Conceptual Developments & Capacity Building in Environmental Networks: towards Public-Private-Academic Partnerships for Sustainable Development

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandlingForskning

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Med bevægelsen væk fra 70ernes og 80ernes reguleringsmekanismer præget af tilsyn, kontrol og påbud, over renere teknologi og selv-regulering i 90erne, er det nye årtusinde karakteriseret ved en partnerskabstankegang og brug af netværk som mekanisme til at fremme grønne markeder og en miljøvenlig privatsektor. Fortrinsvist siden Rio Topmødet i 1992 har virksomheder i stadig højere grad efterspurgt og deltaget i partnerskaber med offentlige parter, herunder regeringer, internationale organisationer og NGO’er; partnerskaber, der har til formål at medvirke til aktiviteter til sikring af en bæredygtig udvikling. Partnerskaber er blevet mere fremherskende i takt med at virksomheder reagerer på et stadigt stigende pres fra forskellige interessenter, herunder civilsamfundet, nationale og lokale myndigheder, i forhold til ansvarligheden af deres handlinger. Såkaldte grønne netværk, renere teknologi centre og affaldsminimerings-klubber er nogle af de fremhævede alternative tilgange til traditionel myndighedsregulering. Mens disse alternativer bliver udnævnt som mulige løsninger for myndighederne i det globale Syd til at rette op på manglende miljølovgivning, tilsyn og kontrol, er det rent faktisk sådan, at de fleste eksempler på sådanne partnerskaber stammer fra lande i det globale Nord.

Et af de mest succesrige offentlige-private partnerskaber i Danmark er Green Network beliggende i det tidligere Vejle Amt. I dette initiativ, der blev startet af de lokale myndigheder og erhvervslivet i amtet, er der i dag mere end 280 aktive partnere, dækkende såvel den offentlige som den private sektor, dvs. lokale virksomheder, offentlige institutioner og myndigheder. Netværket startede i 1994 og har siden da vokset i både omfang, indsats og vigtighed. Helt fundamentalt er dets formål at udvikle, afprøve og indføre nye former for samarbejde mellem de offentlige myndigheder og de private virksomheder. Til at starte på var redskabet til dette en frivillig miljøredegørelse (Grønt Regnskab), som især virksomhederne kunne gøre brug af. Som tiden er gået er der dog generelt kommet et både større og bredere dækkende pres på de offentlige institutioner og myndigheder såvel som virksomheder, og der stilles stigende krav til, hvad samfundsmæssigt ansvar dækker over. I takt hermed har både værktøjer og metoder – og deres brug – udviklet sig. Dette gælder i netværket såvel som i samfundet i bredere forstand.

Selvom sådanne typer netværk kan anses for relativt succesfulde i en Nord kontekst, er ukritisk donorfinansieret overførsel af disse koncepter til Syd kontekster ofte mundet ud i i skuffende resultater. Det er nødvendigt at diskutere og være opmærksom på nøgleelementer i det institutionelle landskab og på institutionelle bæreres vigtighed for succesen af grønne netværk i Syd.

Med reference til tidligere igangværende initiativer i Thailand, herunder specielt netværket Cleaner Production for Industrial Efficiency, samt den føromtalte succesfulde case Green Network her i Danmark, er det dette ph.d. projekts formål at undersøge og vurdere disse initiativer, diskutere dem i relation til en institutionel og interessent tilgang (til partnerskaber) og foreslå hvorledes de forskellige erfaringer kan forstås og relateres i forhold til et bistandsperspektiv.

Der er dog en tostrenget tilgang til dette. På den ene side universitetets-samarbejder, som er den verden, jeg personligt befinder mig i, og på den anden en betoning af, at den private sektor så småt er ved at acceptere en bredere (end snævert økonomisk) funderet rolle i samfundet, herunder også en stigende tendens omkring partnerskaber og virksomhedernes medvirken heri. Dette sidste har ledt mange til at stille sig spørgende overfor, hvilke faktorer, der reelt motiverer virksomheder til at efterspørge og forfølge partnerskaber. Disse underliggende kræfter kan indeholde legitimitets-behov såvel som interessent-pres.

