Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through good enough governance
lessons from Argentine and Brazilian Municipalities
This article analyses how two environmental “good enough-governance” approaches in climate change vulnerable areas in Argentine (Pampa biome) and Brazilian (Amazon biome) municipalities have the potential of contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals 12 (responsible consumption and production), 13 (climate action), 15 (life on land), 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), and 17 (partnerships for the goals). Local public officials from Brazil often by-pass frustrating bureaucracy by transferring their own public responsibilities to NGOs (subsidiarity principle). Argentine public servants, on the other hand, are frequently filling the gaps left by the fragile vertical integration of environmental actions through bottom-up, horizontal initiatives among municipalities. Both approaches show strengths but also fragilities, such as the lack of policy continuity. In spite of the socio-environmental differences, many Brazilian and Argentine local agents are developing a common array of individual and social “soft skills” which are usually attributed to NGOs: goal-oriented, innovative thinking, teamwork, integration and flexibility, all necessary to the localization of the Agenda 2030. Environmental institutions and norms at the local level could be rearranged to worship these soft skills in the public sector by putting people at the centre of adaptive decision-making through capacity development, career incentives and accountability.
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