Territorial politics and the success of collaborative environmental governance: local and regional partnerships compared
Title: Territorial politics and the success of collaborative environmental governance: local and regional partnerships compared
Author: GAMBERT, Sylvain
Citation: Local Environment, 2010, 15, 5, 467-480
ISSN: 1469-6711 (electronic); 1354-9839 (paper)
The paper explores the role local governments and territorial proximity play in the efficiency of collaborative environmental governance. It develops the hypothesis that the representatives of local authorities involved in partnerships possess resources to diminish the pitfalls of sustainable governance, facilitate coordination, and contribute to the success of shared policy-making. Four French and English partnerships are presented. They include a diversity of stakeholders such as fisheries, ports, farmers, yachting associations, environmental NGOs, or local authorities. Thereby, the paper develops whether and under which conditions local governments play a positive or negative role, as well as comparing territorial levels of implementation and the effects of geographical proximity. It is shown that collaboration at the regional level prevents the integration of decision-making in organisational networks, the inclusion of citizens, and the development of social responsibility for stakeholders – the partnership acting as a formalisation of pre-existing lobbying. Locally, governments assume inter-organisational leadership and do contribute to the institutionalisation of the new forums. Yet, local successes of partnerships answer logics of social, rather than environmental, regulation. The local attenuation of usage conflicts does not necessarily reduce the negative effects of those usages on the environment. By stressing a collaborative definition of environmental problems, the partnerships tend to sideline substantial policy changes, and possibly conflict with the goals and long- term temporality of sustainable governance.
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