Edited by Bridget M. Hutter
Chapter 7: New environmental governance: adaptation, resilience and law
This chapter critically examines the new environmental governance, a novel innovation in legal thinking and practice that offers a pathway for operationalising resilience. New governance relies heavily upon participatory dialogue and deliberation, flexibility, inclusiveness, multi-level and integrated approaches, knowledge generation and processes of learning and adaptation. These features enable new governance to addresses many of the critical challenges demanded by resilience theory, because it explicitly seeks to allow different scopes of risk to be managed at different levels and engages a larger number of actors to facilitate experimentation and learning in the face of uncertainty. This chapter highlights the contours of the new environmental governance, its growth as a new form of legal jurisprudence, its relationship to broader resilience thinking and its position as an approach that can administer and operationalise resilience. The advantages of new governance and its limits for adaptively managing change in social and ecological systems are examined in detail. The analysis reveals that although new governance holds significant promise, it has often struggled to fulfil its adaptive and flexible aspirations and overcome barriers of unequal power and resources. It concludes by setting out emerging issues for understanding and reforming new environmental governance and its approach to managing resilience.
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