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Global environmental governance for conserving migratory shorebirds in the Asia-Pacific

Eduardo Gallo-Cajiao, Tiffany H. Morrison, Pedro Fidelman, Salit Kark, Richard A. Fuller
Regional environmental change 2019 v.19 no.4 pp. 1113-1129
environmental governance, habitat conservation, habitat destruction, migratory behavior, migratory species, politics, property rights, topology
Understanding the sets of co-existing institutional arrangements and the role of different actors for transboundary conservation is not only paramount for migratory species survival but also for studying the transformation of international politics. We analyze the global environmental governance architecture for conserving migratory shorebirds in the Asia-Pacific. We ask, (i) how has the architecture emerged in relation to levels of governance, type of actors, formality, and topology?; and (ii) how does the topology and agency of actors vary across the architecture when accounting for different threats to these species (i.e., habitat loss and hunting)? We use a mixed method approach, based on qualitative data and quantitative network analysis, to characterize and examine the architecture, thereby extending the precision of singular approaches. We find that 28 institutional arrangements, involving 57 state and non-state actors, have emerged since the 1970s. The resulting architecture conforms to concepts and symptoms of institutional complexity, alternately exhibiting characteristics of a regime complex, fragmented governance, and polycentrism. Our results indicate increased interactions of actors across sectors of society and levels of governance, but do not support notions of state retreat and diffusion of power away from the nation-state. Instead, we show that actors beyond the nation-state have emerged as a complement to a nation state-centered architecture. Moreover, when we consider the subset of institutional arrangements for habitat conservation and hunting management separately, hunting management emerges as the exclusive domain of the nation-state. It remains unclear whether this difference is driven by differences in property rights or other sets of drivers.