A multilevel analytical framework for more-effective governance in human-natural systems: a case study of marine protected areas in Vietnam

Ho, Thu Van Trung, Woodley, Simon, Cottrell, Alison, and Valentine, Peter (2014) A multilevel analytical framework for more-effective governance in human-natural systems: a case study of marine protected areas in Vietnam. Ocean & Coastal Management, 90. pp. 11-19.

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Marine protected areas (MPAs) can be viewed as coupled human-natural systems where a significant number of local people depend on ecosystem goods and services. There are times when these uses contribute to ecosystem degradation that may eventually lead to a systems' collapse. In addition to studies of technical means for predicting and controlling the systems, the understanding of human dimensions, institutional and social-interaction issues has been considered important for improving effective governance of these systems. This paper presents a multilevel analytical framework and discusses application of this framework to the context of three MPAs in Vietnam. It discusses the development of the framework based on a new perspective that views institutions as a structure and governance as a process for operating a governing system. As a result, inter-relations and mutual influences of institutions and governance occurred within the MPAs are illustrated as a cause–effect relationship diagram. These are grouped into three components (i) formal institutions; (ii) political behaviour and organizational structure; and (iii) local communities' engagement, social capital and socio-economic conditions. These components interact with each other and influence the interplays of actors, both state and non-state, for MPA governance. Findings from this study suggest that institutions should be adaptive and regularly amended based on their performance in real-world governance processes. This ensures the match between the approved institutions and their practical effects in complex contextual conditions. Meanwhile, there should be accountable and transparent dialogues and mechanisms for all the stakeholders and actors to be actively involved in the development of institutions, and evaluating and monitoring governance processes. Bridging actors or organizations also need to be available as active facilitators of these dialogues and mechanisms. When the institutional and social-interaction issues are solved, governance of coupled human-natural systems, such as MPAs, will be enhanced.

Item ID: 31369
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-524X
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Date Deposited: 21 May 2014 23:41
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 75%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160403 Social and Cultural Geography @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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