Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Resource Economics

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Thaer-Institute | Resource Economics | Anastasia Gotgelf - Information governance for sustainable development ... Article in "Environmental Science and Policy"

Anastasia Gotgelf - Information governance for sustainable development ... Article in "Environmental Science and Policy"

Gotgelf, A. (2022) Information governance for sustainable development: Exploring social dilemmas in data provision for international reporting on Land Degradation Neutrality, Environmental Science & Policy 135: 128-136


  • The institutional context is important for ensuring effective data provision.
  • Tensions between private and collective interests shape information governance.
  • Information is often valued as economic resource or a source of political power.
  • Perceptions of the benefits and risks of data sharing affect actors’ cooperation.
  • Achieving LDN targets relies on a coordinated approach and political commitment.



In 2015, the United Nations (UN) adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sub-goal 15.3 aims to achieve "Land Degradation Neutrality" (LDN) by 2030 through the efforts of UN member states. Countries committed to LDN are encouraged to report on progress to the UN by tracking three globally recognized indicators: land cover, land productivity, and soil organic carbon stocks. This requires the adoption of a methodology for accurately assessing land degradation and the availability of mechanisms for collecting and reporting the data. In Kyrgyzstan, the first LDN report identified a serious gap in national carbon stock data and a lack of standard procedures for monitoring and reporting on all three LDN indicators. Recent efforts to develop scientifically sound methods for assessing soil organic carbon stocks and calculating the other two indicators based on available national datasets could help address these deficiencies. However, to be effective, methodological advances need to be embedded in a suitable institutional architecture. Based on semi-structured interviews with local experts, this study shows how the institutional context within which information users and producers interact affects the provision of environmental data required by international agreements. Drawing on the knowledge commons framework, this paper identifies and describes three social dilemmas at the root of tensions in information governance that affect LDN reporting in the Kyrgyz context. The study also identifies opportunities for learning and improvement and highlights key issues that are relevant beyond the LDN context and could contribute to enhancing monitoring and reporting on environmental dimensions of other SDGs.