MSc colloquium by Eline Nijmeijer: Towards collaborative landscape governance? Insights from initiatives in South Sumatra and West Kalimantan

Published on
July 3, 2018

You are hereby cordially invited to the MSc thesis presentation by Eline Nijmeijer entitled ‘Towards collaborative landscape governance? The interactive governance processes enabling or discouraging the transformation to a sustainable landscape approach: Insights from initiatives in South Sumatra and West Kalimantan’.

Supervisor: Otto Hospes
Second reader: Art Dewulf
Course code: LAW-80436
Date: 3 July 2018
Time: 12.00-13.00 hours
Location: room C68, Leeuwenborch, Wageningen

The so-called “landscape approach” is seen as an innovative way to deal with the growing wicked problem challenges that developing countries face concerning economic development, climate change, food security, livelihood security and environmental degradation. Even though the approach is currently receiving a lot of attention and landscape initiatives are increasingly emerging around the world,  it is also acknowledged as being highly complex and dependent on the local context and actor’s engagement in the process to whether social, ecological and economic functioning within the landscape will be adequately balanced. Scholars acknowledge the importance of paying attention to the governance aspects that enable and steer the collaborative and integrated management activities as key to landscape effort’s sustainability, but regarding empirical work, seemingly hide behind the concluding notions of it being a ‘challenge’, or ‘process of muddling through’.  Researching and mapping the governance processes within the landscapes in which landscape approaches are employed remains in its infancy. Within this research I aim to unfold these processes of muddling through, to contribute to the further development of the approach as well as to provide critical considerations. I address the following research question: “What aspects within the processes in sustainable landscape initiatives in South Sumatra and West Kalimantan, Indonesia, enable, challenge or discourage the transformation to a landscape approach?” A conceptual framework combining theories from collaborative governance is used to study the dynamic interactive and collaborative processes within South Sumatra, Indonesia and West Kalimantan, Indonesia; two landscapes to which landscape initiatives are currently being piloted. The design of the study is a qualitative, explorative case study for which it is purposely chosen to illustrate two complementary as well as comparable cases for empirical considerations. Within South Sumatra the results of the case study have shown that a combination of multiple overlapping programs with differing visions and the lack of internal engagement, especially from the private sector, is leading to a slow and maybe even discouraging process towards collaboration. Within West Kalimantan the fieldwork results have shown that the development towards landscape approach efforts has started from actors within the landscape, seeking cooperation with external actors for support. There is a considerate amount of shared vision and mutual understanding among the current participants, although nuanced differences in interests and the competitive nature of the actors still complicates the process. Comparing the case studies provides the insight that apart from external trusted facilitators, championing actors on the ground to start the transformation bottom-up is an enabling factor. It is further complicated for the collaborations to be fully inclusive, as decisions should be made at different levels and scales. This research was explorative and the results are a sneak preview of all the complex governance processes. It did not touch upon the implications of this ‘multiple tables’ collaboration regarding power disparities and the structuration of the rules of the game. Further research on assessing such power games is recommended in order to see how and to what extent social, ecological and economic functioning within the landscape are effectively balanced.