Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 1st Dec 2022, 02:05:53am EST

Session Overview
Marine and freshwater governance challenges: Actors, institutions and interactions (ID111)
Friday, 21/Oct/2022:
10:00am - 11:30am

Session Chair: Arne Langlet
Session Conference Streams:
Architecture and Agency

Online Panel Session

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Governance towards water-related sustainability: A systematic review

Shahana Bilalova1, Jens Newig1, Sergio Villamayor-Tomas2,3

1Institute of Sustainability Governance, Leuphana University Lüneburg; 2L'Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA-UAB), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; 3Geosciences Institute and Department of Cartography, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)

The global water crisis, it has been argued by the United Nations (2006), is largely a crisis of governance. Put positively, it is the way water resources and ecosystems are governed – by state and non-state actors – that makes a difference for the sustainable water use and the wellbeing of water ecosystems. With the recognition of social and ecological complexities and multifunctional characteristics of water and societal interdependencies, new and diverse governance forms started to evolve. Despite a broad body of literature on these different water governance regimes and their water-related sustainability performance, comprehensive synthesis is missing which would provide us with an overview of the patterns on what works and in which context and allow us to identify informed hypotheses to establish a direction for further study. Taking a global comparative perspective, our study aims to provide such a synthesis by mapping water governance systems and their water-related sustainability performance.

In our systematic review, we draw on all published empirical research that has investigated water governance systems and their performance on water-related sustainability. Informed by core frameworks on water governance, we present rich and nuanced findings on both the body of literature as a field of research and on the link between elements of governance systems and their performance in terms of environmental sustainability. For example, we graphically depict co-authorship and citations and the geographical distribution of studies and authors. Our main results relate to patterns across governance systems and sustainable outcomes. In addition, we present clusters of water-related contexts and map the distribution of components of governance systems across these clusters. Finally, problematizing the relationship between paradigms and water governance characteristics, we also delve into complementarities between paradigms as well as explore the dynamic nature of the governance system.

All in all, the findings of our systematic review allow us to identify patterns of the water-related sustainability performance of existing water governance systems, including which building blocks they consist of. Through this, we aim to contribute to a better understanding of the dynamic nature of the water governance systems and serve as an entry point to explore the impact of a governance design on water-related sustainability performance. Furthermore, as the existing water governance literature seems to be in a stalemate of new ideas/paradigms, this study takes stock of past and current water paradigms as a way to move forward.

Who to listen to? - Understanding Authority in the emerging Marine Biodiversity Regime Complex

Arne Langlet, Alice Vadrot

University of Vienna, Austria

Regime complexes have been increasingly documented in recent years as a phenomenon of global governance architecture. Many have proliferated in the area of environmental governance, as an outcome of the multiplication of international treaties and regimes which increasingly interconnect and overlap. Noting that regime complexity in essence describes how diverse elemental institutions establish overlapping and (potentially rival) authority claims regarding international governance, academic interest has turned to understanding authority in regime complexes. Hence, some of the main questions regarding regime complexity are where and how authority emerges in global governance. Nevertheless, there is a continuous gap of empirical work addressing these questions. This contribution speaks to this gap by providing an empirical account of the sources, distribution and types of authority in regime complexes on the case of the emerging marine biodiversity regime complex.

We use the ongoing negotiations for a new legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) as a chance to observe the emergence of a new regime complex and the allocation of authority within it. The negotiations are bound to culminate with the establishment of a new international organization (IO) tasked to implement the provisions of the treaty. The new IO requires authority in order to bring about the foreseen positive change in high seas biodiversity governance.

The aim of this paper is to explore how this authority is constituted by analysing how states attribute authority to existing IOs involved in the ongoing intergovernmental negotiations establishing a new BBNJ Treaty. We differentiate between “expert authority” and “political authority” to examine different state preferences and interests regarding the institutional arrangement of the new IO and its relation to existing bodies of marine biodiversity related IOs. Our empirical study combines Collaborative Event Ethnography (CEE) conducted during BBNJ Treaty negotiations in the Headquarters of the United Nations and Social Network Analysis (SNA).

Our results indicate that both types of authority are unevenly distributed within the regime complex, showing that states asymmetrically attribute authority to IOs they prefer politically. This is particularly visible in the state attributions of expert authority where we can identify a political struggle over which IOs should be embedded with expert authority. Hence, we argue that the attribution of expert authority in regime complexes is politically driven and highly contested.

