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 7: Collaborative governance – does it work for climate change adaptation? Insights from the Dutch Delta Programme

Arwin van Buuren and Jitske van Popering-Verkerk

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


This chapter address the challenges of utilizing collaboration to address one of the most challenging issues facing society today – climate change adaptation. Drawing on an analysis of Dutch efforts to manage their Delta Program, the authors found that consensus efforts were able to overcome deep uncertainties and value controversies. However, they also found significant challenges, including the need to develop more powerful political leadership, trade-offs between scientific depth and negotiated knowledge and trade-offs between consensus and decisiveness. They conclude that the approach in the Dutch Delta Program has been successful in introducing new ways of working, but cannot determine whether this has been sufficient to adjust standard routines in the water domain.

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