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