information is different from conventional state-led decision-making processes. This paper assesses the way informational processes in MSC have affected the settlement of the spatial conflict between plaice fisheries and sensitive habitats in the North Sea. It concludes that information is a formative force in bringing about sustainable fisheries but leads to different outcomes even if the target species and fishing methods are very much alike. This is due to the (nationally) specific informational interactions between non-state actors, especially fishermen and environmental Non-Governmental Organizations. Even though information in marine governance should be science-based, other information (brought in by these actors) is extremely relevant in designing spatial measures.
State governance of pesticide use and trade in Vietnam
Pham Van Hoi, ; Mol, A.P.J. ; Oosterveer, P.J.M. - \ 2013
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 67 (2013). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 19 - 26.
environmental governance - costs - china
Vietnam is facing serious challenges with respect to the amount and toxicity of the pesticides used. With hardly any domestic pesticides production, Vietnam experienced an exponential growth of both the quantity and the value of imported pesticides in recent years. And the increasing import of newly formulated (and safer) pesticides has not replaced or reduced the highly toxic pesticides with low efficacy. The improper use of pesticides by farmers (too high dosages, cocktailing of pesticides, inadequate pre-harvest intervals etc.) has further contributed to the environmental and health problems resulting from pesticides, especially in poorer areas where farmers have to largely rely on cheap but often old and more toxic pesticides. Despite a growth in pesticide policies and regulation, the state has been unable to regulate the pesticide market. The main causes behind the state failure in pesticide market regulation are the governance structure (i.e., centralized decision making), large corruption, information distortion and a failing legal system. To some extent, and in some more wealthy areas, famers and retailers have emerged successfully as new pesticide governance actors. But an overall improvement of pesticide registration and pesticide use can only rely on better government intervention: more stringent implementation and enforcement of regulations, more effective promotion of IPM-based pest control, further public participation in implementation and higher ethics within government.
The role of principles for allocating governance levels in the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development
Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, S.I.S.E. - \ 2013
International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics 13 (2013)4. - ISSN 1567-9764 - p. 441 - 459.
european-union - environmental governance - subsidiarity - institutions - politics - wto
The global deliberations on sustainable development took another step in their more than 20-year history at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012. A recurrent dimension of these negotiations is the allocation of governance to one or more specific levels in the outcome document. This allocation reflects the international consensus on who at what level should do what in sustainable development, and it has implications for both the effectiveness and legitimacy of sustainable development governance. This paper investigates the negotiation process and outcome of the conference preceding Rio ? 20, the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, analysing the extent to which normative principles played a role in the allocation of governance to specific levels. This was done through qualitative and quantitative analyses of the different drafts of the outcome document. The results show that, although there were clearly limited explicit discussions on principles, it was possible to infer elements of several normative principles for allocating governance in the arguments and outcome of the negotiations. Most prominent among these principles were national sovereignty, but both the principles of substantive and procedural subsidiarity could be detected as well as the principles of fit, culpability and capacity.
Opinions on legality principles considered in the FLEGT/VPA policy in Ghana and Indonesia
Wiersum, K.F. ; Elands, B.H.M. - \ 2013
Forest Policy and Economics 32 (2013). - ISSN 1389-9341 - p. 14 - 22.
voluntary partnership agreement - environmental governance - forest communities - poverty - livelihoods - enforcement - kalimantan - lessons - trade
The Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade programme (FLEGT) of the European Union aims at stimulating both legal timber production and good forest governance. The EU establishes Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) with individual tropical timber exporting countries; these VPAs should be developed through a stakeholder-inclusive governance process and define national standards for timber legality. The national policy level serves as an interface between the EU policy and the local realities of forest exploitation. This article assesses whether new assemblages of timber legality standards were developed at this interface. It presents the opinions of people actively engaged in the FLEGT/VPA process in Ghana (n = 38) and Indonesia (n = 40) about which principles regarding timber legality, law enforcement and social safeguards were considered during the VPA negotiations in each country. Almost half of the respondents (44%) were positive about the integrative focus of VPA discussions focusing on both forestry and livelihood issues, 40% considered it had mostly a limited focus or traditional timber sector focus, and 16% indicated a high degree of attention to social responsibility issues. There were differences in the characteristics of respondents and their opinions between Ghana and Indonesia; these reflect differences in organisation of the FLEGT/VPA process. The findings demonstrate how depending on country-specific policy processes principles from an international forest policy are adapted at national level; this may involve new assemblages of the original policy principles
Certification of community forestry enterprises: experiences with incorporating community forestry in a global system for forest governance
Wiersum, K.F. ; Humphries, S. ; Bommel, S. van - \ 2013
Small-scale Forestry 12 (2013)1. - ISSN 1873-7617 - p. 15 - 31.
environmental governance - stewardship-council - markets - work
This paper discusses the history and present status of community forest certification as an illustration of the growing interactions between global and local processes in forest governance. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification system is analyzed as an illustrative case of the trend towards increased incorporation of community-based forest enterprises (CFEs) into international initiatives for sustainable forest management and global markets. First the paper reviews the development of community-based forest management and the evolution in certification of community-based forest enterprises. Next it discusses the main challenges and opportunities for making CFE certification accessible and beneficial for communities. Finally it illustrates the importance of multi-level and multi-actor partnerships for creating effective interfaces between global standards and community forestry practices. The experiences with FSC certification of community-based forest enterprises demonstrate that community forestry is enlarging its scope from autonomous decision-making on local practice to incorporation in international forest governance systems. This experience also demonstrates that the application of global standards for sustainable forest management requires adaptation to local realities. These lessons are of relevance for further incorporation of community forestry in the newly evolving global programs for forest management and conservation.
