D7.1 State-of-the-art Report on Good Practice for Co-governance of NbS

The deliverable 7.1, State-of-the-art Report on Good Practice for Co-governance of NbS, was submitted by ISOCARP with contributions from TUM and ABUD in June 2023. The description of the deliverable is available below and the full deliverable is at the end for download:

"As part of Work Package 7 (WP7) within the Horizon2020 project JUSTNature (SEP-210687519), this deliverable offers a systematic qualitative review of the state-of-the-art of co-governance of nature-based solutions (NbS), to provide a comprehensive theoretical background on what are the principles, barriers, and enablers for “good” co-governance processes to reach just low-carbon cities.

Chapter 2 builds a theoretical framework, addressing “How co-governance of NbS can be improved to reach just and low-carbon cities.” It provides the definition, rationale, modes, dimensions, and evaluation criteria (principles, barriers & enablers) for the co-governance of NbS. The definition of co-governance within this research is therefore proposed as the process of various actors across the public, civil society, and private domains working together to formulate, promote and achieve shared objectives for positively transforming the urban environment, through the planning, design, implementation, and management of a nature-based intervention.

To evaluate the extent to which co-governance arrangements for NbS are successful, the concept of governance needs to be unpacked into its constituent parts. Based on previously studied governance dimensions, we developed five dimensions focusing on the governance processes: Actors, Politics, Processes, Policies, and Institutional Technology (Figure 1). These five dimensions are not strictly separable from one another, but rather co-exist.

Chapter 3 explains the methodological approach of this study. We adopted a systematic (qualitative) literature review to archive and distilled state-of-art knowledge of good co-governance to activate NbS. Based on the co-developed search string, articles are identified in two academic sources, SCOPUS and Web of Science strategy. Based on inclusion and exclusion criteria, screening was conducted, resulting in a total of 467 articles that were eligible for the analysis. The analysis focuses on identifying co-governance principles in each dimension as well as their enablers and barriers.

Chapter 4 illustrates the analysis results and presents insights into the dimensions of co-governance for achieving just low-carbon and high air quality cities. We analyse the role of each governance dimension; identify their main activating principles and describe the barriers and enablers influencing good co-governance in NbS.
Within the role of actors, we consider their perceptions, their values and their knowledge of individual and organisational actors in the course of governance processes. We prioritise four as their top principles: 
Empowering, Inclusive, Knowledge diverse, and Collaborative/Participative.

    We understand politics as a constellation of actors, assuming public and private actors are involved, and we consider specifically the power relations between them. The five principles developed for the politics dimension are: Recognising and empowering, Integrative, Democratic and representative, Responsive, and Participatory and collaborative.

      In the case of the processes, we highlight their importance in decision-making within the institutional framework in which actors and the relationships between them are situated. Five principles are key to support good co-governance: Integrative and comprehensive, Transparent and deliberative knowledge exchange, Strategic and incremental, Adaptive and reflective, and Context-sensitive.

        Policy instruments play a dual role in co-governance. While they are the result of decision-making processes, they also directly influence decision-making once they are enforced. The three main principles for policy instruments to support good co-governance of NbS are: Accessible, Evidence-based, and Legitimate.

        Finally, the last developed dimension is institutional technology, which is based on the notion of a complex, bilateral relationship between technology and society, the selection of specific artefacts, infrastructures, design choices, and adoption to specific contexts to co-create institutional dynamics. Five main principles for the deployment of institutional technology in NbS co-governance were identified: Adaptive, Collaborative, Effective, Legitimate, and Participatory.

        Chapter 5 discusses the main findings and presents a shortlist of principles most relevant to the JUSTNature project and CiPeLs. We aggregate the 22 principles introduced above into 5 key principles through which good governance can be broken down (Figure 2). These 5 prioritised principles will be useful in defining our future assessment protocol. To define our key principles, we drew on definitions of subordinate principles, to ensure precision and depth in our final set of key principles and avoid losing important guiding information. In this way, we arrived to the following shortlist: Collaborative, Empowering, Responsive, Adaptive, and Legitimate.

              Our analysis of the principles and their associated barriers and enablers tells us how to make a shift to better co-governance: Empowering, where institutions, rules, actor relations and technologies are designed and implemented in a way that allows individual stakeholders to assert their interests. Collaborative, so that all these new and pre-existing interests avoid becoming a gridlock of unresolvable clashing self-interests, but rather serve a common good. Adaptive, since NbS assets are complex, prone to uncertainties, sensitive to changing circumstances, planning and management should then be capable of absorbing knowledges from different sources, and leveraging it to course-correct. None of the above should come at the expense of democratic legitimacy. Co-governance should maintain democratic norms in the inclusion of members, providing transparency and fairness in decision-making, and accessibility to policies. Finally, co-governance should be responsive. Its decision-making should be evidence-based, but not devalue tacit, local, and indigenous knowledges versus technical information. Institutions should be able to assess fidelity to the perspectives and needs of stakeholders and be accountable for their ability to do so.

              You can download this public deliverable from the button below