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12 Conclusions Frank Biermann and Philipp Pattberg Among the many insights presented in this book, one thread runs through all studies: there is hardly any coherent, systematic, structured system of global environmental governance. Instead, global environmental governance presents itself as a complex web of multiple and interacting actors, networks, and institutions. For one, the number and type of actors in global environmental governance has multiplied in the last decades. Particularly striking is the strengthened role of international bureaucracies (Bauer, Andresen, and Biermann, this book, chapter 2), multinational corporations (Tienhaara, Orsini, and Falkner, this book, chapter 3), and scientists (Gupta et al., this book, chapter 4). As a result, the sites of authority in global environmental governance also have become more diverse. Several new mechanisms of global governance have emerged in addition to, and at times competing with, the traditional institutions of the intergovernmental system (see part II, this book). Given these developments, global environmental governance in itself has become more fragmented. Interactions horizontally (among international and transnational institutions) and vertically (among international and national institutions) have gained in importance and at the same time in complexity. Often, these processes are related to a stronger role of actors beyond the state, from NGOs and corporations to novel nonstate governance arrangements such as transnational certification and labeling institutions. This development of nonstate agency, however, does not need to signal the demise of state authority in international politics. The state remains important (even though this importance differs for different types of states; see Compagnon, Chan, and Mert, this book, chapter 11). Moreover , the state itself remains a powerful agent in many alternative sites of governance, for example, as the final principal of intergovernmental bureaucracies (Bauer, Andresen, and Biermann, this book, chapter 2) or 266 Frank Biermann and Philipp Pattberg as a regulator and guarantee of some private governance mechanisms (B├Ąckstrand et al., this book, chapter 6). This complex system of global environmental governance presents a tremendous research challenge for the social sciences. This book presents in ten analytical chapters the core approaches and findings of the Global Governance Project, a long-term research program of a dozen European institutions in close collaboration with colleagues in North America and other regions. In this concluding chapter, we address several overarching questions flowing from this analysis. We also highlight some of our policy-relevant findings and suggest future research directions. Crosscutting Findings From the breadth of theoretical and analytical work summarized in this book, we can discern a few common research threads that run through the chapters. One is the particular perspective on the consequences of new mechanisms of global governance and of the behavior of its new actors. Whereas traditional regime theory in the 1990s focused on the effectiveness of intergovernmental regimes as social institutions, most work presented in this book deployed a more complex understanding of the effectiveness of governance. In general, most studies have looked at the wider effects of governance mechanisms rather than effectiveness in the narrow sense of goal attainment or problem solving. This has included broader cognitive, discursive, normative, and material influences of governance as well as high attention to potentially unintended effects of governance. In many studies in this book, the concept of effectiveness has thus been replaced by the broader notion of the influence of governance (e.g., Bauer, Andresen, and Biermann, this book, chapter 2; Gupta et al., this book, chapter 4; Pattberg, this book, chapter 5; B├Ąckstrand et al., this book, chapter 6). A second recurrent theme in this book is the relevance of power and power relationships. In much policy writing on global governance, power relationships are often neglected, if not ignored, by an implicit assumption of joint action for common goods in the common interest. Most contributions to this book implicitly or explicitly contest this claim and provide detailed analysis of what power means in systems of global governance. For instance, how can the power of the new actors of global governance such as corporations be conceptualized (Tienhaara, Orsini, and Falkner, this book, chapter 3)? What does power mean in the context Conclusions 267 of scientific networks (Gupta et al., this book, chapter 4)? And to what extent is power a meaningful variable when it comes to new types of transnational governance arrangements beyond traditional intergovernmental collaboration (Bulkeley et al., this book, chapter 7)? Power resources and relationships of power matter in domestic politics and global governance. Yet in global governance, power is generally more diffused. It rests with more actors and...


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Subject Headings

  • Environmental policy -- International cooperation.
  • Environmental responsiblity -- International cooperaiton.
  • Global environmental changes.
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