Sissel Hovik

Oslo and Akershus University of Applied Sciences
Public Administration and Leadership

PO Box 4 St.Olavs plass

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Implementation of Environmental policy and Natural Resource policy in a multi-level governance context. How network management and collaborative leadership performance and effects are influenced by policy characteristics and institutional context. Citizen / stakeholder participation in environmental policy and nature resource management.

Hovik, Sissel, Camilla Sandström and Anna Zachrisson. 2010. “Management of Protected Areas in Norway and Sweden: Challenges in Combining Central Governance and Local Participation”. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning Vol. 12: 159-177
Abstract: Neither Norway nor Sweden has fulfilled international commitments to the principles of direct public involvement in nature conservation, which involve (we believe) the state adopting an ‘enabling’ role, mobilizing governance resources to support decentralized decision-making while retaining powers to intervene when necessary to defend important minority interests or support international objectives. We analyse four attempts to establish nature conservation areas with substantial levels of direct public involvement in the two countries and argue that in each case, flaws in the setting of the areas’ boundaries, the framework for participation and conflict resolution mechanisms have undermined public involvement. Hence, there is a need to design more effective, enabling rules to encourage local actor involvement in nature conservation and resolve any political issues that arise as a consequence of such involvement, before the international commitments can be fulfilled.
DOI: DOI: 10.1080/15239081003719219
Hongslo, Eirin, Sissel Hovik, Aase Kristine Aasen Lundberg and Anna Zachrisson. 2015. "Decentralization of Conservation Management in Norway and Sweden Different translations of an international trend." Society & Natural Resources Vol 29(8): 998-1014.
Abstract: International policy trends are always transformed and translated to fit the political and administrative systems in which they are introduced. An international trend of decentralization has resulted in conservation management systems in Sweden and Norway that differ, both in the choice of institutional solution and in the scope of change. This is surprising, as conservation management in the two countries was originally very similar. Nature conservation was managed through hierarchical systems dominated by bureaucratic experts. While Sweden has introduced co-management in a few protected areas only, Norway has devolved powers in all large conservation areas to intermunicipal management boards. Through document studies, we investigate how decentralization interacts with the broader systems of political actors and institutions of which nature conservation is a part.
DOI: DOI:10.1080/08941920.2015.1086456
Hovik, Sissel, Jon Naustdalslid, Marit Reitan and Tone Mutanna. 2015. “Adaptation to climate change: professional networks and reinforcing institutional environments.” Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy Vol. 33 (1): 104-117.
Abstract: The paper studies processes of adaptation to a changing climate in the water supply and waste water sector in five Norwegian municipalities. Our case illustrates that the combination of characteristics of climate adaptation as a policy issue, institutional characteristics related to the vertical organization of the water sector in Norway and characteristics of the professional network between local and national levels of governance seem to have been conducive to problem awareness and proactive approaches to problem-solving. Our findings contradict the general picture drawn in the literature concluding that adaptation efforts are mainly reactive and internally related to the sector. We identify important mechanisms related to the production of policy solutions in governance networks mediating knowledge between different institutional levels. By these observations, the paper should contribute to the debate about the working of governance networks, and in particular to the knowledge about factors that are conducive to effective network governance.
DOI: doi: 10.1068/c1230h
Hovik, Sissel and Eirin Hongslo. 2016. “Balancing Local Interests and National Conservation Obligations in Nature Protection. The Case of Local Management Boards in Norway”. Paper accepted for publication in Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. Vol 60 (4): 708-724.
Abstract: In 2010 Norway introduced local management of national parks and other large protected areas. Boards comprised of local politicians are delegated extended powers in the management of the protected areas. This paper examines how this system of local management deals with the conflicting dimensions of local interests versus national obligations and conservation versus use. The study is based on data from surveys to protected area board members and other actors involved, and on case studies in two protected area. The main finding is that the boards, accountable to central government but comprised by politicians accountable to the local voters, aim to balance local interests and national obligations, and conservation and use. Popular involvement and anchorage is, however, weak, due to lack of mobilization and transparency. Furthermore, formal restrictions hindering the boards to deal with local economic development could make the boards less attractive for the local political leadership.
Hovik, Sissel and Gro Sandkjær Hanssen. 2016. “The EU Water Framework Directive: Political Anchorage of Complex Multi-level Water Governance Networks in Norway.” Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning. Vol 18 (4): 535-555
Abstract: To handle the challenge of complex cross-sector and multi-level coordination in the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive, Norway has established multi-level governance networks. Observers have pointed to a risk of such governance arrangements being dominated by experts. This article studies the highly complex multi-level governance networks of water management in Norway, and unveils the importance of political anchorage of such governance networks at local and regional levels. The study finds evidence that political anchorage matters for further network achievements. Because the water governance networks are subordinated to the hierarchy of government, they need to “talk to” the system of hierarchical government in order to be effective. In this regard it seems crucial that networks are politically anchored. Furthermore, the study unveils the important role of political leadership and network managers in ensuring political anchorage.
Hovik, Sissel and Gro Sandkjær Hanssen. 2015 "The impact of network management and complexity on multi-level coordination." Public Administration. Vol 93 (2): 506-523.
Abstract: In order to meet the challenges of an increasingly fragmented public sector and severe wicked problems, network structures has become an important part of contemporary public administration. Thus, managing networks is a central concern for public managers. The article focuses on networks being established in Norway in accordance with the EU Water Framework Directive. The mandatory networks are comprised with actors representing different levels of government and several policy sectors, having highly asymmetric interests, interdependencies and power-relations. Based on a comprehensive survey material, the article illuminates how the important role of network management on multi-level coordination is conditioned by complexity. Rather surprisingly, the more complex networks score better on coordination, and the most promising management strategy seems to depend upon institutional complexity. Direct and connecting strategies seems to be required in the most complex settings, while in less complex settings, indirect facilitative strategies are more effective to achieve coordination.
DOI: doi: 10.1111/padm.12135

Substantive Focus:
Energy and Natural Resource Policy
Environmental Policy SECONDARY
Governance PRIMARY
Urban Public Policy

Theoretical Focus:
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation PRIMARY