Working Group Environmental Governance

The emergence of the concept of governance reflects the transformation of forms of regulation of societal problems. In contrast to more classical top-down regulatory mechanisms used by governments, governance focuses on the cooperation of political, economic, academic and civil actors in the development and implementation of political regulatory projects, policies and institutions. This tendency is particularly visible in the environmental area.

In order to investigate this phenomenon, the Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy had a working group on environmental governance focusing on the following interrelated research themes:

  • First, we examine the involvement and discursive influence of different actor groups in environment-related political processes and decision-making (e.g., on environmental financing), and analyse conflicts that emerge in the context of cooperation.
  • Furthermore, we investigate the diffusion, implementation and impacts of global norms and concepts related to the environment at the national and local level (e.g., sustainable development, participatory forest management, REDD+, or performance/results-based financing).
  • Of specific interest here is the role of supra- and international institutions, their institutional development, internal dynamics, external impacts and legitimation.
  • Finally, we explore the interaction of science and politics, particularly the production and distribution of (expert) knowledge as well as the emergence of hegemonic discourse and knowledge hierarchies in environment-related policy fields.

Staff members

Associated members

Former staff members

Projects and Publications



Koch, Susanne (2020) Epistemische Ungleichheit unter „Entwicklungsexpert*innen“: eine empirische Analyse unter Einbeziehung philosophischer, dekolonialer und postkolonialer Perspektiven. polylog. Zeitschrift für interkulturelles Philosophieren (im Erscheinen).

Koch, Susanne (2020) Responsible research, inequality in science and epistemic injustice: an attempt to open up thinking about inclusiveness in the context of RI/RRI. Journal of Responsible Innovation (published online 19 June 2020).

Koch, Susanne (2020) "The local consultant will not be credible": How epistemic injustice is experienced and practised in development aid. Social Epistemology - A Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Policy 34 (5), pp. 478-489.

Koch, Susanne (2020) Of Hopes and Struggles: How Young African Scientists Experience Working Conditions in Academia (A Review of The Next Generation of Scientists in Africa). Backchannels (18.05.2020). URL:

Koch, Susanne (2017) Identifying enabling factors of science-policy interaction in a developing country context: A case study of South Africa's environment sector. Forest Policy and Economics (91), pp. 36-45.

Koch, Susanne (2016) International influence on forest governance in Tanzania: Analysing the role of aid experts in the REDD+ process. In Forest Policy and Economics (83), pp. 181-190..

Koch, Susanne; Weingart, Peter (2016) The Delusion of Knowledge Transfer: The Impact of Foreign Aid Experts on Policy-making in South Africa and Tanzania. Cape Town: African Minds.

Lund, Jens Friis; Mabele, Mathew Bukhi; Koch, Susanne (2016) Norway's Tanzania REDD+ adventure. Another forestry experiment gone awry. In Development Today 12-13: 14-15.

Malets, Olga (2015) Domestic Regulations, Compliance Assessment and Forest Certification in Russia. In Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning. 17(3): 332-359

Malets, Olga (2013) The Translation of Transnational Voluntary Standards into Practices: Civil Society and the Forest Stewardship Council in Russia. In Journal of Civil Society 9 (3): 300-324

Böhling, Kathrin (2010) Transnational Institution-building in the United Nations. Paper for the European Group of Organization Studies Colloquium (EGOS), Lissabon, Portugal, 01.-03.07.2010 [pdf]

Böhling, Kathrin (2011) The Multi-stakeholder approach in the United Nations. Unprecedented perhaps, but not unexpected. Paper for the Workshop ”Transnational private regulation in the areas of health, environment, social and labor rights“, FU Berlin, 28./29.01.2011 [pdf]

Böhling, Kathrin (2011) Symbolic knowledge at work: learning from experts in EU public policy, Paper for the ECPR Joint Session, St. Gallen, Schweiz, 25.-28.05.2011 

Böhling, Kathrin (2011) Emergence of stakeholder governance in the United Nations: an outcome of institutional work?, Paper for the 6th Organization Studies Workshop “Bringing Public Organization and Organizing Back In”, Paris, Frankreich, 26.-28.06.2011 [pdf]

Himmler, Dominik (zus. mit Monika Arzberger) Schutzwaldplattformen und -foren in Bayern und Tirol [pdf]

Malets, Olga (2011) From transnational voluntary standards to local practices. A case study of forest certification in Russia, MPIfG Discussion Paper 11/7 [pdf]

Malets, Olga (2011) Between Local Effects and Global Effectiveness: What Limits the Transformative Potential of Forest Certification in Russia?, Paper for the 23rd Annaul Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, Madrid, June 2011 (available upon request)