2. Good Governance – Reflecting norms, principles, and values

Good governance is the extent to which governance arrangements and processes reflect internationally accepted norms, principles, and values.

Good governance is the extent to which governance arrangements and processes reflect internationally accepted norms, principles, and values.

2.1 Governance definition

There are numerous definitions of “governance” in relation to marine resource and LME management. In the context of this toolkit, governance is defined as:

“The public and private interactions undertaken to address challenges and create opportunities within society. Governance thus includes the development and application of the principles, rules, norms, and enabling institutions that guide public and private interactions.” (Armitage et al, 2008)

Governance and management are related and often confused. It is important to understand the distinction between these two terms. While governance is the strategic task of setting goals, directions, limitations, and frameworks, and determines the ‘what’, management is the part of governance visible through allocation of resources and overseeing day-to-day operations, and it determines the ‘how’. Governance involves all ocean management decisions based on shared information, on consultation with stakeholders, and on participatory planning processes and different regional scales. It is also based within a setting of national and international institutional arrangements.

2.1.1 Tool: LME Governance Framework

An LME Governance Framework was developed in the Caribbean to help managers and stakeholders better understand and assess transboundary governance arrangements and address weaknesses. It is based on linked policy cycles operating at multiple levels: local, national, regional and global; (Figure 2.1.) and emphasizes the governance structure, processes, and interactions needed for good governance.

The Framework draws upon concepts such as scale, nesting of institutions, how institutions fit (or don’t) within ecosystems, interplay of organizations, adaptive capacity, resilience and network governance. The Framework also recognizes that day-to-day management, planning and policy processes may take place at different geographical scales and organizational levels, requiring both horizontal and vertical linkages to be effective.

LME Governance framework

Figure 2.1 The graphical representation of the LME Governance Framework showing (left) the need for process at multiple levels, lateral and vertical linkages among them, and (right) the stages of the policy process that are required for effective governance at each level (Fanning et al, 2007)

2.1.2 Tool: Evaluating Principles of Good Governance

This tool can be used to evaluate stakeholder perceptions of the extent to which key principles are reflected in the governance arrangements and processes for a particular issue.

Groups of stakeholders can be surveyed by asking them to score the statements (on a scale of 1-4) associated with key principles according to the extent to which the statement is considered to apply (Table 2.1).

Table 2.1: Principles assessed and statements used to evaluate them (Source : Mahon and Philips,2012)




The persons/agencies responsible for the governance processes can be held responsible for their action/inaction


The process has ways of learning from its experiences and changing what it does


Under normal conditions, this process seems like the right one for what it is trying to achieve


The human and financial resources needed for the process meet its responsibility are available.


This process should succeed in leading to sustainable use of ecosystem resources and/or control harmful practices


This process makes good use of the money, time and human resources available and does not waste them.


Benefits and burdens that arise from this process are shared fairly, but not necessarily equally, among stakeholders


All those who will be affected by this process also have a say in how it works and are not excluded for any reason.


This process is well connected and coordinated with other related processes.


The majority of people affected by this process see it as correct and support it, including the authority of leaders


The people involved in this process are accepted by all as being able to speak on behalf of the groups they represent


When circumstances change this process can respond to the changes in what most think is a reasonable period of time


The way that this process works and its outcomes are clearly known to stakeholders through information sharing

stakeholders in the North Brazil Shelf LME

Figure 2.1.2. Desirable principles of governance processes as expressed by stakeholders in the North Brazil Shelf LME (Source : Mahon and Philips,2012)

In the Guianas Brazil Shelf (North Brazil Shelf LME), three stakeholders categories (fishers, fisheries scientists, fisheries department heads) assessed the extent to which desired principles are represented in the governance process of transboundary shrimp and groundfish fisheries in the LME (Figure 2.2), based on agreement with presence of principles (1 =disagree strongly, 2 = disagree, 3 = agree, 4= agree strongly) (Mahon and Phillips 2012).

2.2 Values and Ethics

A fundamental requirement for LME governance is ensuring that ethical principles are reflected in institutions and daily practice. This includes preventing, identifying and holding individuals accountable for conflicts of interest, fraud, waste, and abuse. Ethical considerations must be transparent and systematic to avoid subjective bias. Formalized ethical frameworks and practical ethics assessment tools, such as the ethical matrix, can support ocean policy by enhancing trust, making values and policy trade-offs explicit, and allowing for multi-level governance (local, national, regional, and global) comparison and mutual learning (see Tool below, adapted from Kaiser, 2005). A version of the matrix is shown below (Table 2.2). It can be adapted to address a range of different issues in marine resource management. Each cell specifies the main criterion that would be met if a particular principle (e.g. justice) were respected for a particular interest group (e.g. marine resource-dependent communities).

