Governance, Institutions and Environmental Change

Societies and communities face challenges in aligning their interests, ruling consensual practices, and enforcing commitment and compliance to achieve common objectives. These challenges include conflicts of interests about access to and use of natural resources, creation and use of renewable resources, the construction of infrastructure and its environmental impact, the co-creation of knowledge, goods and services, as well as institutional work to mitigate climate change and sustainability transitions, etc. Environmental governance is, in theory, a set of practices and institutions designed to solve these collective action dilemmas transparently and effectively. Such governance also requires modes of coordination that transcend the domains of governments and markets. Opposing individual interests, unequal distributions of power and financial resources, and clashes of different and apparently incommensurable types of knowledge together define the challenge of building consensus. Even then, consensus may mask inequalities in participating within governance frameworks. Governance, the process and practice of coordination among interdependent actors towards common objectives, has become a topical research focus and merits further theorizing, designing and testing as more social and environmental challenges loom. This session aims to take stock of recent advances in research on theories, methods and models of governance in environmental change and natural resources as well as their empirical exploration and evaluation in specific geographical contexts, from the local to the global and between the spatial scales.

We invite submissions focusing, among other welcome topics, on: