A love match, a resource match, a good match? Cent, Joanna Mertens, Cordula Niedzialkowski, Krzysztof Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften, Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik
A love match, a resource match, a good match?
Comparison of the role of NGOs in Natura 2000 implementation in Poland and Hungary ; influence, outcomes and future prospects for Natura 2000 maintenance
Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften, Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik
Policy networks; advocacy coalitions; Natura 2000; NGOs; Poland; Hungary; biodiversity
320 Political science
With their accession to the EU in 2004, Poland and Hungary had to implement the Natura
2000 programme for biodiversity protection. In both countries NGOs have been active
throughout the implementation process. Forms and outcomes of NGO involvement, however,
differed. Hungarian NGOs were very influential during the site designation phase, working
closely with the governmental authorities and contributing considerably to the country’s site
proposal. In Poland, the form of NGO’s involvement changed from opposition towards the
government (publication of a Natura 2000 shadow list) to close cooperation with public
institutions, resulting in a significant expansion of site designations.
This paper analyses the role and impact of NGOs on Natura 2000 implementation in Poland
and Hungary and seeks explanation for the observed differences with reference to the
theoretical background of policy networks and advocacy coalitions. The qualitative data used
for the study is based on in-depth interviews with NGOs representatives and officials of
public institutions engaged in Natura 2000 implementation.
The comparison shows that the existing architecture of the sector of biodiversity governance
is decisive for NGO activities and determines their role and impact. In the European multilevel
governance setting new formal and informal opportunities were given to NGOs. In both
countries NGOs became stronger during the Natura 2000 process. We argue that this was a
result of the establishment of multi-level policy networks between the European Commission,
NGOs and public institutions, based on resource dependencies. These networks were
powerful enough to overcome dominating policy patterns in both countries. The differences
found between Hungary and Poland could be explained by different discoursive positions of
the responsible ministries. The change of government in Poland in 2007 shifted the discourse
towards supporting conservation, which enabled the formation of an advocacy coalition
between the government and NGOs.
If your browser can't open the file, please download the file first and then open it