Seminar - Architectures of responsibility: Understanding obligations for biodiversity in polycentric governance – the case of the UK Overseas Territories

Addressing the question of ‘who is responsible for nature?’ is ever more pressing as biodiversity loss gains prominence as an issue of concern. While nation states, such as Australia and the UK, may be legally responsible for their international obligations under the United Nations; businesses, NGOs and other communities also have obligations to grapple with.

This talk seeks to navigate these architectures of responsibility for biodiversity. It focuses on the complex polycentric governance context of the 14 UK Overseas Territories, drawing on social research with government, scientific and civil society professionals involved in environmental management. The talk will tease out how different environmental actors settle on different definitions of responsibility and thereby demand different resources in order to enact their obligations. Creating architectures of responsibility that are mutually supporting – cutting across legal, moral and professional obligations for nature – is likely to be important for sustaining robust biodiversity into the future.


About the Speaker

Jasper Montana is a Research Fellow in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. His current research, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, seeks to explore the foundations of governance systems for biodiversity in the UK Overseas Territories. Focusing on institutions, responsibilities, knowledges, territories and subjects, he is interested in the role of human values in shaping organisational responses to environmental change.