First Keynote Speech

My most recent news is that I leave tomorrow for Mexico City to give my first keynote speech.  The Inter-American Institute of Cooperation on Agriculture is partnering with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Environment of Mexico to host an International Seminar: Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change with the governments of 10 other Latin American countries.

My talk is entitled Working across Borders: Environmental Governance in an Era of Global Change.

The abstract is:

In an era of “concatenated shocks”, with increasing interconnectedness on a planetary scale through the globalization of trade and global environmental change, shocks to one part of a social-ecological system often ripple through and affect seemingly unrelated parts of the system.  With this in mind, we need to think more about governance at broader scales than in the past, often beyond current political borders, boundaries, and barriers.  By thinking about polycentric forms of governance, meaning a governance system in which multiple entities at a variety of overlapping levels coordinate to govern at the scale and scope of the problems, we can begin to address these concatenated shocks.  However, to accomplish this requires re-thinking governance as the exclusive business of governments to governance as a partnership between governmental agencies from the local to the national level, NGOs, for-profit businesses, and civil society.  This collaboration across a variety of land tenure and ownership arrangements is challenging and often reduces efficiency when compared with single entity decision-making.  However in spite of the increase in transaction costs, collaboration enables governance at the appropriate scales, can increase participation and legitimacy, facilitate learning and the incorporation of multiple types of knowledge, improve monitoring and enforcement of rules, and ultimately improve social-ecological outcomes.

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