Det er dog sådan, at med det konstante flow af opskrifter, standarder, regler osv., som virksomheder præsenteres for, afhænger deres overlevelse af evnerne til at kunne overskue dette flow, optage og indlejre relevante systemer og procedurer, og skille sig af med de unyttige eller de, der er eller bliver overflødige. Denne egenskab kalder Røvik (1998) ”multi-standard organisationen”, og han identificerer den ved fem fundamentale kapaciteter:

• Høj absorptions kapacitet
• En dekoblingskapacitet af de ‘opskrifter’, der ikke passer ind i virksomhedens kernefelt eller med andre ’opskrifter’
• En kapacitet til at kunne oversætte nye ’opskrifter’ hurtigt og effektivt
• En afkoblingskapacitet, så brugen af ’opskrifter’, der ikke længere er nyttige, kan stoppes, og
• En lagrings- og reaktiveringskapacitet, så engang nyttige opskrifter hurtigt kan gendannes og bruges påny.

En undersøgelse af Green Network viser at disse fem kendetegn, som er skitseret i Røvik’s teorier, faktisk alle er tilstede i netværket. Green Network har udvist en forbløffende evne til at følge med i udviklingerne i relation til ideerne om økologisk modernisering og bæredygtig udvikling. De har i relation hertil kunnet følge trit med alle de vigtige udviklinger de seneste 15 år, optaget hvad de har fundet vigtigt og kasseret det, de ikke har fundet passende i forhold til deres egen visioner og programmer. De resulterende værktøjer, manualer og måder hvorpå viden udbredes er alle en refleksion af den særlige Green Network måde at gøre tingene på, det vil sige gør det ikke sværere end det er, samarbejd og del jeres viden med hinanden.

Konklusionen er, at gennem dialog, refleksivitet og etableringen af en fremmende frem for begrænsende kontekst, kan offentlige private partnerskaber blive et ganske brugbart element i samfundets indsats for en bæredygtig udvikling.

I relation til den thailandske kontekst må det siges, at de umiddelbare succeser med at indføre renere teknologier gennem en netværksbaseret tilgang er blevet afløst af frustrationer om endnu et bistandsdrevet projekt, der viste sig ubæredygtigt og kun korttids-holdbar.

Det er på dette punkt, universiteternes rolle som centrale elementer i udvikling og innovation – ’universities as development hubs’ – finder sin anvendelse. Gennem universitetskonsortier og -netværk er kapacitetsopbygning indenfor miljø og udvikling blevet indført og afprøvet gennem de seneste 10 år. Universiteter fra Afrika (Botswana og Sydafrika), Asien, (Malaysia og Thailand), Mellemamerika (Costa Rica, El Salvador og Nicaragua) og Europa (Danmark) har samarbejdet med studerende og forskere. Til at begynde med fokuserede nogle programmer på forskning og andre på uddannelse, men over tid er resultatet en kombination af højere uddannelse og forskning, der synes at være mere effektiv og relevant. Samarbejder med partnere både indenfor det offentlig og det private er blevet etableret og har vist sig succesrigt og til fælles gavn.

Aktiviteterne i disse konsortier har indebåret udvikling af nye studier (herunder i flere tilfælde også et paradigme skifte til problem-orienteret og projekt-baseret læring), lærer- og studenter-udveksling, fælles forskningsprojekter og fælles udviklingskonferencer. Resultaterne har været lovende, ikke mindst i relation til de konkrete typer af aktiviteter, der er foregået, men også samlet set, hvor de i fællesskab bidrager til en overordnet kapacitetsopbygning indenfor højere uddannelse og til forbedrede udviklingsmuligheder og miljøforhold.

