Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Call for abstracts for a panel on "Climate Governance: controversy, apathy or action?"

Together with Fran├žois Gemenne (IDDRI, Science Po Paris), I'm organizing a panel at the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) conference in Bordeaux (4-7 September 2013). The panel was accepted and paper proposals  can now be submitted to this panel!
Climate Governance: controversy, apathy or action?
Climate governance appears to be in dire straits. The global climate negotiations are having a hard time finding a new direction after the largely failed Copenhagen Summit in 2009. The climate science-policy interface is still recovering from the mediatised controversy spurred by "Climategate" and the alleged errors in the IPCC reports. After the financial crisis turned into an economic crisis, policy makers dedicated to climate policy are struggling to defend their policies against drastic budget cuts. At the same time, the media provide dramatic messages about climate related impacts around the world, climate mitigation and adaptation policies carry on under different names (like "energy" or "flood safety"), and some consider the crisis as an opportunity to create a new and greener economy. In this panel, we welcome papers that address how actors involved in climate governance deal with this challenging context. Where does climate governance provoke controversy, and how does controversy affect climate governance? How does apathy on the side of citizens, or politicians, affect climate governance? Where and how are effective actions taken at different levels of governance? We welcome (comparative) case studies about different countries.

Abstracts can be submitted through the ECPR website:

The deadline is February 1st 2013. Looking forward to interesting paper proposals!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Governance capabilities for dealing wisely with wicked problems

Governance capabilities to deal with wicked problems (think climate change or sustainable food production) are a keystone of the research programme of the Public Administration and Policy group on "Changing governance, governing change" (see our new website The key question is about different approaches to observing and understanding wicked problems, different repertoires of action strategies, and the conditions that are needed to enable the action strategies. In an article by Katrien Termeer, Gerard Breeman, Sabina Stiller and myself published in Administration and Society), we have tried to lay out the fundamentals of four different governance capabilities, which in their combination provide a varied set of lenses and action repertoires to cope with wicked problems. 

This is the abstract:
This article explores an integrative approach for dealing with wicked problems. Wicked problems not only require alternative action strategies, but also alternative ways of observing and enabling. Four governance capabilities are essential: (1) reflexivity, or the capability to deal with multiple frames; (2) resilience, or the capability to adjust actions to uncertain changes; (3) responsiveness, or the capability to respond to changing agendas and expectations; (4) revitalization, or the capability to unblock stagnations. These capabilities form the basis for achieving small wins in wicked problems. We illustrate our argument with examples from sustainable food production of the Common Agricultural Policy.
The paper can is available at or downloaded here.