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The Emergence of a New Legally Binding Agreement for a Marine Complex System: Are We Going Beyond Panaceas?

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Gonçalves, Leandra R.; Webster, D.G.; Kim, Rakhyun E.
Conference: Workshop on the Ostrom Workshop 6
Location: Indiana University, Bloomington
Conf. Date: June 19-21, 2019
Date: 2019
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10507
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Abstract: "Many warn against the use of panaceas, or overly simple 'solutions' applied to a wide array of complex problems without regard for effectiveness or negative side effects. Scholars developed several diagnostic approaches to avoid panaceas by allowing people to tailor institutions to complex social-ecological systems at the local and international levels of analysis. However, panaceas still persist and are, in fact, pervasive in environmental governance at all levels of analysis. In this paper, we examine how interactions between two main components of the panacea mindset, power disconnects and problem narratives, are affecting UN negotiations for a new treaty regarding biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). We find that combating panaceas requires a better understanding of conflicting hierarchies of institutions that limit the effectiveness of institutional design. Our research indicates that the negotiated outcome will not reflect the best institutional design for the conservation of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, but rather the best institutional design for the benefit of powerful states. This implies that institutional diagnostics must account for these type of barriers, which can only be removed through system-wide political and economic transitions, to ensure effective design rather than the creation of expedient panaceas."

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