En styrkelse af højere uddannelse anses for at være en forudsætning for økonomisk og demokratisk udvikling i alle lande, i- såvel som u-lande. Men, i særdeleshed i udviklingslande er der behov for speciel støtte, for eksempel gennem international bistand til programmer for højere uddannelse, herunder forskning og innovation i samarbejde med andre forskningsinstitutioner såvel som med myndigheder og virksomheder.

Universiteter bør selvsagt spille en central rolle i sådanne globale anstrengelser for at styrke højere uddannelse. I samarbejde med eksterne partnere (eksempelvis private virksomheder, konsulenter, NGOer, og civilsamfundet generelt), lægges der her vægt på universiteternes rolle som nøgleaktører og formidlere af ny viden og læring, herunder udviklingsværktøjer som IKT og PBL; som formidlere af kompetente og motiverede kandidater, der kan indtræde i nøglepositioner i samfundet; og som uundværlige partnere i at skabe det innovative og selv-lærende samfund, som synes en nødvendighed for begrænse fattigdom og facilitere økonomisk og social fremgang.

Reelt operationaliserbare modeller er måske stadig mangelfulde, men “Public-Private-Academic Partnerships” foreslås her som et realiserbart løsningsforslag og som et koncept til yderligere undersøgelse og modifikation. Nogle af resultaterne og disses implikationer er præsenteret i denne afhandling, og flere er dokumenteret i referencerne. Ganske kort, universiteter, i tæt samarbejde med de øvrige af samfundets aktører, er helt nødvendige for opbygningen og vedligeholdelsen af innovative og bæredygtige samfund.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Udgivelses stedAalborg Universitet
ISBN (Trykt)87-91646-05-7
StatusUdgivet - 2008

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sustainable development
university
corporation
ability
education
learning
Denmark
Thailand
non-governmental organization
simple work
civil society
stakeholder
graduate
stakeholder approach
form of cooperation
international aid
El Salvador
organizational behavior
development aid
Central America

