Multi-level governance innovations of the Baltic Sea and the North American Great Lakes: New actors and their roles in building adaptive capacity for eutrophication governance

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Nutrient enrichment of water bodies is one of the greatest stressors facing aquatic ecosystems worldwide. It is a problem faced in the Baltic Sea in Europe and the Laurentian Great Lakes in North America. Whilst progress was made in the Great Lakes during the 1990s to restore resiliency to the ecosystem, it is still a challenge in both basins today. This problem has been traced to a failure of governance, where traditional forms of government and legal steering have been unable to reduce nutrient inputs to the most polluted areas of the North American Great Lakes and the Baltic Sea. As such, governance innovations are needed to reduce nutrient inputs from agriculture and wastewater treatment plants, two of the biggest sources of land-based nutrients into these water bodies. Whilst a lot of the literature has focused on documenting the problems, there has been little attention on documenting novel governance innovations that have been working across scales to build adaptive capacity to nutrient abatement. This article fills this gap in the literature by looking at novel governance innovations across scales in the multi-level governance framework setting of the North American Great Lakes and the Baltic Sea steering mechanisms. It asks the question of what are the roles of actors other than the government in nutrient abatement. It examines innovations in governance by highlighting the role of new actors in building adaptive capacity through a focus on these determinants: public participation, science, networks, leadership, flexibility and resources.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)237–245
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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