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Governance for sustainability: towards a 'thick' analysis of environmental decisionmaking

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  • W Neil Adger
  • Katrina Brown
  • Jenny Fairbrass
  • Andrew Jordan
  • Jouni Paavola
  • Sergio Rosendo
  • Gill Seyfang

Abstract

Environmental decisions made by individuals, civil society, and the state involve questions of economic efficiency, environmental effectiveness, equity, and political legitimacy. These four criteria are constitutive of the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, which has become the dominant rhetorical device of environmental governance. We discuss the tendency for disciplinary research to focus on particular subsets of the four criteria, and argue that such a practice promotes solutions that do not acknowledge the dynamics of scale and the heterogeneity of institutional contexts. We advocate an interdisciplinary framework for the analysis of environmental decisionmaking that seeks to identify legitimate and context-sensitive institutional solutions producing equitable, efficient, and effective outcomes. We demonstrate the usefulness of our approach by using it to examine decisions concerning contested nature conservation and multiple-use commons in the management of Hickling Broad in Norfolk in the United Kingdom. We conclude that interdisciplinary approaches enable the generalisation and transfer of lessons in a way that respects the specifics and context of the issue at hand.

Suggested Citation

  • W Neil Adger & Katrina Brown & Jenny Fairbrass & Andrew Jordan & Jouni Paavola & Sergio Rosendo & Gill Seyfang, 2003. "Governance for sustainability: towards a 'thick' analysis of environmental decisionmaking," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 35(6), pages 1095-1110, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:35:y:2003:i:6:p:1095-1110
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    3. Gwenole LE VELLY & Céline DUTILLY & Driss EZZINE DE BLAS & Chloë FERNANDEZ, 2015. "PES as Compensation ? Redistribution of Payments for Forest Conservation in Mexican Common Forests," Working Papers 201528, CERDI.
    4. Bertrand Zuindeau, 2006. "Spatial approach to sustainable development: Challenges of equity and efficacy," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(5), pages 459-470.
    5. Rupsha Banerjee, 2015. "Farmers’ perception of climate change, impact and adaptation strategies: a case study of four villages in the semi-arid regions of India," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 75(3), pages 2829-2845, February.
    6. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:6:p:1726-:d:148902 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Rupsha Banerjee & Josey Kamanda & Cynthia Bantilan & Naveen Singh, 2013. "Exploring the relationship between local institutions in SAT India and adaptation to climate variability," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 65(3), pages 1443-1464, February.
    8. Rota, Cosimo & Zanasi, Cesare & Reynolds, Nikolai, 2014. "Assessing the Impact of Sustainability Improvement Options on the Agri-food Supply Chain Governance Structures: Development of an Evaluation Tool," International Journal on Food System Dynamics, International Center for Management, Communication, and Research, vol. 5(3).
    9. Hammami, Samiha Mjahed & chtourou, Sahar & Triki, Abdelfattah, 2016. "Identifying the determinants of community acceptance of renewable energy technologies: The case study of a wind energy project from Tunisia," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 151-160.
    10. Steffen Lehmann & Atiq U. Zaman & John Devlin & Nicholas Holyoak, 2013. "Supporting Urban Planning of Low-Carbon Precincts: Integrated Demand Forecasting," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(12), pages 1-30, December.
    11. Muñoz-Rojas, José & Nijnik, Maria & González-Puente, Marc & Cortines-García, Felipe, 2015. "Synergies and conflicts in the use of policy and planning instruments for implementing forest and woodland corridors and networks; a case study in NE Scotland," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 47-64.
    12. Miguel Martínez Tuna & Nicolás Kosoy Daroqui, 2007. "Compensaciones monetarias y conservación de bosques Pagos por servicios ambientales y pobreza en una comunidad rural en Honduras," Revista Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica, Red Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica, vol. 6, pages 40-51.
    13. repec:spr:jenvss:v:7:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s13412-016-0388-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Gwenole Le Velly & Céline Dutilly Diane & Driss Ezzine de Blas & Chloë Fernandez, 2015. "PES as Compensation ? Redistribution of Payments for Forest Conservation in Mexican Common Forests," Working Papers halshs-01226800, HAL.
    15. Jessika Richter & Luis Mundaca, 2015. "Achieving and maintaining institutional feasibility in emissions trading: the case of New Zealand," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 20(8), pages 1487-1509, December.
    16. Reis, J. & Stojanovic, T. & Smith, H., 2014. "Relevance of systems approaches for implementing Integrated Coastal Zone Management principles in Europe," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 3-12.
    17. Wiek, Arnim & Walter, Alexander I., 2009. "A transdisciplinary approach for formalized integrated planning and decision-making in complex systems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 197(1), pages 360-370, August.

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