Citer dette

@phdthesis{dbcf8230dbeb11dda016000ea68e967b,
title = "Conceptual Developments & Capacity Building in Environmental Networks: towards Public-Private-Academic Partnerships for Sustainable Development",
abstract = "Moving from largely command and control measures in the 70s and 80s, through cleaner production and self-regulatory initiatives in the 90s, the emphasis in the new millennium is more on using networks and partnerships as levers for promoting a greening of industry. Predominantly since the 1992 Rio Summit, corporations have been increasingly pursuing these partnerships with public institutions including governments, international organizations and NGOs that aim to contribute to sustainable development activities. Partnerships have become more common as corporations react to mounting pressure from corporate stakeholders, civil society and government on the responsible nature of their business practices. So-called ‘Green Networks’, ‘Cleaner Production Centres’, ‘Waste Minimisation Clubs’ are among the highlighted alternatives to governmental regulation. While being promoted as an option for governments in the South to make up for lack of sufficient environmental legislation and enforcement, the majority of these examples, however, stem from countries in the North.In terms of public–private partnerships, one of the foremost Danish initiatives is the Green Network in the former county of Vejle. This initiative, initiated by local governments and businesses in the county, currently involves more than 280 partners from both the private and the public sectors (local companies, public bodies and local governments). The network started in 1994 and has grown in size and importance ever since. Fundamentally, it aims at providing new forms of co-operation between public authorities and private companies. The vehicle for this was initially a voluntary environmental statement by companies, who wished to be members. With the passing of time, however, the demands and pressures on both companies and public bodies have increased as has their innovativeness. Hence, the tools and means employed—outside as well as inside the network—have developed accordingly.Even though they are successful in a Northern context, uncritical transfer of such concepts to contexts in the South along with substantial, external donor funding have in many cases led to disappointing outcomes. It is necessary to discuss and be aware of key factors in the institutional set-up and the importance of institutional carriers for the potential success of Green Networks in the South.With reference to at that time ongoing initiatives in Thailand, especially the Cleaner Production for Industrial Efficiency (CPIE) network, and the successful case of Green Network in Denmark, this PhD project sets out to examine and assess these initiatives, discuss them based on an institutional and stakeholder approach (to partnerships) and suggest how the experiences can be understood in their own rights. Inherent in this is the context of development aid.The point of departure is, however, twofold. From one side, university collaborations and from the other a signification of a corporate awakening towards a broader role of business in society and the trend of corporations embracing partnerships. The latter has led many to question the driving factors that motivate corporations to pursue partnerships. Underlying drivers of corporate organizational behaviour include both legitimacy and stakeholder needs.However, with a constant flow of recipes or standards being the order of the day for modern companies and organisations, their survival also relate to their ability to cope with this flow, adopting relevant recipes from it and incorporating these into their organisation - and dispensing with them when they become outmoded. This ability is exhibited by what R{\o}vik (1998) calls the “multi-standard organisation”, and he identifies five fundamental capacities that define it:• High absorption capacity• The capacity to decouple recipes that do not fit in • The ability to translate new recipes in a quick and easy way • The ability to detach old or worn down institutions, and• The ability to preserve and