2009 volume 27(1) pages 42 – 58

Cite as:
Rauschmayer F, van den Hove S, Koetz T, 2009, "Participation in EU biodiversity governance: how far beyond rhetoric?" Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 27(1) 42 – 58

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Participation in EU biodiversity governance: how far beyond rhetoric?

Felix Rauschmayer, Sybille van den Hove, Thomas Koetz

Received 11 February 2007; in revised form 31 March 2008; published online 5 September 2008

Abstract. We explore the theory and practice of participation in EU biodiversity governance, focusing on the implementation of the Birds and Habitat directives and Natura 2000 at the EU and member-state levels in the cases of France and Germany. We identify three shifts in EU biodiversity governance which potentially lead to intensifying participatory processes, but which may also be induced by more participation: (i) a shift from a top-down state-centred administrative understanding of policy making towards more flexible and bottom-up approaches; (ii) a shift towards more democratic, ‘postnormal’, types of science; and (iii) a shift from a conservation focus towards a more anthropocentric ecosystems goods-and-services approach framed in a normative context of sustainability. We look at whether these shifts happen in practice and also look at the link with participation. At all political levels a big gap remains between the rhetoric on participation and the real-life implementation of participatory processes.

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