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How and to what extent do international organizations detect, process and react to different types of change within their policy domains? This study addresses this question by combining a unique data set consisting of policy documents from the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) with data measuring ecosystem change in the Baltic Sea during the period 1980–2013. Here HELCOM's responses to two types of ecosystem changes are investigated: fast and visible (summer algae blooms) and slow and opaque (anoxic areas). Finally, this study assesses if the organizational reform of 2007, which introduced the ecosystem approach, has had any effects on HELCOM responsiveness. It is found that HELCOM, contrary to expectations, is only responding systematically to slow-moving and opaque processes but that this response confirms the anticipated organizational bottom-up pattern. The ecosystem approach reform seems to have had a negative effect on the responsiveness of HELCOM; however, a general trend is that HELCOM over time has become more responsive in the lower levels of the organization. The lack of an immediate effect regarding the ecosystem approach reform can serve as a reminder of the absence of panaceas in policy making in general, and in environmental governance in particular.
Research news | 2018-12-13
Money sent home by migrants can prevent undesired farmland abandonment, as well as the promise of extensive forest regrowth
Research news | 2018-12-09
Amid transitions from swidden agriculture to market-driven oil palm plantations, women remain disadvantaged when it comes to access to land, labour and social capital
Research news | 2018-12-03
Review paper summarizes scholarship of resilience and economics, and projects how management of resilience could benefit sustainability measurement
Research news | 2018-11-28
The seventh in a series of seven "deep dives" looking into the connections between resilience and development
Research news | 2018-11-25
Not enough city dwellers are exposed to nature in cities. That could have serious impacts on their health
Research news | 2018-11-20
The sixth in a series of seven "deep dives" looking into the connections between resilience and development