Ediorial: Adaptive Territorial Governance in the Face of COVID-19

Annual Review of Territorial Governance in the Western Balkans, II, 2020, 08-18 Journal

Giancarlo Cotella


During the last few decades, extreme weather events and global and regional economic crises have been forcing us to rethink the way that governments approach territorial development.The inherent links between social, economic, and ecological systems are proving to be increasingly significant, and exist only in a complex whole characterised by multiple feedbacks (Berkes et al. 2002). In this light, managing the relationship between the social, economic, and ecological aspects of development is of paramount importance for those interested in establishing sustainable development trajectories in the long-run. This is particularly true since the COVID-19 pandemic has added further entropy to the picture of socio-ecological interactions. During the early stages of the pandemic, decision making, regulations, and communication had converged at the national level. However, throughout the course of the pandemic, there has been growing room for improvement in policy-making. As such, there is a need to rethink development objectives and their governance according to a new long-term perspective – one that takes better account of different issues and needs. Key concepts such as multi-level governance, place-based development, circular economy, and the localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals can all help Western Balkan countries to achieve a better quality of life while preserving productivity, social inclusion, and the environment (Cotella and Vitale Brovarone, 2020).

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