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Institutional entrepeneurship and techniques of inclusiveness in the creation of the intergovernmental platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services

Abstract : This article contributes to understanding the conditions of social-ecological change by focusing on the agency of individuals in the pathways to institutionalization. Drawing on the case of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), it addresses institutional entrepreneurship in an emerging environmental science-policy institution (ESPI) at a global scale. Drawing on ethnographic observations, semistructured interviews, and document analysis, we propose a detailed chronology of the genesis of the IPBES before focusing on the final phase of the negotiations toward the creation of the institution. We analyze the techniques and skills deployed by the chairman during the conference to handle the tensions at play both to prevent participants from deserting the negotiations arena and to prevent a lack of inclusiveness from discrediting the future institution. We stress that creating a new global environmental institution requires the situated exercise of an art of “having everybody on board” through techniques of inclusiveness that we characterize. Our results emphazise the major challenge of handling the fragmentation and plasticity of the groups of interest involved in the institutionalization process, thus adding to the theory of transformative agency of institutional entrepreneurs. Although inclusiveness might remain partly unattainable, such techniques of inclusiveness appear to be a major condition of the legitimacy and success of the institutionalization of a new global ESPI. Our results also add to the literature on boundary making within ESPIs by emphasizing the multiplicity and plasticity of the groups actually at stake.
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Isabelle Arpin, Marc Barbier, Guillaume Ollivier, Céline Granjou. Institutional entrepeneurship and techniques of inclusiveness in the creation of the intergovernmental platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Ecology and Society, Resilience Alliance, 2016, 21 (4), 11 p. ⟨10.5751/ES-08644-210411⟩. ⟨hal-02633182⟩

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