A cursory glance at the literature on water governance reveals that stakeholder engagement has long been considered an integral part of sound governance processes. However, a closer look at the literature reveals that, beyond this general assertion, there is a lack of evidence-based assessment on how engagement processes contribute to water governance objectives. This article addresses this research gap by presenting key findings and policy guidance from a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on “Stakeholder Engagement for Inclusive Water Governance”. This study employed comprehensive methods, including a survey administered to 215 stakeholder groups worldwide and separately, 69 case studies of specific stakeholder engagement initiatives on water management. This article also shares the experiences and lessons that have emerged from engaging stakeholders in the OECD Water Governance Initiative—an international multi-stakeholder policy forum created in 2013 to share policy and practical experiences on water governance at different levels. We hope this research will be used to stimulate and enrich discussions about the necessary conditions for results-oriented stakeholder engagement, and to guide decision makers accordingly.
Governance and Legal Frameworks
A variety of disciplines examine human-environment interactions, identifying factors that affect environmental outcomes important for human well-being. A central challenge for these disciplines is integrating an ever-increasing number of findings into a coherent body of theory. Without a repository for this theory, researchers cannot adequately leverage this knowledge to guide future empirical work. Comparability across field sites, study areas and scientific fields is hampered, as is the progress of sustainability science.
To address this challenge we constructed the first repository of theoretical statements linking social and ecological variables to environmental outcomes. Stored in a relational database that is accessible via a website, this repository includes systematically formalized theories produced from researchers studying resilience, environmental conservation, common-pool resource governance, environmental and resource economics and political ecology. Theories are explicitly linked together in the database to form the first coherent expression of the types of human-environment interactions that affect outcomes for natural resources and, by extension, the people who use them.
Analysis of this repository shows that a variety of types of theories exist, from the simple to the complex, and that theories tend to thematically cluster by scientific field, although the theories of every field were related in at least some way to theories from other fields. Thus there is much potential for increased interaction across these fields, hopefully with the help of resources such as this repository. The theories and variables employed to express their arguments are publicly viewable in a wiki-like format, as a resource for the scientific community.
The expression Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) includes toxin-producing species and those that produce biomass in sufficient quantities to significantly reduce the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the water column and cause mortality events for other marine organisms. Originally a natural phenomenon, these blooms are becoming more frequent and persistent due to the impact of the anthropogenic action caused by the transport of exotic organisms through ballast water and mainly by the eutrophication of coastal waters as a consequence of the discharge of untreated domestic and industrial effluents. In order to highlight the delays of the Brazilian environmental public policy regarding the issue of HABs on its coastal zone, and what can be improved, a review of the main causes and impacts of the phenomenon is performed, as well as shown how other countries in the world have advanced on the subject. To develop an appropriate and effective policy that can provide the necessary environmental safety, multiple stakeholders are necessary in order to achieve proper procedures and limits for each region. To do so, it is important to carry a dialogue among different government levels, responsible for the reduction of pollution over the river and coastal systems. In addition, the implementation of a greater debate among the scientific community, in order to better establish legal limits that each toxin or potentially harmful species should have in different means of exposure, and the stimulation of a greater involvement of the coastal community in monitoring and alerting cases of HABs must be considered.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)'s mandate is central to the sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity on the planet. The Organization's normative role at the global level offers a neutral forum for development of international instruments and agreements relevant to agricultural production (including fisheries), in addition to facilitating their implementation through field activities. FAO's role in the LME Program recently has been increasing, offering the opportunity to link fisheries governance frameworks at the sectoral level (such as the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries—EAF), to broader ocean governance frameworks (such as ecosystem based management, EBM) as promoted within the LME movement. It is argued that these approaches are both needed and complementary and that links between the two can be fruitfully established as demonstrated by experiences made in FAO-led LME projects, i.e. the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) and the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME).
The Barents Sea is a rich fishing area with the biggest cod stock in the world. This stock is now in excellent conditions, producing record catches fully within safe and sustainable biological parameters. The spawning stock biomass of the main groundfish species has increased threefold over the last 15 years. The Barents Sea management is among the most successful management regimes of a major fishery area anywhere, and the focus of this paper is on the governance of the fisheries. The joint Russian–Norwegian governance over the last almost 40 years, through the Joint Fisheries Commission, is a major element in this successful result. The scientific cooperation is described and how it is now integrated into the work of the Commission. The development of long-term strategies for management of joint stocks is described, resulting in agreement on a set of "decision rules" and new regulatory decisions. The period of major problems with overfishing of quotas is described. The level and comprehensiveness of the cooperation is explained with a discussion of the present agreement, for 2015. The issues of zonal borders and the Svalbard Fishery Protection Zone are explained. The paper concludes with comments on the outlook for the future, considering the present situation in relation to developments in Crimea and Ukraine, and the resulting sanctions.
