Polycentric governance compensates for incoherence of resource regimes: The case of water uses under climate change in Oberhasli, Switzerland

Kellner, Elke; Oberlack, Christoph; Gerber, Jean-David (2019). Polycentric governance compensates for incoherence of resource regimes: The case of water uses under climate change in Oberhasli, Switzerland. Environmental science & policy, 100, pp. 126-135. Elsevier 10.1016/j.envsci.2019.06.008

[img] Text
1-s2.0-S1462901118310980-main.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (714kB) | Request a copy

Incoherent institutional regimes are among the most critical barriers to adapt water governance under climate change. However, it remains unclear how different governance processes can coordinate competing resource uses despite incoherence of institutional resource regimes. This paper examines how institutional resource regimes and polycentric governance processes are co-evolving and to what extent these processes coordinate competing resource uses in incoherent resource regimes. Empirically, we performed an embedded case study of the institutional resource regime and governance processes of three water reservoir projects with contrasting outcomes in the region of Oberhasli in the canton of Berne, Switzerland, covering a timeframe starting from the early 20th century. Data were collected through 21 semi-structured interviews, document analysis, participatory observation, and transect walks. Analytically, we demonstrate how the combination of the Institutional Resource Regime and polycentric governance frameworks provides an opportunity to analyze co-evolving resource regimes and governance processes. The results show that the institutional resource regime has become increasingly incoherent over the past decades, but the evolution of polycentric processes to govern competing water uses compensated for regime incoherence. Polycentric governance improved the coordination of water uses, if mutual adjustment, trust and activation of overarching rules between actors with similar and opposing interests were present. We conclude that institutional regime incoherence may constitute a critical barrier to climate change adaptation, but polycentric governance processes may alleviate critical challenges arising from regime incoherence.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Hydrology
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Human Geography > Unit Urban & Regional Planing
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Human Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)
11 Centers of Competence > Center for Regional Economic Development (CRED)

UniBE Contributor:

Kellner, Elke; Oberlack, Christoph and Gerber, Jean-David

Subjects:

900 History > 910 Geography & travel
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

1462-9011

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Elke Kellner

Date Deposited:

15 Jul 2019 13:45

Last Modified:

15 Jul 2019 13:45

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.envsci.2019.06.008

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Institutional Resource Regime, Local regulatory arrangement, Polycentric governance, Water, Climate change, Coordination

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.131832

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/131832

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback