Partnerships in biodiversity governance: an assesment of their contributions to halting biodiversity loss

Ph.D. researcher: I. Visseren-Hamakers defended her thesis on 23 September, 2009.

The thesis discusses the role of partnerships in biodiversity governance. Over the past decade, partnerships have increasingly become a popular governance instrument for sustainable development. The thesis aims to improve our understanding of this relatively new instrument, and its contributions to and consequences for international sustainable development politics, by providing the lessons learned from international biodiversity governance. The thesis analyzes twenty-four international intersectoral partnerships working on forests, fisheries, conservation, and climate change, using perspectives based on regime, governance and partnership literature. It concludes that the contribution of the partnerships should be evaluated as varying: only seven ‘gems’ of partnerships fulfil important governance functions; the others play less paramount roles. Partnerships have, however, contributed to the ongoing change in the manner in which biodiversity is governed, namely the institutionalization of intersectoral governance. The thesis promotes a more strategic use of the partnership instrument, taking into account its opportunities and limitations, in order to strengthen its contributions to international sustainable development politics.