At the RGS-IBG annual international conference at Imperial College London, this week, I presented a paper in a session on Governing Adaptation (abstract below). The paper sought to examine recent practices of adaptive coastal governance at the Wadden Sea Coast of Germany. The paper draws on research interviews conducted by the author in February of this year. The research will feed into my larger DFG project on Wadden Sea coastal management, due to formally kick-off later this month.
The federal state of Schleswig-Holstein has recently published a strategy to guide coastal management and nature protection at the Wadden Sea coast for the period up to 2100. In the context of climate change adaptation, a space has opened up for a common strategy; jointly prepared and claimed by stakeholders in both coastal protection and nature protection. This multi-stakeholder approach has emerged against the background of a governance landscape hitherto characterised by vertically-integrated sectoral governance and a history of antagonistic relations between actors in coastal and nature protection. This paper critically examines the extent to which the Wadden Sea 2100 strategy represents a transformative paradigm shift towards adaptive multi-stakeholder coastal governance. The analysis, drawing on qualitative interviews with key participants, will focus in particular on the interaction of diverse knowledge frames, institutional rationalities and understandings of nature-culture relations in the strategy-making process.