Governat − Multi-level Governance of Natural Resources: Tools and Processes for Water and Biodiversity Governance in Europe

Project leader

Heidi Wittmer, Felix Rauschmayer

Employees involved

Karla Locher


2007 − 2010

Budget total


Budget UFZ


Funding agency

European Commission

Short summary

GoverNat was a Marie Curie Research Training Network in the 6th Framework Program of the European Commission. Its focus was research and training in all aspects of multi-level environmental governance. The 4-year project ended in September 2010.

The GoverNat network was comprised of ten partner institutes throughout Europe and several affiliated praxis partners. The project involved 9 early stage researchers, 4 post docs and several further affiliated researchers. GoverNat was coordinated by Felix Rauschmayer and Heidi Wittmer, Department of Environmental Politics, Division of Social Sciences.

GoverNat concentrated on participatory processes as means to improve environmental multi-level governance. In specific case studies of water and biodiversity governance, GoverNat researchers matched the need for improvement of specific governance schemes with the potential of improvement of combined participatory and analytical approaches. Designing and ideally even implementing improved governance schemes in collaboration with praxis partners was the challenge of this research project, GoverNat researchers empirically tested the hypothesis that certain participatory processes improve multi-level governance. An overview can be found in the interview with Felix Rauschmayer (3.3 MB).

Wehr, Saale
Saale (Foto: André Künzelmann, UFZ)


GoverNat's targets and results are made public in papers evolving from the project. Besides the completed Ph.D. theses the project produced several journal articles, a series of discussion papers and a policy brief.

Policy Brief

Towards successful participation in European biodiversity and water governance.
January 2010

In German:
Partizipation erfolgreich gestalten in der Umsetzung von Biodiversitäts- und Wasserpolitik in Europa (9.6 MB)
April 2010

Ph.D. Theses

Public Participation in Hungarian Biodiversity Governance: The Role of NGOs in Natura 2000
Cordula  Mertens, 2014. St. István University, Gödöllő

Talk on Water. Ecological Economics and Participatory Watershed Governance (2 MB)
Matteo Roggero, 2010. Universidade Nova de Lisboa

For the love of nature. Amateur naturalist as actors in nature conservation
Minna Santaoja, 2013. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 1853. Tampere University Press (in Finnish, with English abstract)

Journal Publications: Special GoverNat Issue

European Governance of natural resources: participation in a multi-level context. Environmental Policy and Governance Vol. 19, Number 3, May-June 2009. Issue Edited by Felix Rauschmayer, Jouni Paavola.



European governance of natural resources and participation in a multi-level context: An editorial
p 141-147
Felix Rauschmayer, Jouni Paavola, Heidi Wittmer
Published Online: May 26 2009
DOI: 10.1002/eet.504

Research Articles:

Interplay of actors, scales, frameworks and regimes in the governance of biodiversity
p 148-158 (see below: GoverNat Discussionpaper 7)
Jouni Paavola, Andrew Gouldson, Tatiana Kluvánková-Oravská
Published Online: Apr 30 2009
DOI: 10.1002/eet.505

Examining processes or/and outcomes? Evaluation concepts in European governance of natural resources
p 159-173 (see below: GoverNat Discussionpaper 5)
Felix Rauschmayer, Augustin Berghöfer, Ines Omann, Dimitrios Zikos
Published Online: May 26 2009
DOI: 10.1002/eet.506

Inclusive risk governance: concepts and application to environmental policy making
p 174-185 (see below: GoverNat Discussionpaper 6)
Ortwin Renn, Pia-Johanna Schweizer
Published Online: May 26 2009
DOI: 10.1002/eet.507

From government to governance for biodiversity: the perspective of central and Eastern European transition countries
p 186-196 (see below: Governat Discussionpaper 4)
Tatiana Kluvánková-Oravská, Veronika Chobotová, Ilona Banaszak, Lenka Slavikova, Sonja Trifunovova
Published Online: May 26 2009
DOI: 10.1002/eet.508

