A framework for assessing environmental governance structures

Muller, K. (2007-03)

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Article

The emergence in the late nineties in South Africa of new environmental governance systems as decentralised sets of formal and informal agreements among diverse groups and organisations in the form of networks and partnerships is an exciting development following international trends. South Africa is still at an early phase in the evolution of governance models, but that no one set of institutional arrangements can solve all types of collective problems. Therefore, institutions need to be designed in ways that are compatible with particular types of problems, presenting us with a unique opportunity for organisational and social learning. With the basic concepts of integration, collaboration/co-operation and coordination as points of departure, an assessment framework is developed to identify, describe and document the evolving characteristics of decentralised environmental governance systems. The emerging water catchment and biosphere environmental governance systems are described as two contrasting examples of some of the prospects and challenges facing South Africa in this regard.

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