Allocating responsibilities in multi-level governance for sustainable development
Sylvia I. Karlsson
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore and compare three different principles – the culpability, capacity and concern principles – for allocating responsibility for governance in a multi-level context of addressing sustainable development. Design/methodology/approach – The principles are first analysed from a theoretical and normative standpoint, linking to earlier literature on for example, the contribution principle, subsidiarity and global citizenship. Then the three principles are analysed in an empirical setting. The selected case is the issue complex around the health and environmental concerns from pesticide use in developing countries. Document analysis and semi-structured interviews were carried out with relevant stakeholders from local, national and global governance levels on themes which enabled analysis of the workability and justness of the principles and whether they were already applied to some degree. Findings – Analysis of the case shows the mutual complementarity of the three principles for allocating responsibility for governance, especially when culpability and capacity are dispersed across different agents and levels. However, the concern and capacity principles emerged as more important and promising. The results indicated the need for moving the value basis of agents towards more selfless global concern in order to create an effective multi-level governance system. Practical implications – The results may help policymakers at different levels to analyse more systematically who should assume responsibility for sustainable development governance and why. Originality/value – Extends the analysis of principles for allocating responsibility for global issues.
Governance, Pesticides, Social responsibility, Sustainable development
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