Research / Projects

Cooperating for sustainable regional marine governance - The case of fisheries and nutrient run-off from agriculture to the Baltic Sea

This interdisciplinary project is focused on preconditions for regional collaboration in relation to environmental governance of the Baltic Sea. Overfishing and eutrophication from agricultural run-off have been selected as case study areas, because of the considerable tensions between natural resourse use and environmental protection objectives in these areas. The major expected outcomes comprise (a) an increased understanding of contemporary governance in these areas and (b) suggestions on how new and improved collaborative schemes could contribute to more effective regional environmental governance in the future.

Publications

Conference Presentations

Publications

Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 2017, 19 (6): 769-782.

How science and policy interact has been a major research focus in the International Relations (IR) tradition, using the epistemic community (EC) concept, as well as in the alternative perspective of Science and Technology Studies (STS). Should science be autonomous and as apolitical as possible in order to ‘speak truth to power’, as suggested by EC or should the inevitable entanglement of science and politics be accepted and embraced so as to make advice more conducive to negotiating the explicit travails of political decision-making as suggested by STS? With this point of departure, we compare similarities and differences between science–policy interactions in the issue areas of eutrophication and fisheries management of the Baltic Sea. To examine how knowledge is mobilised, the concepts of ‘uncertainty’ and ‘coherence’ are developed, drawing on both EC and STS thinking. We then reflect on the explanatory value of these approaches in both cases and discuss how a separation of science and policy-making in the pursuit of achieving scientific consensus leads to ineffectual policies. Drawing on STS thinking, we urge for a re-conceptualisation of coherence in order to accommodate a more reflexive practice of science–policy interactions.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject

Sebastian Linke

Fred SaundersMichael Gilek

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

Yes
2017

School/Centre

School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies
Environmental Science

Research area for doctoral studies

Environmental Studies

Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 2017, 19 (4): 408-422.

While scholars have showed a long-standing interest for how to design effective environmental treaties and other international agreements, less interest has been paid to implementation phases of these agreements. This article takes the Eutrophication Segment in the Baltic Sea Action Plan as an example of a regional effort to reduce nutrient leakages, where national reporting of adopted strategies has been a key mechanism to improve implementation effectiveness. It is shown that although transnational collective action theory is a powerful tool to analyse underlying drivers and priorities in state implementation policies, a deeper analysis of domestic and external constraints can shed additional light on observed implementation gaps. Varying views among countries on, for example, the role of stakeholder participation, legitimacy and top-down governing versus multi-stakeholder governance approaches may comprise domestic constraints that make effective and efficient implementation problematic. In terms of external constraints, states’ balancing of action plan objectives versus other international commitments, such as other environmental treaties and EU Directives, is shown to potentially reduce implementation efficiency as well.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Björn Hassler

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

No
2017

School/Centre

School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies
Environmental Science

Research area for doctoral studies

Environmental Studies

Sociologia Ruralis 2016, 56 (3): 391-407.

There are ever-growing demands on farmers to consider the wider environmental implications of production, not least in the Baltic Sea Region where concerns about agricultural-related eutrophication are significant. In Sweden, farmers are being nudged through voluntary agri-environmental measures, enticed by the market and compelled to make the transition from a productivist agriculture to a multifunctional one. Drawing on the ‘good farmer’ concept, inspired by Bourdieu, this paper studies Swedish conventional and agri-environmental farmers’ views and reflections on the changing relationship between farming practices and the environment. The paper finds that despite 25 years of agri-environmental policy in Sweden, some conventional farmers are still mired in a narrow productivist mindset. That said, the study concludes that we should be wary of conceiving the ‘good farmer’ too strictly in productivist terms, given that the ‘rules of the agricultural game’ in Sweden are leading to a more divergent farmer habitus. Farmers are looking for opportunities within the multifunctional agricultural field, which increasingly demands and expects all farmers to embed social and environmental goals into production considerations.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Fred Saunders

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

No
2016

School/Centre

School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies
Environmental Science

Research area for doctoral studies

-

Huddinge : Södertörns högskola, 2015. (Working Paper ; 2015:5)

Payments for Ecological Services (PES) has rapidly emerged around the world as a key environmental governance approach. This paper is concerned with Agricultural Environmental Schemes (AES) as a particular form of PES to improve the environmental performance of agriculture particularly in relation to water quality in Sweden. Win-win descriptions prevail in AES policy discourse to describe the simultaneous achievement of environmental goals and economic outcomes for farmers. AES are underpinned by an instrumental assumption that farmer behaviour can be influenced towards adopting better environmental practice by providing monetary incentives (or at least compensation). This paper has touched on a number of contentions in the PES literature, including: doubts about how well standardised PES schemes link with local conditions; how and whether PES schemes can engender local innovation; procedural and distributive equity concerns; claims that monetary incentives may ‘crowd out’ socially derived sources of motivation (local norms); and doubts about whether PES schemes, disembedded from local institutions, can deliver ‘sufficient’ environmental behavioural change. Given the relatively recent emergence of AES schemes, it is important that we learn more from the experience of implementation. Critically oriented empirically-based research then has the capacity to work as a circuit breaker between ideologically driven arguments that side either for or against the use of market mechanisms, such as AES for environmental governance. Such insights may be useful to help focus research on farmer engagement with AES that subjects it to greater empirical scrutiny and validation.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Fred Saunders

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

Yes
2015

School/Centre

School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies
Environmental Science

Research area for doctoral studies

Environmental Studies

Huddinge : Södertörns högskola, 2015. (Working Paper ; 2015:1)

The literature on governance of socio-ecological systems has been growing fast during the last one or two decades. However, sound theoretical underpinnings to these systems have not been sufficiently articulated and tied to existing theory, it is argued in this working paper. To address this shortcoming, this paper aims to elaborate on how the theoretical constructs  problem structure, collective choice theory and adaptive governance can be brought together to form a coherent analytical framework for analyzing trans-boundary environmental problems in marine settings. The argument that collective action problematiques may inhibit successful adaptation to environmental change among sovereign states is fundamental to this model. Given that governments tend to prefer national coping strategies where expected national rather than joint benefits are maximized, mutually beneficial cooperation often does not evolve and regional adaptation turn out piecemeal. It is concluded that in order to improve trans-national environmental governance, a better understanding of underlying drivers and countries’ incentives to take action is a necessary prerequisite.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Björn Hassler

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

Yes
2015

School/Centre

School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies
Environmental Science

Research area for doctoral studies

-

Status

Started

Project Manager

Björn Hassler
Professor, Professor
School of Natural Science, Technology and Environmental Studies

People linked to the project

Fred Saunders
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of Natural Science, Technology and Environmental Studies

Michael Gilek
Professor, Professor
School of Natural Science, Technology and Environmental Studies

Sofia Norling
Research Officer, PhD
University Support Services

Mikael Karlsson

More information

Project start: 2013
Project end: 2016

Financier: Östersjöstiftelsen

Research linked to the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe: Yes

Information på svenska

Subjects to which the project is linked

School/centre to which the project is linked

Research area for doctoral studies to which the project is linked