Sustainable development and the ‘governance challenge’: the French experience with Natura 2000

Darren McCauley

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    29 Citations (Scopus)


    Sustainable development is conceptualized in this paper as a serious challenge for governance structures and processes in nation states. Global and European agreements have placed the inclusion of civil society actors in policy-making at the heart of the sustainability agenda. This commitment is particularly evident in the Commission's White Paper on Governance and the EU Sustainable Development Strategy. From this perspective, the European Commission has consistently underlined the integral role of dialogue with social partners in any sustainability agenda. In contrast, there is a clear mismatch between these principles of civil society inclusion and policy-making in France. Long-standing traditions of meso-corporatism have struggled to adapt to extending participation to civil society actors. This paper assesses the implementation of sustainable development as civil society inclusion with reference to the French experience in dealing with EU biodiversity policy. It is argued that this governance challenge has effectively presented nation states with an ‘interpretation dilemma’ with regards to sustainable development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)152-167
    JournalEuropean Environment
    Issue number3
    Early online date13 Jun 2008
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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