Modern social systems are characterized by complex patterns of interdependencies between actors, institutions, functional activities, and spatial organizations. Controlling, managing, or even steering the complex, fragmented, and often competing societal interests is beyond the capacity of the state as an agent of authority. This is important for dealing with risks, in particular in cases of high uncertainty and ambiguity (Klinke and Renn, 2002).
The term “governance” in its widest sense can be understood as the following. At the national level, it characterizes the structure and processes for collective decision making involving governmental and non-governmental actors (Nye and Donahue, 2000). At the global level, “governance embodies a horizontally organized structure of functional self-regulation encompassing state and non-state actors bringing about collectively binding decision without superior authority” (see Rosenau, 1992; Wolf, 2002).
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