PhD thesis

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    Reef Futures Exploring the dynamics of transformative change in marine social-ecological systems

    Franciska von Heland

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    Franciska von Heland, Stockholm University 2014

    ISBN 978-91-7447-963-8

    Printed in Sweden by Printers name, Stockholm 2014Distributor: The Stockholm Resilience Centre

  • One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?

    Rachel Carson

  • ABSTRACT Marine resource degradation is a pressing issue worldwide. This thesis comes at a time when transformative change is necessary if we are to maintain the capacity of marine ecosystems to provide life-supporting benefits for millions of people. This is why resilience research has shown an increasing interest in transformability, that is, the capacity to shift from undesirable system toward new system trajectories. Despite the increasing research interest in transformability, the underlying factors and management strategies that enable us to shift to new types of governance are poorly understood. This thesis aims to nuance the understanding of transformative change processes. The thesis consists of four papers that explore issues relating to transformative change in the context of marine governance in the Coral Triangle, and the effects of such change processes on policy, stakeholder relations and management activities. The Coral Triangle is located along the equator at the confluence of the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, and is recognized as a priority site for conservation due to high marine biodiversity and high ratings of exposure to reef threats and reef dependence. Paper 1 studies how change-oriented actors (institutional entrepreneurs) operating at the international level can introduce and purposefully navigate large-scale change processes. Paper 2 studies the impact of resource asymmetries on multi-stakeholder collaboration, and tackles the literature of boundary work so as to increase its usefulness for understanding complex, multi-level governance initiatives. Paper 3 explores how narratives about the marine environment are entwined with and influence critical aspects of marine ecosystem governance such as resource allocation, day-to-day management actions, stakeholder relations, and long-term ecological monitoring. Paper 4 investigates how actors at the local level can capture opportunities at higher institutional levels while at the same time catalyzing local potential for change by focusing on the interplay between strategies, opportunity and context. The results reinforce evidence that institutional entrepreneurs play an important role in introducing and driving transformative change. Institutional entrepreneurship requires understanding of how strategies can be matched with opportunity and context, for example by offering a way for other actors to address key priorities and add value to their organizations. This is linked to the capacity to coordinate the activities of other actors, not only within organizations, but also outside of and between organizations. The results also show that behind-the-scene organizing is often a precondition for the introduction of transformative change. Shifting the process from an informal track to a formal track where ideas about transformative change can be deliberated among a broader set of stakeholders is thus a major challenge. Moreover, a strong narrative is key to successfully introducing and driving transformative change. In this sense, the ability to articulate and distribute a narrative, which tells a compelling story about the broader system, rather than merely making sense of ecological knowledge or formulating visions, is critical. However, the actors involved in a governance context are not equally capable of value articulation, deliberation and knowledge exchange. Power dynamics are constantly at play in transformation processes due to resource asymmetries. The thesis shows that differences in resources may influence the credibility, legitimacy, and salience of transformative change. It also shows that communication technology and media help to drive transformative change, and that actors are increasingly facing a new dilemma of knowing where to find the right knowledge at the right time. Lastly, this thesis demonstrates that emotion is an important but neglected aspect of transformative change. Keywords: transformative change, marine governance, multi-level governance, multi-stakeholder collaboration, institutional entrepreneurship, boundary work, narrative, Coral Triangle

