Environmental Governance through Partnerships

Environmental Governance through Partnerships

A Discourse Theoretical Study

New Horizons in Environmental Politics series

Ayşem Mert

Transnational partnerships have become mainstream across levels and issues of environmental governance, following their endorsement by the UN in 2002. Despite apparent success, their desirability as a way of governing human interactions with the planet’s ecosystems has not yet been properly investigated. In this revelatory book Ayşem Mert combines post-structuralist discourse theory and ecocriticism to analyse three discourses that have been rooted into the logic of partnerships: privatisation of governance, sustainable development and democratic participation. Ultimately, Mert argues that these discourses help understand both the potential and structural limitations of sustainability partnerships.

Chapter 8: Conclusions

Ayşem Mert

Subjects: environment, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, public policy


In the introductory chapter it was noted that any myth is ‘to some extent reality’ if sufficient number of people with sufficient temporal, financial and human resources believe and act upon it. Through the mediating discourses abstractions and concepts such as partnerships cease to be ‘solely myths’, and ‘make sense’ to individuals. The aim of this book has been to better understand sustainability partnerships through a study of discourses mediating our understanding of them, which sedimented into projects and into the logics of the partnerships regime of the United Nations. The UN was an important context in this regard, as the partnerships regime acquired the endorsement of temporal, financial and human resources at global and transnational levels, at the end of WSSD. The various accounts regarding the conception, negotiation and actualization of sustainability partnerships provided by contributors and observers of these processes revealed two important points. Firstly, partnerships are not governance phenomena the utility or even benevolence of which is regarded similarly by all parties. Secondly, they have changed considerably from their conception to their negotiation, and then again during their actualization. These transformations were influenced by historical social and political processes and reflecting and contributing to the present transformations in governance. Accordingly, Chapters 1–4 focused on the various narratives that revealed the first conclusion, as well as the tools and assumptions through which this research was carried out.

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