Political Networks III: Networking the Environment - Environmental Policy and Governance

Political Networks III: Networking the Environment -  Environmental Policy and Governance

Manuel Fischer (The Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology, Switzerland)

Environmental politics and policy has become an increasingly important sector, as politics and society in general grow attentive to problems of the sustainable use and protection of natural resources or climate change. Political decision-making in this sector, however, is especially complex. Policy problems in the domain of natural resource governance are framed by scientific uncertainty and the need for expert knowledge and learning, the involvement of stakeholders at diverse levels and with diverse and diverging interests, the need to develop an ability for long-term policy-making, and the overlap of different policy sectors. Policy networks and network governance describe horizontal arrangements between different types of actors aiming at coordinating a policy sector or deciding on a policy problem. Collaborative governance in networks is supposed to be particularly adapted to governing such complex policy sectors as environmental policy, and complex governance systems tend to self-organize in collaborative partnerships and networks.

This panel welcomes empirical and theoretical papers that address the specificities of policy networks and network governance dealing with environmental issues. Questions include the following. First, what are properties of policy networks and network governance that are especially adapted to deal with the specific problems of environmental policies described above? For example, highly transitive networks or networks including scientific actors might allow actors to better deal with uncertainty. Second, what network concepts should research rely on in order to grasp the specificities of environmental policies? For example, 2-mode networks between actors and natural resources might be especially adapted to analyze problems of resource governance.


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