This paper examines the conceptual revisions needed to extend the new institutional approach to environmental governance from its current local and international domains to new areas of application, such as national environmental and natural resource use policies. The article argues that environmental governance is best understood as the resolution of environmental conflicts through the establishment, reaffirmation or change of environmental governance institutions. This understanding suggests that the choice of environmental governance institutions is a matter of social justice rather than economic efficiency, demanding greater emphasis on public participation as the foundation of their political legitimacy. The paper also suggests a more encompassing way to understand environmental governance institutions to make space for state-centred governance solutions as types of formal collective ownership not unlike common property. The article demonstrates how institutional analysis can benefit from looking more closely at the three-tier structure, organization of generic governance functions and formulation of institutional rules as key aspects of the institutional design of governance solutions.
environmental governance environmental justice interdependence New institutional economics property rights