Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Resource Economics

Habilitation of Dr. Ilona M. Otto-Banaszak

From Government to Governance: Problems and Tensions in Transition to Polycentric Governance of Natural Resources

Start: 05/2011

End: 12/2014

The aim of my work is to identify and analyze challenges which the transition to polycentricism poses on natural resource users and political decision-makers. Common problems of re-scaling governance systems are related to questions such as which coordination and appropriation mechanisms dominate, which conflict resolution mechanism are in place, who are the winners and losers of the changes, and how the emerging new governance systems affect the quality of the environment. Non-state actors are progressively more involved in management of protected areas and other natural resources such as water and biodiversity what oftentimes improves monitoring of the resources. Nevertheless, the process is frequently accompanied by societal conflicts and protests. A real and most direct result of the governance changes is shifting power and resources. This includes the dissatisfaction of traditionally empowered actors as well as problems with elaborating monitoring and sanctioning standards for the newly emerging powers and procedures. I am in particular interested in the process of transition to polycentric governance in the areas of biodiversity and climate change.

Researcher: Dr. Ilona M. Otto-Banaszak

Cooperation Partner: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Konrad Hagedorn, Dr. Frank Wechsung

Funding: Partially supported by the “Sustainable Water and Agricultural Land Use in the Guanting Watershed under Limited Water Resources” Project (Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research- BMBF).

Project Website:

The Guanting Project

Publications and Presentations: 

Otto-Banaszak, I., Matczak, P., Wesseler, J., Wechsung, F. Different Perceptions of Adaptation to Climate Change: A Mental Model Approach Applied to the Evidence from Expert Interviews, in press: Regional Environmental Change

Otto, I.M., Shkaruba, A., Kireyeu, V., (2011). The Rise of Multi-Level Governance for Biodiversity Protection in Belarus, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 29(1): 113 – 132

Aakre, S., Banaszak, I., Kalirai, H., Mechler, R., Rübbelke, D., Wreford, A. (2010). Adaptation to Disaster Risk in the EU: Improving the Role of the Public Sector, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 15(7): 721-736

McEvoy, D., Matczak, P. Banaszak, I., Chorynski, A.(2010). Framing Adaptation to Climate-Related Extreme Events, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 15(7): 779-795

Kluvankova-Oravska, T., Chobotova, V., Banaszak, I., Trifunovova, S., Slavikova, L. (2009). From Government to Governance for Biodiversity: The Perspective of Central and East-European Transition Countries, Environmental Policy and Governance, Vol. 19: 187-196