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META-GOVERNANCE: VALUES, NORMS AND PRINCIPLES, AND THE MAKING OF HARD CHOICES

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Abstract

Meta-governance – or governance of governance – is a concept that raises questions regarding how values, norms and principles underpin governance systems and governing approaches. Values, norms and principles pertain both to substantive governance issues, for instance, related to sustainable resource use, and to governance system issues in themselves, for instance, regarding their institutional design. This article deals primarily with the latter. Thus the interactive perspective serves as basis for developing a coherent set of meta-governance principles. We argue that an explicit, deliberated and decided upon set of meta-governance principles as an integral part of governance can help in making hard substantive governance choices easier. Interactive learning plays a key role in governance processes when public and private governing actors have to make such hard choices. In the article, examples from natural resource governance will serve as illustrations for the more conceptual argumentation and reasoning.

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