Organic coasts? Regulatory challenges of certifying integrated shrimp–mangrove production systems in Vietnam
Tran Thi Thu Ha, Ha ; Bush, S.R. ; Mol, A.P.J. ; Dijk, H. van - \ 2012
Journal of Rural Studies 28 (2012)4. - ISSN 0743-0167 - p. 631 - 639.
environmental governance - sustainability initiatives - aquaculture - certification - thailand - standards - impacts - state - agriculture - communities
The Vietnamese government aims to expand the scale of Naturland certified organic production in integrated shrimp–mangrove farming systems across the coast of Ca Mau province by 2015. In doing so the division between public and private regulation has become blurred. We analyze the government's goal by examining the regulatory challenges of using organic certification as a means of linking farm-level management to the sustainability of coastal (mangrove) landscapes. The results show the importance of farmer perceptions of sustainable farm and landscape management, fair benefit sharing mechanisms in the certified value chain, and legitimate private sector-led auditing. We conclude that in order to overcome conflicts of interest and legitimate representation in organic certification, the social and economic conditions of production require regulatory intervention from provincial and local level government. To achieve benefits beyond the scale of the farm, the role of shrimp producers should be redefined as partners in rather than targets of regulation.
Transforming governance and institutions for global sustainability: key insights from the Earth System Governance Project
Biermann, F. ; Abbott, K. ; Andresen, S. ; Bäckstrand, K. ; Bernstein, S. ; Betsill, M.M. ; Bulkeley, H. ; Cashore, B. ; Clapp, J. ; Folke, C. ; Gupta, A. ; Gupta, J. ; Haas, P.M. ; Jordan, A. ; Kanie, N. ; Kluvánková-Oravská, T. ; Lebel, L. ; Liverman, D. ; Meadowcroft, J. ; Mitchell, R.B. ; Newell, P. ; Oberthür, S. ; Olsson, L. ; Pattberg, P. ; Sánchez-Rodriguez, R. ; Schroeder, H. ; Underdal, A. ; Camargo Vieira, S. ; Vogel, C. ; Young, O.R. ; Brock, A. ; Zondervan, R. - \ 2012
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 4 (2012)1. - ISSN 1877-3435 - p. 51 - 60.
social-ecological systems - environmental governance - climate-change - information disclosure - adaptive governance - regime complex - world - decentralization - accountability - transparency
The current institutional framework for sustainable development is by far not strong enough to bring about the swift transformative progress that is needed. This article contends that incrementalism—the main approach since the 1972 Stockholm Conference—will not suffice to bring about societal change at the level and speed needed to mitigate and adapt to earth system transformation. Instead, the article argues that transformative structural change in global governance is needed, and that the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro must turn into a major stepping stone for a much stronger institutional framework for sustainable development. The article details core areas where urgent action is required. The article is based on an extensive social science assessment conducted by 32 members of the lead faculty, scientific steering committee, and other affiliates of the Earth System Governance Project. This Project is a ten-year research initiative under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), which is sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), and the United Nations University (UNU)
Governing the transnational organic cotton network from Benin
Glin, L.C. ; Mol, A.P.J. ; Oosterveer, P.J.M. ; Vodouhè, S. - \ 2012
Global Networks 12 (2012)3. - ISSN 1470-2266 - p. 333 - 354.
environmental governance - political-economy - globalization - commodity - forests - food
In this article, we attempt to conceptualize the historical development and the governance structure of the transnational organic cotton network from Benin. We aim to discover how the organic cotton production-consumption network is governed locally and internationally. Existing bodies of literature on international agricultural production networks, in particular the Global Value Chains (GVC) perspective, focus on economic dimensions, but find it difficult to incorporate the sustainability dimension. We favour widening the concept of GVCs beyond economics by acknowledging and including environmental rationalities and the representatives of their interests, not as external elements, but rather as co-governing or co-structuring factors (or actors) of sustainable value chains. Our findings reveal that beyond the traditional producer versus buyer dualism, intermediate stakeholders, namely transnational and local environmental NGO networks, are instrumental in the construction, maintenance and transformation of the organic cotton network. It is also apparent that farmers' leaders play an important role in mediating and (re)building trust among organic farmers, though they exert insufficient vertical power in the organic cotton network to control it.
Databases, scaling practices, and the globalization of biodiversity
Turnhout, E. ; Boonman-Berson, S.H. - \ 2011
Ecology and Society 16 (2011)1. - ISSN 1708-3087 - p. 35 - 35.
environmental governance - politics - construction - perspective - multilevel
Since the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992, biodiversity has become an important topic for scientific research. Much of this research is focused on measuring and mapping the current state of biodiversity, in terms of which species are present at which places and in which abundance, and making extrapolations and future projections, that is, determining the trends. Biodiversity databases are crucial components of these activities because they store information about biodiversity and make it digitally available. Useful biodiversity databases require data that are reliable, standardized, and fit for up-scaling. This paper uses material from the EBONE-project (European Biodiversity Observation Network) to illustrate how biodiversity databases are constructed, how data are negotiated and scaled, and how biodiversity is globalized. The findings show a continuous interplay between scientific ideals related to objectivity and pragmatic considerations related to feasibility and data availability. Statistics was a crucial feature of the discussions. It also proved to be the main device in up-scaling the data. The material presented shows that biodiversity is approached in an abstract, quantitative, and technical way, disconnected from the species and habitats that make up biodiversity and the people involved in collecting the data. Globalizing biodiversity involves decontextualization and standardization. This paper argues that while this is important if the results of projects like EBONE are to be usable in different contexts, there is a risk involved as it may lead to the alienation from the organizations and volunteers who collect the data upon which these projects rely