reactivate older forms of institutional recipesAn evaluation of Green Network reveals that the five capacities outlined in R{\o}vik’s theory are all present. Green Network has exhibited a remarkable ability to keep up with trends in the development of the idea of ecological modernisation and sustainable development. They have been able to keep pace with all the important developments during the last almost fifteen years, absorbing what they find important and discarding aspects that do not fit into their vision and programmes. The resulting manuals, tools and ways of propagating knowledge all reflect the “Green Network way of doing things”, i.e. keep it simple, work together and share knowledge.The conclusion is that through dialogue, reflexivity and the establishment of an enabling environment, public–private partnerships can become useful vehicles in societies’ move towards sustainability.In relation to the Thai context, the initial successes of implementing cleaner production through the network approach have been substituted by frustrations of yet another aid-driven project that was unsustainable. This is the point where “universities as development hubs” enters the stage. Capacity-building in environment and development has been implemented and tested over the last decade through university and university consortia networking. Universities from Africa (Botswana and South Africa), Asia (Malaysia and Thailand), Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua) and Europe (Denmark) have collaborated with graduate students and faculty. Initially some programmes emphasised research and others higher education, but eventually a blend of research and higher education appeared to be more productive. Links to external partners in public and private business have been established and proved successful in terms of mutual benefits.Activities comprise evolution of new study curricula (including a shift of the learning paradigm to problem-based and project-organised learning), exchange of students and faculty, joint research and joint development conferences. The results have been promising in terms of concrete results within each type of activity and together they provide vital steps in capacity-building in tertiary education to the benefit of development and environment.Strengthening of tertiary education is assumed to be a prerequisite for economic and democratic development in all countries, be they industrialised, in transition or developing. However, particularly in transition and developing countries there is a need for special support, e.g. through international aid programmes to tertiary education, including research and innovation in an interplay with other research institutions, business and government. Universities should play a central role in such global efforts to strengthen tertiary education. In co-operation with external partners such as business, consultants, NGOs and civil society at large, universities as key agents and providers in new learning, including developing tools such as project-based and problem-oriented learning (PBL) as well as information and communication technology (ICT); as providers of competent and motivated graduates to fill key positions in society; and as indispensable partners in creating the innovative and auto-learning society necessary to curb poverty and facilitate prosperity is emphasised.Modes of operation are still deficient, but ‘‘Public-Private Academic Partnerships’ is suggested as a concept to study further and modify to needs. Some of the results and their implications are presented in this thesis and more are documented in the references that are cited. In short, universities, in joint action with business and society at large, are necessary for constructing and maintaining innovative and sustainable societies.",
keywords = "Sustainable Development, Environmental Management, Public-Private Partnerships, Institutional Theory, Stakeholder, Networks",
author = "Martin Lehmann",
year = "2008",
language = "English",
isbn = "87-91646-05-7",

}

Conceptual Developments & Capacity Building in Environmental Networks : towards Public-Private-Academic Partnerships for Sustainable Development. / Lehmann, Martin.

