Who influences the EU’s green infrastructure strategy?

It’s not just about information flow and regulations: Social pressure considerably influences biodiversity governance in Europe.

It is my pleasure to share more Net-Map work done by capable colleagues. Jennifer Hauck, Jenny Schmidt and Anja Werner analyzed the key actors that influence the implementation of the European Commission’s green infrastructure strategy.

Using social network analysis to identify key stakeholders in agricultural biodiversity governance and related land-use decisions at regional and local level

Ecology and Society
Vol. 21, No. 2 (Jun 2016) (16 pages)

ABSTRACT:

” In 2013 the European Commission launched its new green infrastructure strategy to make another attempt to stop and possibly reverse the loss of biodiversity until 2020, by connecting habitats in the wider landscape. This means that conservation would go beyond current practices to include landscapes that are dominated by conventional agriculture, where biodiversity conservation plays a minor role at best. The green infrastructure strategy aims at bottom-up rather than top-down implementation, and suggests including local and regional stakeholders. Therefore, it is important to know which stakeholders influence land-use decisions concerning green infrastructure at the local and regional level. The research presented in this paper served to select stakeholders in preparation for a participatory scenario development process to analyze consequences of different implementation options of the European green infrastructure strategy. We used a mix of qualitative and quantitative social network analysis (SNA) methods to combine actors’ attributes, especially concerning their perceived influence, with structural and relational measures. Further, our analysis provides information on institutional backgrounds and governance settings for green infrastructure and agricultural policy. The investigation started with key informant interviews at the regional level in administrative units responsible for relevant policies and procedures such as regional planners, representatives of federal ministries, and continued at the local level with farmers and other members of the community. The analysis revealed the importance of information flows and regulations but also of social pressure, considerably influencing biodiversity governance with respect to green infrastructure and biodiversity.”

Talk to the Emir to save new-born chilrden

If you want to protect new-born babies from dying of preventable cause, who do you talk to? The Ministry of Health, right? Because it is their mandate. And their expertise. And they get the funding to do it. Well, do they?

Nigeria has the highest number of maternal and newborn deaths of all African countries, with 33,000 women dying during pregnancy and childbirth every year and 251,000 babies dying in their first month of life – often due to preventable and treatable causes. Katsina State in the North is one of the states where the situation is especially dire, because on average people are poorer and because the state is mainly rural, so hospitals and health centers are few and far between.

My colleagues at Save the Children wondered: Is it really enough to speak to the Ministry of Health? In the past they had observed that making a good plan, submitting a solid budget is one thing, whether or not the funding actually gets released to the agencies is a completely different story. So they asked me to map out: “Who influences the budgeting and the release of funds for newborn survival activities in Katsina state?” I am lucky to have well trained Net-Mappers on the ground, Amina Yauri Mustapha and Haj. Amina Lawan interviewed a whole range of people in Katsina, and this is what we found out:

 

Katsina Save Children DisbursingKatsina Save Children Planning Budgeting

Links: Black - Hierarchy, Red - Funding, Actors: Yellow - Government, Red - Donors, NGOs, Projects, Grey - Others, size of actor - influence

Two completely different sets of actors influence making the plan on the one hand and disbursing the money on the other. The size of the dots indicates the influence of actors on the specific issue (on planning/budgeting in map 1 and on disbursing in map 2). As you can see on the second map, the governor, executive council and political associates of the governor have a stronger influence than the Ministry of Health. And the Ministrie’s influence is on par with that of the governor’s wife. And even the Emir (here called “religious leaders”) has far more influence on the disbursement of funds than the front line health providers – the people who do the job (State Primary Health Care Development Agency – SPHealthDevA and Health Services Management Board – HealthSMBoard).

What does this mean for a successful advocacy strategy aimed at getting the money to implementing agencies? Read the full case study here (1845 KB).

All you ever wanted to know about Agricultural Innovation Systems

Agricultural Innovation by connecting farmers to the world... (copyright by IICD on flickr, SEND Westafrica Program http://www.sendwestafrica.org/west/index.php)

It arrived on my desk yesterday and the paper version is heavy enough that you might use it as a weapon: 1.52 kg (or 657 pages) of looking at Agricultural Innovation Systems from all directions: Examples from the field (from Peru to India), methods for supporting, understanding and researching agricultural innovation from practical and academic perspectives. As the introduction states:

“Although the sourcebook discusses why investments in AIS are becoming more important, it gives its most attention to how specific approaches and practices can foster innovation in a range of contexts. Operationalizing an AIS approach requires a significant effort to collect and synthezise the diverse experiences with AISs.”

“For innovation to occur, interactions among these diverse stakeholders need to be open and to draw upon the most appropriate available knowledge. Aside from a strong capacity in R&D, the ability to innovate is often related to collective action, coordination, the exchange of knowledge among diverse actors, the incentives and resources available to form partnerships and develop businesses, and the conditions that make it possible for farmers or entrepreneurs to use the innovations.”

As you can see, a lot of agricultural innovation relies on the structure and content of multiplex, complex networks. This is why Net-Map is a natural fit for people who want to understand, monitor and support the development of viable agricultural innovation systems.

Agricultural Innovation Systems, an Investment Sourcebook, Part 1 and Part 2.

In case you are not intending to read it back to back… The use of Net-Map to understand Agricultural Innovation Systems is described on pages 593-597 in Part 2.

My office in the New York Times

I think I told you that I work at one of the greatest, most happening offices you could imagine, we are the people who don’t hate Mondays. Because we all own ourselves. And most of us own our own companies. Here is how it looks and how it fits into the budding entreprenneurial scene of DC.

New IFPRI Discussion Paper on Net-Map!

If you want to read about the case of the White Volta Basin Board in Ghana in more detail and have a more research oriented view of Net-Map, check out our new discussion paper: “Tracing Power and Influence in Networks; Net-Map as a Tool for Research and Strategic Network Planning” (by Eva Schiffer and Douglas Waale)