The Right Kind of Collaboration is the Key to Solving Environmental Problems – ScienceDaily


The coming decade could determine whether humanity will move towards a more socially and environmentally sustainable society. A crucial element of this goal is to develop a better understanding of how cooperation can be improved and become more effective, both within and between private stakeholders and public institutions.

“Collaborative governance is often put forward as a solution to various environmental problems. For example, when artisanal fishermen agree to avoid overfishing or when states agree to reduce greenhouse gases. But we don’t know much about how cooperation works around environmental issues. in a complex world. Different actors want different things, different environmental issues relate to each other, and different groups have different degrees of influence. Does cooperation really lead to a better environment? Says Örjan Bodin, lecturer at the Stockholm Resilience Center, which conducts interdisciplinary research on better ways to deal with various environmental issues.

One way to delve deeper into these questions was to explore how different collaborative initiatives engaged different actors and how these actors chose to work with each other. An “actor” can be an individual, such as a fisherman, but it can also be a city, a business, a non-profit organization, or a country. By studying these collaborative networks, we develop a better understanding of how actors, both as a group and as individuals, act when faced with different environmental issues.

“Our research shows that the ability to solve environmental problems is partly linked to the way these networks are structured – the models of collaboration between actors”, explains Örjan Bodin.

Research shows that certain models are better suited for solving different types of common problems. For example, if the problem involves a high risk that actors will profit from the efforts of others, the situation is improved by closely linking the actors to each other. This could mean that two actors who cooperate with the same third actor should also cooperate directly with each other, forming a cooperation triangle.

“It also makes a difference whether the environmental problem is temporary or more permanent. If it is temporary, it may be more effective to have a cooperation network with a clearly chosen coordinator or leader to keep it together, ”explains rjan Bodin.

The study also shows how the ability to solve problems even depends on how well a network “aligns” with the structures and processes found in the affected ecosystem. This means, for example, that if two actors are dealing with two different but interconnected parts of the ecosystem, they have to work together.

“A good socio-ecological ‘adjustment’ would increase the possibilities of effectively solving environmental problems. Thus, for example, the development of a sustainable fishery could be helped if two fishermen who fish the same species collaborate with each other”, explains Örjan Bodin. . .

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Material provided by Stockholm University. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.


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