This is a paper about the politics of fishing rights in and around the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in coastal Odisha, in eastern India. Claims to the resources of this sanctuary are politicised through the creation of a particularly damaging narrative by influential Odiya environmental actors about Bengalis, as illegal immigrants who have hurt the ecosystem through their fishing practices. Anchored within a theoretical framework of justice as recognition, the paper considers the making of a regional Odiya environmentalism that is, potentially, deeply exclusionary. It details how an argument about ‘illegal Bengalis’ depriving ‘indigenous Odiyas’ of their legitimate ‘traditional fishing rights’ derives from particular notions of indigeneity and territory. But the paper also shows that such environmentalism is tenuous, and fits uneasily with the everyday social landscape of fishing in coastal Odisha. It concludes that a wider class conflict between small fishers and the state over a sanctuary sets the context in which questions about legitimate resource rights are raised, sometimes with important effects, like when out at sea.
The need for effective multi-level governance arrangements is becoming increasingly urgent because of complex functional interdependencies between biophysical and socioeconomic systems. We argue that social capital plays an important role in such systems. To explore the relationship between social capital and participation in resource governance arenas, we analyzed various small-scale fisheries governance regimes from the Gulf of California, Mexico. The components of social capital that we measured include levels of fishers’ structural ties to relevant groups and levels of trust in different entities (i.e. cognitive component). We collected data using surveys and interviews with residents of small-scale fishing communities adjacent to marine protected areas. We analyzed the data using a logistic regression model and narrative analysis. The results of our quantitative analysis highlight the multidimensional nature of social capital and reveals complex relationships between different types of social capital and fisher participation in monitoring, rulemaking and MPA design. Furthermore our qualitative analysis suggests that participation in fisheries conservation and management is not fully potentialized due to the social and historical context of participatory spaces in Mexico.
Governance networks can facilitate coordinated action and shared opportunities for learning among conservation scientists, policy makers, and communities. However, governance networks that link local, regional, and international actors just as often reflect social relationships and arrangements that can undermine conservation efforts, particularly those concerning community-level priorities. Here, we identify three “waypoints” or navigational guides to help researchers and practitioners explore these networks, and to inspire them to consider in a more systematic manner the social rules and relationships that influence conservation outcomes. These waypoints encourage those engaged in community-based conservation (CBC) to: (1) think about the networks in which they are embedded and the constellation of actors that influence conservation practice; (2) examine the values and interests of diverse actors in governance, and the implications of different perspectives for conservation; and (3) consider how the structure and dynamics of networks can reveal helpful insights for conservation efforts. The three waypoints we highlight synthesize an interdisciplinary literature on governance networks and provide key insights for conservation actors navigating the challenges of CBC at multiple scales and levels.
Attention to marine protected areas (MPA) for conservation and sustainability purposes has increased in Colombia in the recent decades. This shift is a result of the commitment of Colombia with international conventions and treaties (e.g., CBD, Aichi Target 11) and the realization by public and private research organizations of the fast rate of marine biodiversity loss and fisheries decline. This paper presents an examination of the situation of MPAs in Colombia and identifies barriers and opportunities to improve MPA governance. The analysis of documents, semi-structured interviews with environmental organizations (n = 13) and community representatives (n = 56), and focus groups (n = 6) provides a comprehensive understanding of the Colombia MPA system and the challenges for improving its governance. The adoption of international conservation policies and planning tools is driving the increasing numbers of MPAs. Yet, the governance effectiveness of the MPAs, particularly under the current top-down approach, deserves consideration. Barriers and opportunities for improving MPA governance are related to both government and coastal community stakeholders, and include lack of implementation of participatory policies, limited institutional and community organization capacity, loss of self-regulatory fishing practices, and violence among others. Partnerships among NGOs, private organizations, communities and government together with recent afro-descendant community organization and leadership represent key opportunities for fostering meaningful participation of communities in MPA planning/management and for improving MPA governance.
This paper evaluates the international agreements in place for the protection of the environment and the regulation of human activities taking place in world's oceans and seas. 500 multilateral agreements were reviewed against a framework of reference, grounded on the theoretical approaches of Adaptive Management and Transition Management. According to this framework, oceans complex systems management should: (1) consider the global oceans as a Social-Ecological System (SES); (2) aim to achieve or maintain their ecological resilience; and (3) implement iterative, learning-based management strategies, supported by science-based advice to policy and management. The results show that the present international legal framework for the global oceans does not require countries to adopt an adaptive, complex systems approach for global oceans ecological resilience. Instead, this study supports the perspective of a double fragmentation among international agreements. First, global agreements focus on issue-based objectives for determined human activities, ecological components or anthropogenic pressures. Second, regional agreements have a wider scope, but also a varying level of inclusion of ecological resilience considerations. There is the need to foster the inclusion of such an approach into existing and future international agreements and their implementation, including through soft-law, project-based initiatives at global and regional scales.