AGCI research programme: Governance and Policy Studies

AGCI postdoc: Ayşem Mert

Conceptualising democratic accountability measures for hybrid environmental governance mechanisms


This postdoc project aims to conceptualise accountability and transparency mechanisms for the most wide-spread, most well-known, and most market-based types of hybrid governance mechanisms (HGM) on climate change and biodiversity. While hybrid governance mechanisms (HGM) are often introduced as a means to enhance the democratic quality of environmental governance by more inclusive, participatory processes, their democratic potential is found to have repeatedly been compromised by economic incentives. In the context of neo-liberal globalization that shifts power from the political to the economic sphere, the HGM often defuse the radical potential of civic critique and start functioning as a legitimizing strategy of global capital. However, at the global level, there are very few and only fragmented mechanisms to ensure the democratic legitimacy of HGM, their accountability and transparency. Moreover, there is no legal authority to petition in case of undesired consequences or governance failures. In other words, there is little incentive for the HGM to act responsibly, as the liabilities are obscured. Hence, new mechanisms of governance require new mechanisms of checks and balances, specifically designed for global environmental governance.

Short CV

Ayşem Mert, PhD. is a post-doctoral researcher at the Amsterdam Global Change Institute (AGCI) and a research fellow with the Earth System Governance Project. She holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Social Sciences from Boğaziçi University, Istanbul (2005), and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the International University of Japan, Niigata (2002). Her PhD research focused on public-private and private-private governance arrangements in sustainability policy from a discourse theoretical perspective, soon to be published with Edward Elgar. Her research appeared at Environmental Values, MIT Press, International Journal of Illich Studies, Forest Policy and Economics among others. Her current research interests include critical theory, democratization, transnational governance, eco-political movements, discourse theory, interpretivist policy research, and ecocriticism.

Previously, Ayşem worked for various research companies as well as Greenpeace Mediterranean, conducting political and social research in Turkey. She is an editor for Üç Ekoloji (Three Ecologies), a journal on politics, nature and philosophy, and the co-editor of the Earth System Governance Working Papers. She has volunteered for various NGOs focusing on peace and environmental issues, and is a founding member of the Green Party of Turkey.

Link to detailed CV

Academic training

2012PhD, Political Science, VU University, Amsterdam
2005MSc, Environmental Social Sciences, Bogazici University
2002MA, International Relations, International University of Japan
1999BA, Political Science and International Relations, Bogazici University

Professional employment history

2007 - 2011PhD researcher, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University Amsterdam
2004 - 2005Part-time Researcher and Supporter Services Officer, Greenpeace Mediterranean, Turkey
2002 - 2003Research Coordinator, Konsensus Research and Consultancy, Istanbul
1999 - 2000Researcher, IBS Research and Consultancy, Istanbul



Academic Work

Mert, A. (forthcoming, 2013) Environmental Governance through Transnational Partnerships: A Discourse Theoretical Study, Edward Elgar.

Mert, A. (forthcoming, 2013) “Participation as a Legitimation Strategy in Global Governance,” Globalizations.

Mert, A. (forthcoming, 2012) “Discursive Interplay and Co-constitution: Carbonification of Environmental Discourses” In: Methmann, C., D. Rothe and B. Stephan (eds.),      (De-)Constructing the Greenhouse: Interpretive Approaches to Global Climate Governance, Routledge.

Mert, A. (2012) “The Privatisation of Environmental Governance: On myths, forces of nature and other inevitabilities” Environmental Values 21 (4).

Pattberg, P., and M. Chan, A. Mert, F. Biermann (2012) Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Emergence, Influence and Legitimacy, Edward Elgar.

Bäckstrand K., and S. Campe, S. Chan, A. Mert, M. Schäfferhof (2012) “Transnational Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development” In: Biermann, F. and P. Pattberg (eds.) Global Environmental Governance Reconsidered: New Actors, Mechanisms, and Interlinkages, MIT Press.

