Theme 1: Transparency, accountability and empowerment in global environmental governance
Increasingly, ‘governance by disclosure’ is pervading public and private attempts to govern transboundary environmental challenges, ranging from trade in hazardous substances to climate change. A key development is a growing reliance on monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems, as a means to enhance accountability and improve sustainability performance. Yet the politics of MRV systems (and governance by disclosure) remains little scrutinized. Who is being held to account, who is empowered, and (how) is sustainability being furthered?
We welcome papers that explore the relationships between transparency, accountability, empowerment, and improved sustainability performance in a wide range of multilaterally negotiated state-led and public-private-hybrid environmental governance arrangements. Particularly less examined are areas requiring anticipatory governance of novel technologies, such as geoengineering, synthetic biology or nanotechnology. By anticipatory governance, we mean governance in the face of extreme uncertainty and normative conflict over the very existence and nature of harm. How (if at all) is transparency and governance by disclosure implicated in anticipatory governance of novel technological risk and harm?