  • SAMMANFATTNING P SVENSKA Miljfrstring i marinaomrden r ett vxande problem vrlden ver. Transformativa frndringar, det vill sga, lngtgende frndringar i hur vi utnyttjar och frvaltar marina miljer, r sledes avgrande fr att skerstlla att de miljontals mnniskor som beror av ekosystemstjnster frn vra hav kan mta en sker framtid. Lngtgende miljfrstring i vra hav r en anledning, bland andra, till att resiliens forskning har visat ett kat intresse fr transformaility. Transformability r en benmning p vr frmga att bryta beteenden och strukturer som ligger till grund fr miljfrstring. Trots kat intresse fr denna typ av forskning finns fga kunskap om de underliggande faktorer och management strategier som kan mjliggra sdana skiften. Denna doktorsavhandling har fr avsikt att bidra med kunskap om hur transformativa frndringsprocesser kan aktivt drivas. Avhandlingen basers p fltforskning i ett omrde som vanligen gr under namnet the Coral Triangle (p svenska Koralltriangeln) och bestr av fyra olika artiklar som med hjlp av olika infallsvinklar undersker transformability. Koralltriangeln r belgen dr den vstra delen av Stilla havet mter Indiska oceanen och r knt fr att inrymma unik mngfald av marina arter, vilket ocks gjort den till ett prioritetsomrde fr naturbevarande. verfiske, illegala fiskemetoder som dynamitfiske, kustnra exploatering, och utslpp bde till havs och p land i avrinningsomrdet utgr ett stort hot mot Koralltriangeln och de 120 miljoner mnniskor som dr frsrjer sig p smskaligt fiske. Omrdet strcker sig frn Malaysia och Indonesien i vst, via Filippinerna och Timor-Leste till Papua Nya Guinea och Salomonarna i st. Artikel 1 undersker hur frndringsorienterade individer och organisationer, vilka i avhandlingen gr under namnet institutionella entreprenrer, kan introducera och katalysera frndringsprocesser p internationell niv. Artikel 2 studerar hur resursojmlikhet (exempelvis i politiskt inflytande, ekonomisk makt, sprkkunskaper, etc.) pverkar hur transformativa frndringsprocesser kan drivas och med vilka resultat. Artikel 3 undersker kommunikationens (exempelvis det stt vi vljer att skildra ett ekosystem) pverkan p frvaltning och sociala relationer. Artikel 4 belyser hur aktrer p det lokala planet kan katalysera frndring genom att matcha deras frndringsstrategier med mjligheter och skeenden p nationell eller internationell niv samt genom att noggrant lsa den omgivande lokala miljn. Avhandlingen visar att institutionella entreprenrer spelar en viktig roll i att mjliggra fr transformativa frndringar och att ett sdant entreprenrskap krver frstelse fr hur strategier bst kan matchas med nrliggande mjligheter och andra kontextuella faktorer. En avgrande faktor i sdana processer verkar vara att institutionella entreprenrer mste bygga vrde fr andra organisationer. En annan viktig frmga som sdana individer eller organisationer mste besitta r frmgan att organisera mellan organisationer och informella processer. Avhandlingen visar ocks att transformativ frndring i ett inledande skede sker bakom kulisserna och att en inledande utmaning r att skifta en sdan informell process till en formell process dr fler aktrer kan delta i att diskutera och frhandla om frndring. Den visar ven att en strak och tilltalande berttelse r ndvndig fr att driva frndringsprocesser. Detta betyder att frmgan att artikulera och sprida en sdan berttelse r en avgrande faktor. Samtidigt har de aktrer som deltar i en frndringsprocess olika frmga att uttala och f gehr fr sina berttelser. Exempelvis spelar tillgngen till resurser en avgrande roll. Drutver fresls att kommunikationsteknologi och media har stor potential att pdriva frndring. Slutligen, framhller avhandlingen att forskning i kad utstrckning mste ta hnsyn till knslomssiga aspekter av transformativa frndringar.

  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Thank you Per Olsson and Beatrice Crona for being my supervisors and believing in me. Thanks for all the advice and important insights you have given me throughout these years. Julian Clifton, thank you for taking the time to working with me. You have been a great inspiration. And to Pedro Fidelman, thanks for inviting me to collaborate with you and for your important input into my research. It was great living with you in Australia and I will never forget your hospitality and friendship. Thanks to rjan Bodin. I would also like to thank the ARC Centre of Excellence in Australia and WorldFish in the Philippines for welcoming me as a guest researcher. A special thanks to Joe Padilla at UNDP in Bangkok. It was a great experience working with you. The Stockholm Resilience Centre: thank you all for the creative atmosphere. A special thanks to Martina Kadin, Arvid Bergsten and Jonas Hentati-Sundberg. You are stalwarts and I am deeply grateful for you friendship! Matilda Thyresson, thanks for mental and physical coaching. Henrik Ernstson, thank you for sharing insights and for always taking the time to help me out. Wijnand Boonstra, thanks for all the advice and your critical eye on my papers and kappa, for which I am truly thankful. Thanks to Vanessa Masterson, Carol Crumley and Andrew Merrie for proofreading. Thanks also to Jerker Lokrantz. Thrse La Monde and Cecilia Linder, thanks for administrative support! To all the people I have worked with in Wakatobi and elsewhere in