Free Essay on Sustainable Development:
Are we moving towards a global culture of governance for “sustainability”?
Sustainable development is rapidly moving from the back to the front rows of science, business and politics. During the last few decades, some global problems emerged that can be only resolved with the involvement of large-scale concerted forces. Environmental destabilization and underdevelopment, social problems need intrusion of the transition management, which is predominantly based on the understanding of these mechanisms and patterns. Transition management is considered internationally to be integrative notion, as it is concerning the complexity of governance, ecosystems management. Even though different disciplines involve different terminology for the description of the transition process, there are some points that are common for all of them.
They include: transitions are said to be the outcome of the process of change that leads from one stable state to another; it is the result of co-evolutionary processes that occur at different scale levels and highly unpredictable and indefinite in terms of their direction and speed; transitions are also changes driven in the system external environment, as well as internal process of innovations (Loorbach 1-2).
Even though transitions are changes driven, it is always something where we are finally moving, and it is a global culture of governance for sustainability. Scott Frickel and Debra J. Davidson (471-472) define environmental governance as governing bodies’ attempts or combinations to diminish recognized environmental problems and they provided the review of conceptual and empirical literature to reveal the current scholarship situation, as well as what can be done in future. Scholarship played outstanding role, which is reflected in various written sources, in environmental governance, and it can be classified in six basic conceptual perspectives, which are pluralism, agency capture, ecological Marxism, ecological modernization, social constructionism, and global environmentalism. These concepts predominantly reveal conceptual developments in research for environmental governance and can be compared on the basis of primary contribution, levels of analysis and dominant methodology. Primary contribution for pluralism is environmental policy process, for agency capture- environmental policy effectiveness, for ecological Marxism- political economy of environmental crisis, for ecological modernization- state society efforts at environmental improvement, for social constructivism- construction of environmental meaning, and finally for global- environmentalism- emergent supernatural culture.
Levels of analysis and dominant methodology correspondently are the following: pluralism- interest groups and subnational level and case study, agency capture- institution and subnational level and case study, ecological Marxism- nation state and world system, case study and quantitative cross-national comparisons, ecological modernization- national industrial sectors, international policy regimes, case study and cross-national comparisons, social constructivism- political arena, national level, case study, discourse analysis, and finally global environmentalism- international political system, quantitative, aggregated national-level data (Davidson and Frickel 480). Speaking about research outcomes, it should be noted that starting with 1996 there was the growing number of publication regarding environmental governance and predominantly in the USA. As to the future opportunities for further improvements are research, following key topics should be addressed: interdisciplinary nature of this scholarship body recognition, so that future research be made on the basis on more extensive and vibrant sources, to which many disciplines made contribution; the number of comparative studies should be expanded, and countries in varying economic and political positions in governance should be included in research; more attention should be devoted to the meaning of societal sectors additionally to environmental movement organizations (including scientific organization, labor unions, etc.); also the greater level of theory incorporation should be applied in respect to understanding the nature of state expansion and finally more large research should be made in respect to examination of state-societal relations(Davidson and Frickel 484-486). This research is the great foundation for studying trends in environmental governance and following where is it all moving.
Michele S. Betsill and Harriet Bulkeley (481-489) also noted the growing interest of international relations scholars to the environmental governance, and in particular to the role of transnational networks. Their main focus was on the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) program, which united 550 local governments concerned with promotion of initiatives for the climate change mitigation. When coming to the point of understanding of environmental governance, they proposed two approaches- liberalism and neoliberal institutionalism. As environmental problems can be seen from different perspectives: “as tragedy of commons” or “discrete trends” (consumptions, population growth, industrialization, etc.), for liberalists the whole attention is directed to studying ways in which power is created and utilized, while neoliberal institutionalists concern is centered around the potential for solving inter-states problems by means of cooperation. (Betsill and Bulkeley 472-474).
Transnational networks are formed among state and non-state institutions and actors and can operate across multiple scales. Such networks mobilize knowledge, information and values with the goal of new concepts of environmental phenomena integration. There are three types of transnational networks: epistemic communities, transnational advocacy networks (TAN) and global activity society. Epistemic community was defined by Haas in 1990 as “a professional group that believes in the same cause-and-effect relationships, truth tests to assess them, and shares common values”. Epistemic communities are rather influential within international regimes. TANs include people and institutions who work internationally upon different issues, share the same value, exchange information and services. They contain state and non-state actors and operate and international and domestic arenas. The main different between epistemic communities and TANs is that TANs not only exchange information and services, but also build values. But both focus on the nation-state governance. Global activity societies emergence is the results of scholar’s attempts to consider and classify the multiplicity of actors and institutions that have impact to the ways in the issues of global environment are viewed across different scales (Betsill and Bulkeley 475). Along with transnational networks, appear transnational social movements. I would like to mention the modern counter-globalization movement is not the first social objection that became international. According to Audie Klotz modern transnational social movements are not new things, but they are similar to movements that had appeared on regard apartheid and abolition. Moreover, Adam Hochschild describes the appearance of an international resistance to the economic destruction and slavery visited upon the Congo by Belgium, a resistance that was called the first transnational social movement. Nevertheless, wide, multi-national and multi-focused features of the present-day counter-globalization movement seem to make it exclusive.
This movement has many loyalties that cross state boundaries, different groups connected with the movement have centered on many issues related to globalization, and the power of the Internet allows this tightly organized community to communicate, meet for specific events, and then come back to single issue organizations. Dallmayr called this process ‘globalization from below’. From this large scale paradigm, the leadership of the movement is much less easy to define and proposes an essentially different paradigm to the top-down neo-liberal globalization model which was described by Falk (192-193) as globalization from above. Coming back to CCP program, I would like to say that it is one of the rapidly developing transnational networks of subnational governments. Analysis of CCP program reveals that networks stay together by means of creation of political, financial and discursive touch points and exchange of information is just attempts to maintain those connections and create more fundamental ties through sharing values.
W.Neil Adger, Katrina Brown and Emma L. Tompkins also presented the examination of the structure of interconnection as the main shaping force in cross-scale interactions. They consider the cross scale nature of resource management systems to have more potential for research.
In the conclusion I would like to summarize that research reveals the tendency to structure attained knowledge and form global networks of effective governance. Sustainable development is rapidly moving from the back to the front rows of science, business and politics. Recently, particular global problems appeared that can be only resolved with the involvement of large-scale concerted forces. Environmental governance is generally defined as attempts of governing bodies to decrease recognized environmental problems.
In the attempt to move towards sustainability, transnational networks are formed among state and non-state institutions and actors and can operate across multiple scales. Such networks mobilize knowledge, information and values with the goal of new concepts of environmental phenomena integration. There are three types of transnational networks: epistemic communities, transnational advocacy networks (TAN) and global activity society. Along with transnational networks, appear transnational social movements, which are not new, but particular features make it exclusive. These movements has many loyalties that cross state boundaries, different groups connected with the movement have centered on many issues related to globalization, and the power of the Internet allows this tightly organized community to communicate, meet for specific events, and then come back to single issue organizations. It is globalization from below.
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