In a more globalized world, with multiple governance levels and sources of authority, participatory
governance, with strong roles for such civil society actors as environmental organizations, is
increasingly seen as a remedy for dealing with transboundary environmental problems. But there are
some critical aspects regarding participatory governance that is so far little discussed in the literature,
and which require careful empirical analysis. How does participatory governance actually work in a
regional context, i.e. among neighboring states sharing environmental problems? What is required by
civil society actors to make a substantial impact within such governance arrangements?
The general aim of this project is to gain new knowledge on the conditions for environmental
organizations to play an influential role within regional participatory governance arrangements that aim to cope with environmental problems that stretch beyond national borders. We focus on marine
environmental problems and use a qualitative, comparative approach by including the Baltic Sea and the Adriatic Sea, and six selected nations within these regions.
The main questions addressed relate to how political institutions and legislation, on both national and
international levels, shape environmental organizations’ conditions to be part of environmental
governance processes; how these organizations develop capabilities and make use of opportunities
provided by governance structures and processes; and how people engaged in these organizations gain essential knowledge and competences which are needed for taking part in governance arrangements.
Four researchers representing political science, sociology, public law and adult education will conduct