Diving deep into the governance architecture of water and coastal management in north-western Germany by adopting a qualitative network perspective

Annalena Schoppe, Leena Karrasch

Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany

Coastal regions face the challenge of dealing with impacts of climate change in terms of e.g. rising sea-level, extreme precipitation and creeping groundwater salinization. Since hundreds of years, humans adapt the coastal region of East Frisia (north-western Germany) in response to changing environmental impacts in order to protect themselves from sea and inland flooding. Latest research shows that current actions in water and coastal management fail to secure a low risk potential for the coastal region in the mid- and long-term. The ability of the social-ecological system to adapt is determined by preconditions, such as learning processes and stakeholder participation, that enable to conduct adaptation measures. In this respect, adjusted and innovative governance structures and processes are necessary to reduce risks of flooding and increase adaptive capacity of the coastal region. Reflecting the human-nature relations in the coastal region, the question arises if the given governance architecture is no longer fit for purpose for a climate change adapted management. To examine this, the specific objective of this paper is to reveal and understand how actors’ constellations and prevailing informal institutions influence processes of adaptation. Additionally, we reflect upon opportunities of institutionalized processes of integrated climate change adaptation in water and coastal management. We used a digital network and power mapping technique to conduct a qualitative egocentric network analysis. Based on video-mediated semi-structured interviews with regional actors in water and coastal management, data on the actor’s networks were gathered on a digital whiteboard, including all relevant actors, their relations, and perceived influence. 22 egocentric social network maps were merged to one overall water and coastal management network. The existing governance architecture turned out to be shaped by informal institutions, which are strongly influenced by regional and traditional norms, such as independency and self-organization of local actors in coastal protection. These informal institutions contribute to close networking among actors, but inhibit thinking outside the box and, for example, questioning existing formats of exchange or responsibilities in regional climate change adaptation. Meanwhile integrated formats of informal collaboration are present, formal decision-making processes are usually separated, leading to difficulties in the practical coordination of adaptation measures. To address challenges posed by climate change adaptation, the focus on informal institutions considering their regional context, gives new insights into governing patterns in water and coastal management. Thus, potentials will be made applicable to increase adaptive capacity, advance transformation and build resilience in the coastal context.

The role of international cooperative initiatives in financing biodiversity

Katarzyna Negacz1, Matilda Petersson1, Max de With2, Oscar Widerberg1, Marcel Kok2, Philipp Pattberg1

1Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands, The; 2Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Netherlands, The

Despite the efforts by national governments coordinated under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the state of biodiversity continues to deteriorate and the 2020 Aichi Targets have not been met. One of the main reasons for the limited effectiveness is believed to be the lack of sufficient and stable financial resources made available globally to halt biodiversity loss. In recent decades, funding for sustainable development has shifted from mainly public to also include private sources of funding. In parallel, we seen an emergence of numerous cooperative initiatives (CIs) across a wide range of environmental issue areas including biodiversity. These initiatives involve non-state and subnational actors, oftentimes working in partnership with states and intergovernmental organisations. They operate across national borders and perform governance functions such as implementation of biodiversity projects, information provision, as well as providing funds to achieve common biodiversity goals. Yet still, little is known about the role played by CIs as sources of additional finance for halting biodiversity loss. In this paper, we analyse 70 CIs focusing their financing function, contributions to financial flows and the types of sponsors involved. In particular, we examine different types of financial institutions and their potential to contribute to halting biodiversity loss. Our preliminary findings suggest that there are four distinct types of financial institutions: funds and foundations, international financial institutions, cooperatives of financial institutions, and financial strategy advisors. Further, we present case studies to exemplify each of these types and describe each of their potential merits and pitfalls. Finally, we discuss our findings in the context of recent policy debates on the whole of society approach in the CBD and implications for financing of biodiversity protection.

Equity Mobilization at the 2022 UN Ocean Conference

Xinyan Lin, Lisa Campbell, Xavier Basurto

Duke University, United States of America

Global ocean governance is undergoing a major transformation with the launch of UN
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 for Agenda 2030, as well as the UN Decade of
Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). In 2019, private philanthropic foundations
have pledged approximately $6.5 billion of investments towards the “30x30” goal for both global
ocean and terrestrial biodiversity conservation. In 2022, some international legal instruments
related to marine conservation are currently under negotiation: for instance, the post-2020
Global Biodiversity Framework of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) will be decided in
December 2022; negotiation on the “High Sea Treaty” will be resumed in early 2023. How equity
is debated for global ocean governance at the moment is significant as it will orient future work,
determine the shared meanings, and legitimize practices for ocean equity. In this article, we
analyze equity mobilization at the Second UN Ocean Conference (2022 UNOC) following a
framework that conceptualizes equity as having contextual, distributional, recognitional, and
procedural dimensions. Based on data from collaborative event ethnography at 2022 UNOC, we
assessed 67 narratives on equity made at the plenary sessions. The result shows equity is
contextualized at multiple scales following the interactive dialogues structured by eight different
sets of targets in SDG 14. Different actors apply different principles for their equity concerns.
Our analysis also shows equity is most acknowledged at the distributional and recognitional
dimensions, and the procedural dimension of equity is less mentioned. In addition, the UN
principles for equity such as Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), and Voluntary
Guidelines for Responsible Governance of Tenure, are rarely evoked, even though these
governance instruments can enhance stakeholders’ abilities to address inequalities and
inequities. This study advances our understanding of architecture and agency for ocean equity,
and generates new insights into options for equity mobilization in ocean governance.

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