Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Complex problems and unchallenged solutions: Bringing ecosystem governance to the forefront of the UN sustainable development goals

Vasseur, Liette; Horning, Darwin; Thornbush, Mary; Cohen-Shacham, Emmanuelle; Andrade, Angela; Barrow, Ed; Edwards, Steve R.; Wit, Piet; Jones, Mike

Abstract

Sustainable development aims at addressing economic, social, and environmental concerns, but the current lack of responsive environmental governance hinders progress. Short-term economic development has led to limited actions, unsustainable resource management, and degraded ecosystems. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may continue to fall short of achieving significant progress without a better understanding of how ecosystems contribute to achieving sustainability for all people. Ecosystem governance is an approach that integrates the social and ecological components for improved sustainability and includes principles such as adaptive ecosystem co-management, subsidiarity, and telecoupling framework, as well as principles of democracy and accountability. We explain the importance of ecosystem governance in achieving the SDGs, and suggest some ways to ensure that ecosystem services are meaningfully considered. This paper reflects on how integration of these approaches into policies can enhance the current agenda of sustainability.

Keywords

Conservation; Ecosystems; Environmental degradation; Governance; International conventions; Sustainability

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2017, volume: 46, number: 7, pages: 731-742

Authors' information

Vasseur, Liette
Brock University
Horning, Darwin
University of British Columbia
Thornbush, Mary
Brock University
Cohen-Shacham, Emmanuelle
Tel Aviv University
Andrade, Angela
Conservat Int Colombia
Barrow, Ed
Int Union Conservat Nat
Edwards, Steve R.
Sustainable Commun Int
Wit, Piet
Int Union Conservat Nat
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Biodiversity Centre

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-017-0918-6

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/103982