Theme 3: Governance at the boundaries of climate, energy, etc

Governance at the boundaries of  climate, energy, agriculture, food and water, food security, obesity or climate change are examples of highly fragmented societal issues. Sectoral policies and instruments only address part of the problem. A popular way of thinking about these fragmented problems is in forms of nexus: different sectors that are linked to the problem or that can contribute to finding a solution to the problem come together in search for ways to collectively solve the challenge. This track focuses on different nexuses of climate, energy, food, agriculture and/or water. Within this “nexus-thinking” a number of interesting and hardly explored questions emerge. Special topics include:

The politics of attention

One of the challenges when dealing with nexus is that attention of issues is not equally shared across sectors. When it comes to climate change, for example, water is considered to be a key sector, but climate change has hardly been connected to transport and ICT. What determines how much attention an issue gets in a policy sector? What are the effects of different attentions to policy problems across sectors? In what ways can this skewedness in issue attention be changed? (contact person: Dr Art Dewulf).

Global governance of fragmented problems

Intergovernmental agencies push and pull low and middle income countries to deal with fragmented policy problems like food and climate change. But through which pathways of influence do international agencies influence how the nexus is shaped at national levels? How is this lobbying process between international and national level shaped? What kind of rules, processes and instruments are used in this process? (contact person: Dr Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen).

Policy coordination across different levels

Central to nexus thinking is the idea that enhanced coordination and coherence can lead to better connectivity between boundaries. But are our existing institutions enabling or constraining this sort of coordination? And are our governance instruments suited for these tasks or do we need to look for alternative instruments for policy coordination?  (contact person: Dr Robbert Biesbroek).

Climate smart agriculture

Climate smart agriculture (CSA) is a boundary spanning concepts that connects multiple sectors: it contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (climate), increase sustainable agriculture and food production (food), optimise water use (water), and use energy in an efficient way (energy). Within this nexus there are a number of questions that can be studied, including: how did CSA came to the political agenda? How do countries or individuals deal with CSA? What are the policy initiatives in adopting and implementing CSA in practice? (contact persons: Ms Marijn Faling, Dr Robbert Biesbroek).

Public-private synergies in sustainability governance

Global private partnerships have evolved as rule-setting authorities in the field of sustainability of global agricultural commodities. Both stakeholders and scholars alike believe that a next generation of governance arrangements is needed that can address a major limitation and challenge of these global private partnerships: developing some kind of synergy at national and local levels with government authorities. This topic theoretically and empirically explores what governance arrangements are evolving and could be developed to further public-private synergy. Research on this topic is part of the PhD research programme on Next Generation of Governance Arrangements in Global Value Chains (contact person: Dr Otto Hospes).