Aalborg Universitet, 2008.

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandlingForskning

TY - BOOK

T1 - Conceptual Developments & Capacity Building in Environmental Networks

T2 - towards Public-Private-Academic Partnerships for Sustainable Development

AU - Lehmann, Martin

PY - 2008

Y1 - 2008

N2 - Moving from largely command and control measures in the 70s and 80s, through cleaner production and self-regulatory initiatives in the 90s, the emphasis in the new millennium is more on using networks and partnerships as levers for promoting a greening of industry. Predominantly since the 1992 Rio Summit, corporations have been increasingly pursuing these partnerships with public institutions including governments, international organizations and NGOs that aim to contribute to sustainable development activities. Partnerships have become more common as corporations react to mounting pressure from corporate stakeholders, civil society and government on the responsible nature of their business practices. So-called ‘Green Networks’, ‘Cleaner Production Centres’, ‘Waste Minimisation Clubs’ are among the highlighted alternatives to governmental regulation. While being promoted as an option for governments in the South to make up for lack of sufficient environmental legislation and enforcement, the majority of these examples, however, stem from countries in the North.In terms of public–private partnerships, one of the foremost Danish initiatives is the Green Network in the former county of Vejle. This initiative, initiated by local governments and businesses in the county, currently involves more than 280 partners from both the private and the public sectors (local companies, public bodies and local governments). The network started in 1994 and has grown in size and importance ever since. Fundamentally, it aims at providing new forms of co-operation between public authorities and private companies. The vehicle for this was initially a voluntary environmental statement by companies, who wished to be members. With the passing of time, however, the demands and pressures on both companies and public bodies have increased as has their innovativeness. Hence, the tools and means employed—outside as well as inside the network—have developed accordingly.Even though they are successful in a Northern context, uncritical transfer of such concepts to contexts in the South along with substantial, external donor funding have in many cases led to disappointing outcomes. It is necessary to discuss and be aware of key factors in the institutional set-up and the importance of institutional carriers for the potential success of Green Networks in the South.With reference to at that time ongoing initiatives in Thailand, especially the Cleaner Production for Industrial Efficiency (CPIE) network, and the successful case of Green Network in Denmark, this PhD project sets out to examine and assess these initiatives, discuss them based on an institutional and stakeholder approach (to partnerships) and suggest how the experiences can be understood in their own rights. Inherent in this is the context of development aid.The point of departure is, however, twofold. From one side, university collaborations and from the other a signification of a corporate awakening towards a broader role of business in society and the trend of corporations embracing partnerships. The latter has led many to question the driving factors that motivate corporations to pursue partnerships. Underlying drivers of corporate organizational behaviour include both legitimacy and stakeholder needs.However, with a constant flow of recipes or standards being the order of the day for modern companies and organisations, their survival also relate to their ability to cope with this flow, adopting relevant recipes from it and incorporating these into their organisation - and dispensing with them when they become outmoded. This ability is exhibited by what Røvik (1998) calls the “multi-standard organisation”, and he identifies five fundamental capacities that define it:• High absorption capacity• The capacity to decouple recipes that do not fit in • The ability to translate new recipes in a quick and easy way • The ability to detach old or worn down institutions, and• The ability to preserve and reactivate older forms of institutional recipesAn evaluation of Green Network reveals that the five capacities outlined in Røvik’s theory are all present. Green Network has exhibited a remarkable ability to keep up with trends in the development of the idea of ecological modernisation and sustainable development. They have been able to keep pace with all the important developments during the last almost fifteen years, absorbing what they find important and discarding aspects that do not fit into their vision and programmes. The resulting manuals, tools and ways of propagating knowledge all reflect the “Green Network way of doing things”, i.e. keep it simple, work together and share knowledge.The conclusion is that through dialogue, reflexivity and the establishment of an enabling environment, public–private partnerships can become useful vehicles in societies’ move towards sustainability.In relation to the Thai context, the initial successes of implementing cleaner production through the network approach have been substituted by frustrations of yet another aid-driven project that was unsustainable. This is the point where “universities as development hubs” enters the stage. Capacity-building in environment and development has been implemented and tested over the last decade through university and university consortia networking. Universities from Africa (Botswana and South Africa), Asia (Malaysia and Thailand), Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua) and Europe (Denmark) have collaborated with graduate students and faculty. Initially some programmes emphasised research and others higher education, but eventually a blend of research and higher education appeared to be more productive. Links to external partners in public and private business have been established and proved successful in terms of mutual benefits.Activities comprise evolution of new study curricula (including a shift of the learning paradigm to problem-based and project-organised learning), exchange of students and faculty, joint research and joint development conferences. The results have been promising in terms of concrete results within each type of activity and together they provide vital steps in capacity-building in tertiary education to the benefit of development and environment.Strengthening of tertiary education is assumed to be a prerequisite for economic and democratic development in all countries, be they industrialised, in transition or developing. However, particularly in transition and developing countries there is a need for special support, e.g. through international aid programmes to tertiary education, including research and innovation in an interplay with other research institutions, business and government. Universities should play a central role in such global efforts to strengthen tertiary education. In co-operation with external partners such as business, consultants, NGOs and civil society at large, universities as key agents and providers in new learning, including developing tools such as project-based and problem-oriented learning (PBL) as well as information and communication technology (ICT); as providers of competent and motivated graduates to fill key positions in society; and as indispensable partners in creating the innovative and auto-learning society necessary to curb poverty and facilitate prosperity is emphasised.Modes of operation are still deficient, but ‘‘Public-Private Academic Partnerships’ is suggested as a concept to study further and modify to needs. Some of the results and their implications are presented in this thesis and more are documented in the references that are cited. In short, universities, in joint action with business and society at large, are necessary for constructing and maintaining innovative and sustainable societies.

