chapter  6
13 Pages

How values, traditions and geography shape the feasibility of governance approaches

WithLouis Meuleman

This chapter explores how external factors such as values, traditions and geography influence which governance approach is feasible in a certain situation. The cultural dimension of governance should be understood in order to prevent the pitfalls of ‘best practices’ and ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions to sustainability challenges. Another pitfall is that each governance style (hierarchical, network or market governance) may be seen, by different actors, as a panacea: the logic of hierarchy is coherent and supported by a set of values which is common in many countries. Other countries believe in the benefits of network or market governance. The chapter introduces two often-used models to analyse national cultures and discusses the important question about the universality of values like human rights and rule of law. After a short excursion on political cultures and the impact of geography, it is concluded that values and traditions, political cultures and geography can help explain which governance approach works well in a certain situation and why. Cultural diversity is an opportunity and not a burden for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, because it connects the SDGs to people’s beliefs/values, and it creates a broader set of possible solutions.