Table of Contents

The Challenges of Collaboration in Environmental Governance

The Challenges of Collaboration in Environmental Governance

Barriers and Responses

New Horizons in Environmental Politics series

Edited by Richard D. Margerum and Cathy J. Robinson

Collaborative approaches to governance are being used to address some of the most difficult environmental issues across the world, but there is limited focus on the challenges of practice. Leading scholars from the United States, Europe and Australia explore the theory and practice in a range of contexts, highlighting the lessons from practice, the potential limitations of collaboration and the potential strategies for addressing these challenges.

Chapter 2: Theoretical perspectives on the challenges of collaboration

Richard D. Margerum

Subjects: environment, energy policy and regulation, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation


Collaborative approaches to governance are becoming increasingly important for addressing complex planning and public policy issues. Throughout the world, these approaches have been widely used to address complex, multi-jurisdictional and cross-boundary problems. While much literature has focused on case studies of success and best practices for effective collaboration, there has been less interrogation of the challenges to effective collaboration. In particular, there has been limited discussion of contextual, societal, political, institutional and other factors that make successful collaboration difficult, prone to missteps or likely to fail. This chapter reviews a range of literature to identify several major themes related to the challenges of collaboration: problem and its context, policy and political setting, collaborative ability and capacity, and participant factors. Many of these themes are also relevant to other kinds of governance settings, but they present particularly difficult challenges for collaboration.

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