On December 18, 2018, ENP PhD-candidate Peter M. Rudberg successfully defended his thesis “Can we solve it in the workshop? Learning in river restoration and climate policy implementation”. It can be found here.
Using theories and concepts from the literature on policy implementation and learning in environmental policy, Peter’s thesis frames learning as an implementation mode and conceptualizes it as one of three ideal-type implementation modes; the others being coercion and market. It introduces conflict as a crucial context for environmental policy implementation and hypothesizes that there are three facets of conflict, which are particularly relevant: conflicts of interest between stakeholders, conflicts in environmental policy goals, and legislation.
The thesis analyzes several cases of environmental policy implementation that involve high conflict, concerning river restoration that affects hydropower production. These cases span different governance scales in Sweden, the United States and the European Union. The thesis also includes an analysis of another case, containing low conflict, concerning learning as an implementation mode in adaptations of urban water services related to climate change in the Stockholm Region, Sweden.
An overarching insight from the thesis is that the shape and formulation of legislation constitutes a significant variable, in determining the appropriateness of learning in environmental policy implementation that contains high conflict. The thesis’ analysis suggests that learning, together with favorable legislation, could be a viable way of dealing with complexity and increasing policy coherence between increasingly urgent and interconnected environmental challenges.
As a doctor, Peter continues research on the governance of natural resource and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org