Table 2.2 : Ethical matrix for marine resource-dependent communities


Well Being
(Health and Welfare)

(Freedom and Choice)


Marine Resource-Dependent Communities

Income, working
conditions and job

Freedom of action

Availability of marine
resources for food,
livelihoods and trade

Citizens (across LME)

Well-being; Social and economic health

Democratic, informed choice

Access to ecosystem
services provided by
marine resources

The Living Environment

Conservation and

Maintenance of Biodiversity

Respect for sustainability

Diverse and conflicting values of different ocean stakeholders must be expressed, balanced and (ideally) reconciled through open and transparent stakeholder engagement processes if effective engagement in decision-making is to be achieved.

2.3 Stakeholder engagement

Stakeholder engagement includes a variety of practices to ensure involvement of the public and specific interest groups in public decisions and implementation. It is an essential component of good LME governance by promoting the principles of transparency, inclusivity, accountability, and fairness. It is expected to contribute to effective governance as policies and practices developed with stakeholder input are more likely to be adopted and fulfil their goals.

Stakeholder engagement is a process. A ladder of engagement (Figure 2.3) is a framework designed to build engagement. The process works by getting stakeholders to contribute through increasingly important actions that contribute to the realization of the stated goal (Figure 2.4).

he ladder of engagement

Figure 2.3: The ladder of engagement.

A specific Stakeholder Participation in Environmental Policy Toolkit has been developed through

Stakeholder Engagement

Figure 2.4: Stakeholder Engagement (https://www.iwlearn.net/documents/28610)

2.3.1 Tool: Facilitating Collaborative Public Decisions

Collaborative decision-making has been developed as a way to reconcile conflicting interests and deal with complex technical information that can otherwise lead to impasse. Transboundary approaches require collaborative approaches to be accepted. Collaborative approaches bring together affected people and organizations to work through the scientific and values-based dimensions of a decision, in order to build understanding, generate creative solutions and foster buy-in. At times, these approaches have produced durable agreements that solve underlying problems so the same decisions do not have to be revisited. Using examples from the California Marine Life Protection Act process to develop regional MPA networks, the facilitating collaborative public decisions tool can help you understand real-world public decision making processes. Using multimedia examples, the tool enables you to explore strategies for facilitating the different stages of collaborative decision making.


2.3.2 Example: Caribbean Fisherfolk

The Strengthening Caribbean Fisherfolk to Participate in Governance project, aimed to improve the contribution of the small-scale fisheries sector to food security in the Caribbean, through building the capacity of regional and national fisherfolk organisation networks to participate in governance. The project focused on identifying capacity gaps and solutions to help develop the skills needed for effective leadership and governance in the fisheries sector. This example demonstrates how effective stakeholder engagement can strengthen sustainability in a regional sector.

Read more: http://www.canari.org/strengthening-caribbean-fisherfolk-to-participate-in-governance

2.4 Sustainable financing

Global Environment Facility (GEF) funding, which has supported ocean governance arrangements at regional and global scales is limited in time and by the financial resources available. Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) process should include resource valuation, also looking at goods and services the ecosystems provide. While these exercises may be supported with regional funding for research and/or development, the Strategic Action Programme (SAP) process needs feasible plans for the long-term financing of critical activities, based either on taxation or direct user charges (read more about TDA/SAP methodology on the website of the International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network). International resource management needs to be agreed upon, including funds for monitoring, assessment, enforcement, and administration of management programmes. Such financial plans help to determine the funding requirements and to identify income sources for each of the needs. Usually, funding arrangements, especially those long-term ones safeguarding flows in a sustainable fashion, require considerable amounts of time and effort to establish.

The guidelines of the World Commission on Protected Areas (Emerton et al., 2006) provide an excellent set of principles and procedures for developing plans for sustainable financing. Although the WCPA focuses on financing planning for protected area management, the guidelines can be readily adapted to LME programs. The guidelines prescribe three operational principles, adapted to LMEs:

Develop financial plans within the full context of LME management plans and its legal framework;

Adopt a business approach to financing LME programs, including identifying specific consumers (beneficiaries) of LME resources and management programs, and determine methods for capturing appropriate remuneration from those consumers; and

Link public revenue streams to public goods, and link private revenue streams to local public, and private goods.

These guidelines may encourage program managers to investigate a wide range of financing options, to diversify their portfolios of revenue sources, and explain how to identify and classify benefits from environmental and natural resources, and how to link the consumers/beneficiaries with each form of the benefits.

2.4.1 Economic methods

An array of economic methods can inform governance at any scale, including applications for LMEs. Economic methods can provide information to improve decision making; communicate the value of marine resources and benefits of management; and enable comparison of all impacts (costs and benefits) in decision making. A Toolkit on Environmental Economics for Marine Ecosystem Management (2018) has been specifically developed for LME practitioners. It provides an introduction to economic concepts relevant to LME management, as well as non-technical explanations of environmental economic methods, including applications, strengths and weaknesses of methods; links to additional available resources. It also provides illustrative applications in an LME context.