Compagnon D., S. Chan, and A. Mert (2012) “The Changing Role of the State in Contemporary Global Governance” In: Biermann, F. and P. Pattberg (eds.) Global Environmental Governance Reconsidered: New Actors, Mechanisms, and Interlinkages, MIT Press.

Mert, A., and E. Dellas (2011) “Technology Transfer through Water Partnerships: A Radical Framework of Assessment for Legitimacy.” Global Governance Working Paper No 42. Amsterdam: The Global Governance Project.

Mert, A. (2010) “The disappearance of the political subject: Barry Sanders’ Unsuspecting SoulsThe International Journal of Illich Studies, Volume 1, Issue 2, September 2010.

Mert, A. (2009) “Partnerships for Sustainable Development as Discursive Practice: Shifts in Discourses of Environment and Democracy,” Forest Policy and Economics, Volume 11, Issues 5-6, October 2009, 326-339.

Pattberg, P., and K. Szulecki, S. Chan and A. Mert (2009) “Assessing the Role and Relevance of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership in Global Sustainability Governance,” In: D. Vollmer (ed.), Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships, Washington DC, US National Academies Press: 97-129.

Chan, S., and F. Biermann, A. Mert, P. Pattberg (2008) “Partnerschappen voor duurzame ontwikkeling,” In: S. van den Burg, G. Spaargaren, and D. van Lith (eds.), Een andere rol voor de overheid?, Wageningen Universiteit: 65-70.

Mert, A. (2008) “Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Shifts in Discourses of Environment and Democracy” In: Böcher, M., L. Giessen, D. Kleinschmit (Eds.) Environmental and Forest Governance: The Role of Discourses and Expertise, Universitätsverlag Göttingen.

Biermann, F. and M. Chan, A. Mert, P. Pattberg (2007) Multi-stakeholder Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Does the Promise Hold? In: Glasbergen, P., F. Biermann, and A. Mol (eds.), Partnerships, Governance and Sustainable Development: Reflections on Theory and Practice, Edward Elgar.

Biermann, F. and M. Chan, A. Mert, P. Pattberg (2007) “Partnerships for Sustainable Development: An Appraisal Framework,” Global Governance Working Paper No 31. Amsterdam: The Global Governance Project.

Mert, A. (2003) “Human-Nature Relationship in Japanese Culture and Its Effects on Environmental Politicisation in Japan,” Proceedings of Third HICSS Conference, June 2003.

Mert, A. (2003) “Human Perceptions of Nature as the Basis of Environmental Ethics: Looking Beyond Humanity,” Proceedings of Second ESEH Conference, Prague, September 2003.

Keskin M., and A. Mert (2002) “Türkiye'de Enerji ve Çevre Konusunda Yapılan Hataların Laboratuvarı: Yatağan-Yeniköy-Gökova Termik Santralları (A Laboratory of Mistakes on Energy and Environment: Yatağan-Yeniköy-Gökova Power Plants)” Mühendis & Makina, June 2002, Issue 509, 24-36.

Non-academic Work

Parçalı Kimliklerin Yeşil Siyaseti (A Green Politics of Fragmented Identities); Üç Ekoloji, Summer 2010 (8) 16-28.

Umut İnsanda? Nükleer Kabullere Bir Bakış (Studying the Premises of ‘The Nuclear Renaissance’); Üç Ekoloji, Winter 2008/2009 (7) 151-179.

Bilimsel Düşüncenin Sınırları ve Ekolojik Kriz (The Limits of Scientific Thought and the Ecological Crisis); Varlık, August 2006.

Devrim 1859’da Oldu! (The Revolution Took Place in 1859!); Üç Ekoloji, Summer 2006 (6) 153-160.

STKlar ve Karşıt-üretkenlik (NGOs and Counterproductivity); Üç Ekoloji, Autumn 2005 (4) 179-184.

Reprinted twice: “Sivil Toplum Kuruluşları ve Karşıt-üretkenlik” in Prensese Mektuplar, (March 2011) and selected for print, as one of the best online articles in Spring 2011: Exdergi, March-May 2011 (1-2) 52-58.

Ancillary activities

Working Paper Series Editor of the Global Governance and Earth System Governance Projects