Environmental governance: participatory, multi-level − and effective?
p 197-214 (see below: GoverNat Discussionpaper 8)
Jens Newig, Oliver Fritsch
Published Online: May 26 2009
DOI: 10.1002/eet.509

Further Journal Publications

Shifting Troubles: Decision-Making versus Implementation in Participatory Watershed Governance (238.5 KB)
Matteo Roggero 2013
Environmental Policy and Governance 23, 63–74

Rationales for public participation in environmental policy and governance: practitioners’ perspectives (524.6 KB)
Anna Wesselink, Jouni Paavola, Oliver Fritsch, Ortwin Renn 2011
Environment and Planning – A 43 (11), 2688-2704

If post-normal science is the solution, what is the problem? The politics of activist science
A. J. Wesselink, R. Hoppe 2010
Science, Technology and Human Values 36 (3), 362-388
DOI 10.1177/0162243910385786

The emergence of interdisciplinary knowledge in problem focussed research
Anna Wesselink (SRI), Area 2009
Published online: 25 Feb 2009
DOI 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2009.00882.x

Hydrology and Hydraulics Expertise in Participatory Processes for Climate Change Adaptation in the Dutch Meuse
Anna Wesselink et al. 2009
Water Science and Technology 60 (3), 583-595

GoverNat Discussion Papers

GoverNat 1, March 2007
Multi-level Governance of Natural Resources: Tools and Processes for water and Biodiversity Governance in Europe − A European Research and Training Network (199.7 KB)
Felix Rauschmayer (UFZ), Heidi Wittmer (UFZ), Jouni Paavola (SRI)

GoverNat 2, August 2008
WP1: Analysing Multilevel Water and Biodiversity Governance in their Context, Report (647.2 KB)
Anna Wesselink, Jouni Paavola (SRI)

GoverNat 3, August 2008
WP1: Analysing Multilevel Water and Biodiversity Governance in their Context, Analysis and synthesis of Consultations (201.4 KB)
Anna Wesselink (SRI) with contributions from eight other GoverNat fellows

GoverNat 4, November 2008 (now published in: Special GoverNat Issue EPG 19/3)
From Government to Governance for Biodiversity: The Perspective of CEE Transition Countries (419.8 KB)
Tatiana Kluvánková-Oravská (SAV), Veronika Chobotová (SAV), Ilona Banaszak (SAV), Lenka Slavíková (IREAS), Sonja Trifunovova (SAV)

GoverNat 5, November 2008 (now published in: Special GoverNat Issue EPG 19/3)
Examining Processes or Outcomes? − Towards a Combination of Evaluation Concepts in European Environmental Governance (486.6 KB)
Felix Rauschmayer (UFZ), Augustin Berghöfer (UFZ), Ines Omann (SERI), Dimitrios Zikos (UFZ)

Governat 6, November 2008 (now published in: Special GoverNat Issue EPG 19/3)
Inclusive Risk Governance: Concepts and Application to Environmental Policy Making (429.2 KB)
Ortwin Renn, Pia-Johanna Schweizer (UStutt)

GoverNat 7, November 2008 (now published in: Special GoverNat Issue EPG 19/3)
The Governance of Biodiversity: Eco-systems, Institutions and the Interplay of Actors, Levels, Frameworks and Regimes (332.2 KB)
Jouni Paavola (SRI), Tatiana Kluvánková-Oravská (SAV), Andrew Gouldson (SRI)

GoverNat 8, November 2008 (now published in: Special GoverNat Issue EPG 19/3)
Environmental Governance: Participatory, Multi-level − and Effective? (481.1 KB)
Jens Newig (Leuphana University Lüneburg), Oliver Fritsch (NERI)

GoverNat 9, November 2008
Positive Evaluations May Be Shortlived: Outcomes and Processes of a World Bank Biodiversity Project in a Post-Communist Country (722.4 KB)
Maria Falaleeva (IVM, VU University Amsterdam), Felix Rauschmayer (UFZ)