AB - Moving from largely command and control measures in the 70s and 80s, through cleaner production and self-regulatory initiatives in the 90s, the emphasis in the new millennium is more on using networks and partnerships as levers for promoting a greening of industry. Predominantly since the 1992 Rio Summit, corporations have been increasingly pursuing these partnerships with public institutions including governments, international organizations and NGOs that aim to contribute to sustainable development activities. Partnerships have become more common as corporations react to mounting pressure from corporate stakeholders, civil society and government on the responsible nature of their business practices. So-called ‘Green Networks’, ‘Cleaner Production Centres’, ‘Waste Minimisation Clubs’ are among the highlighted alternatives to governmental regulation. While being promoted as an option for governments in the South to make up for lack of sufficient environmental legislation and enforcement, the majority of these examples, however, stem from countries in the North.In terms of public–private partnerships, one of the foremost Danish initiatives is the Green Network in the former county of Vejle. This initiative, initiated by local governments and businesses in the county, currently involves more than 280 partners from both the private and the public sectors (local companies, public bodies and local governments). The network started in 1994 and has grown in size and importance ever since. Fundamentally, it aims at providing new forms of co-operation between public authorities and private companies. The vehicle for this was initially a voluntary environmental statement by companies, who wished to be members. With the passing of time, however, the demands and pressures on both companies and public bodies have increased as has their innovativeness. Hence, the tools and means employed—outside as well as inside the network—have developed accordingly.Even though they are successful in a Northern context, uncritical transfer of such concepts to contexts in the South along with substantial, external donor funding have in many cases led to disappointing outcomes. It is necessary to discuss and be aware of key factors in the institutional set-up and the importance of institutional carriers for the potential success of Green Networks in the South.With reference to at that time ongoing initiatives in Thailand, especially the Cleaner Production for Industrial Efficiency (CPIE) network, and the successful case of Green Network in Denmark, this PhD project sets out to examine and assess these initiatives, discuss them based on an institutional and stakeholder approach (to partnerships) and suggest how the experiences can be understood in their own rights. Inherent in this is the context of development aid.The point of departure is, however, twofold. From one side, university collaborations and from the other a signification of a corporate awakening towards a broader role of business in society and the trend of corporations embracing partnerships. The latter has led many to question the driving factors that motivate corporations to pursue partnerships. Underlying drivers of corporate organizational behaviour include both legitimacy and stakeholder needs.However, with a constant flow of recipes or standards being the order of the day for modern companies and organisations, their survival also relate to their ability to cope with this flow, adopting relevant recipes from it and incorporating these into their organisation - and dispensing with them when they become outmoded. This ability is exhibited by what Røvik (1998) calls the “multi-standard organisation”, and he identifies five fundamental capacities that define it:• High absorption capacity• The capacity to decouple recipes that do not fit in • The ability to translate new recipes in a quick and easy way • The ability to detach old or worn down institutions, and• The ability to preserve and reactivate older forms of institutional recipesAn evaluation of Green Network reveals that the five capacities outlined in Røvik’s theory are all present. Green Network has exhibited a remarkable ability to keep up with trends in the development of the idea of ecological modernisation and sustainable development. They have been able to keep pace with all the important developments during the last almost fifteen years, absorbing what they find important and discarding aspects that do not fit into their vision and programmes. The resulting manuals, tools and ways of propagating knowledge all reflect the “Green Network way of doing things”, i.e. keep it simple, work together and share knowledge.The conclusion is that through dialogue, reflexivity and the establishment of an enabling environment, public–private partnerships can become useful vehicles in societies’ move towards sustainability.In relation to the Thai context, the initial successes of implementing cleaner production through the network approach have been substituted by frustrations of yet another aid-driven project that was unsustainable. This is the point where “universities as development hubs” enters the stage. Capacity-building in environment and development has been implemented and tested over the last decade through university and university consortia networking. Universities from Africa (Botswana and South Africa), Asia (Malaysia and Thailand), Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua) and Europe (Denmark) have collaborated with graduate students and faculty. Initially some programmes emphasised research and others higher education, but eventually a blend of research and higher education appeared to be more productive. Links to external partners in public and private business have been established and proved successful in terms of mutual benefits.Activities comprise evolution of new study curricula (including a shift of the learning paradigm to problem-based and project-organised learning), exchange of students and faculty, joint research and joint development conferences. The results have been promising in terms of concrete results within each type of activity and together they provide vital steps in capacity-building in tertiary education to the benefit of development and environment.Strengthening of tertiary education is assumed to be a prerequisite for economic and democratic development in all countries, be they industrialised, in transition or developing. However, particularly in transition and developing countries there is a need for special support, e.g. through international aid programmes to tertiary education, including research and innovation in an interplay with other research institutions, business and government. Universities should play a central role in such global efforts to strengthen tertiary education. In co-operation with external partners such as business, consultants, NGOs and civil society at large, universities as key agents and providers in new learning, including developing tools such as project-based and problem-oriented learning (PBL) as well as information and communication technology (ICT); as providers of competent and motivated graduates to fill key positions in society; and as indispensable partners in creating the innovative and auto-learning society necessary to curb poverty and facilitate prosperity is emphasised.Modes of operation are still deficient, but ‘‘Public-Private Academic Partnerships’ is suggested as a concept to study further and modify to needs. Some of the results and their implications are presented in this thesis and more are documented in the references that are cited. In short, universities, in joint action with business and society at large, are necessary for constructing and maintaining innovative and sustainable societies.

KW - Sustainable Development

KW - Environmental Management

KW - Public-Private Partnerships

KW - Institutional Theory

KW - Stakeholder

KW - Networks

M3 - Ph.D. thesis

SN - 87-91646-05-7

BT - Conceptual Developments & Capacity Building in Environmental Networks

CY - Aalborg Universitet

ER -