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Transformative governance of biodiversity: Insights for sustainable development

Visseren-Hamakers, Ingrid J.; Razzaque, Jona; McElwee, Pamela; Turnhout, Esther; Kelemen, Eszter; Rusch, Graciela M.; Fernández-Llamazares, Alvaro; Chan, Ivis; Lim, Michelle; Islar, Mine; Prasad Gautam, Ambika; Williams, Meryl; Mungatana, Eric; Karim, Saiful; Muradian, Roldan; Gerber, Leah; Lui, Gabriel; Liu, Jinlong; Spangenberg, Joachim; Zaleski, Dara

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Ingrid J. Visseren-Hamakers

Pamela McElwee

Esther Turnhout

Eszter Kelemen

Graciela M. Rusch

Alvaro Fernández-Llamazares

Ivis Chan

Michelle Lim

Mine Islar

Ambika Prasad Gautam

Meryl Williams

Eric Mungatana

Saiful Karim

Roldan Muradian

Leah Gerber

Gabriel Lui

Jinlong Liu

Joachim Spangenberg

Dara Zaleski


While there is much debate on transformative change among academics and policymakers, the discussion on how to govern such change is still in its infancy. This article argues that transformative governance is needed to enable the transformative change necessary for achieving global sustainability goals. Based on a literature review, the article unpacks this concept of transformative governance. It is: integrative, to ensure local solutions also have sustainable impacts elsewhere (across scales, places, issues and sectors); inclusive, to empower those whose interests are currently not being met and represent values embodying transformative change for sustainability; adaptive, enabling learning, experimentation, and reflexivity, to cope with the complexity of transformative change; and pluralist, recognizing different knowledge systems. We argue that only when these four governance approaches are: implemented in conjunction; operationalized in a specific manner; and focused on addressing the indirect drivers underlying sustainability issues, governance becomes transformative.


Visseren-Hamakers, I. J., Razzaque, J., McElwee, P., Turnhout, E., Kelemen, E., Rusch, G. M., …Zaleski, D. (2021). Transformative governance of biodiversity: Insights for sustainable development. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 53, 20-28.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 24, 2021
Online Publication Date Jun 27, 2021
Publication Date 2021-12
Deposit Date Jun 16, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jul 6, 2021
Journal Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Print ISSN 1877-3435
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 53
Pages 20-28
Public URL


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