PBL is looking for MSc students

Published on
April 2, 2015

The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) is looking for MSc students to join forces in Master thesis projects or a trainee-ship. The research topic is 'New approaches to global governance: learning from Marine governance'.

Instead of waiting for an intergovernmental consensus and policies within the UN that are effective enough to address the complex problems humanity is facing, global environmental governance is increasingly embracing the potential of new agents of change and taking a more pragmatist stance. Such a pragmatic approach to global environmental governance aims at strengthening the positive effects of decentralization and mitigating risks and negative effects, while also not denying the role governments, the multi-lateral system and international organizations have to play. However, as we observe that governments currently are often staying behind, we build on ‘the energetic society internationally’ as we expect that change would come from. While pleads for smart(er) governance are widespread/are of all times, it is not yet clear what would make this approach more effective in realizing desired outcomes and what the implications are for government action.

At PBL we have identified possible building blocks for such a pragmatic governance approach in which new, often decentralized initiatives can meaningfully address large-scale environmental problems such as biodiversity and climate change. The conceptual framework is based on a broad review of the different bodies of literature on non-state global environmental governance. Recognizing the continued role and importance of governments, we consider the implications this may have for governments and their role in global environmental governance. We are now developing case studies using this approach in various domains that are of relevance for biodiversity governance. A case study on smart governance arrangements in oceans governance and fisheries management would fit especially well.

For more information see and contact Marcel Kok ( or Simon Bush (