GoverNat 10, January 2010
WP3: Participation in the Multi-Level Governance of European Water and Biodiversity − A Review of Case Studies (528.1 KB)
Ortwin Renn (UStutt), Augustin Berghöfer (UFZ), Heidi Wittmer (UFZ), Felix Rauschmayer (UFZ)

GoverNat 11, June 2010
WP 2: Assessing multi-level activities in Water and Biodiversity Governance, Report (1.5 MB)
Paula Antunes (ECOMAN), Pastricia Quillacq, Felix Rauschmayer (UFZ), Rui Santos (ECOMAN), Nuno Videira (ECOMAN)

GoverNat 12, August 2010
WP 4: Novel Processes and Tools in Multi-Level Governance in Europe, Report (1.2 MB)
Tatiana Kluvánková-Oravská, Ilona Banaszak, Veronika Chobotová (SAV)

GoverNat 13, September 2010
Legitimacy Analysis of Multi-level Governance of Biodiversity: Evidence from 12 Case Studies across the EU (888 KB)
Monika Suškevičs (Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences)

Further Discussion Papers

From Government to Governance for Biodiversity in the European Union: The experience in the New Member States (949.3 KB)
Ilona Banaszak, Veronika Chobotová, Tatiana Kluvánková-Oravská, Lenka Slavíková, Jirí Moravec (SAV)

Interdisciplinarity, Problem Focused Research and Normativity (461.7 KB)
Anna Wesselink (SRI)

Books and Book Chapters

Looking for a place to anchor: Confusing thoughts along an interdisciplinary dissertation journey
Santaoja Minna, Treffny Raphael, Mertens Cordula, Jolibert Catherine, Farrell Katharine N., 2013. In: Farrell Katharine, Luzzati Tommaso, van den Hove Sybille (eds.). Beyond Reductionism: A Passion for Interdisciplinarity. London: Routledge, 221-248

From Government to Governance? Multilevel Governance for Water and Biodiversity. The Perspective of Central and Eastern Europe
Kluvánková-Oravská et al. (ed.), 2010. Prague: Alfa Nakladatelství


  • UFZ, Centre for Environmental Research, Division of Social Sciences & Dpt. of Conservation Research, Germany
    F. Rauschmayer, A. Berghöfer, C. Görg, H. Wittmer
  • ECOMAN-FFCT, New University of Lisbon, Portugal
    P. Antunes, R. Santos
  • NERI, National Environmental Research Institute, Denmark
    M. S. Andersen
  • SRI, Sustainability Research Institute, Leeds University, UK
    J. Paavola
  • UAB-ICTA, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Institut de Cièncias y Tecnologia Ambientals, Spain
    S. van den Hove
  • CSWM, Centre for Sustainable Water Management, Lancaster University, UK
    W. Medd, N. Watson
  • University of Stuttgart, Research Unit for Risk, Governance and Sustainable Technology Development, Germany
    O. Renn
  • SAV, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Institute for Forecasting, Slovak Republic
    T. Kluvánková-Oravská
  • IELM-SIU, Institute of Environmental and Landscape Management, St. Istvan University, Hungary
    G. Pataki, N. Kohlheb
  • IREAS, Institute for Structural Policies, Slovak Republic
    V. Chobotova, L. Slavíková

Early Stage Researchers

  • Catrin Egerton
  • Oliver Fritsch
  • Catherine Jolibert
  • Cordula Mertens
  • Mireia Pecurul
  • Matteo Roggero
  • Minna Santaoja
  • Raphael Treffny
  • Sonja Trifunovova


  • Ilona M. Otto (former Banaszak)
  • Patricia Quillacq
  • Anna Wesselink
  • Dimitrios Zikos

Further Affiliated Researchers

  • Katharine Farrell
  • Ines Omann
  • Anton Shkaruba
  • Monika Suskevics