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Environmental Administration and Policy

Code: 102815 ECTS Credits: 3
Degree Type Year Semester
2501915 Environmental Sciences OB 2 2


Carola Castella Josa

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


This is an introductory course because it’s the first subject of “Political Science" that is offered in the Degree in Environmental Sciences. Consequently, prior academic requirements for its follow-up cannot be considered. However, the habit of reading in the written or digital press news related to politics and administration and a participatory political culture by students are considered favourable. The continuous evaluation -with tutoring and seminars- of this subject, makes face-to-face attendance essential in most of its sessions.

Objectives and Contextualisation

Despite the title of the subject (Administration and Environmental Policies) we will start from the premise that the public administration is not the only, not even the main, political actor in the elaboration of environmental policies and the promotion of sustainable development. In this sense, it seems much more opportune to talk about environmental governance, understood as that network of political actors (public and private) and interactions between these actors, which allows decisions to be made that affect environmental policies and sustainable development.

The introductory and very synthetic nature (3 ECTS) of this subject limits the scope, but not the transcendence of its objectives. For this, a strategic approach is necessary in the design of its contents: it will not be so much to deepen in technical or descriptive aspects of the subject (Political Science / Administration Science) as to predispose the student for an understanding policy of environmental problems and sustainability. The collective and conflictual (political) nature of environmental problems requires an approach that is facilitative and oriented towards transformation. In this sense, we have considered it appropriate to give relevance to concepts such as "environmental governance" or "transition to sustainability" and make them the backbone of the contents of this subject. These concepts cannot be included in a conventional agenda of Political Science or Science of Administration and, therefore, are of little use for this subject, the follow-up of manuals or the performance of theoretical exams. This, as we will see in "Methodology", also reflected in the teaching method.

The study and understanding of the governance processes that favour the transition towards sustainability is, in short, the main objective of this subject.

In a more explicit and concrete way we can list the objectives that are derived:

• Understand and assess the political nature of environmental problems and conflicts; of sustainable development as a political, economic, social and cultural commitment for the future.

• Identify and study the main political actors, their resources and instruments in the management of environmental problems and sustainability.

• Understand the concept of "environmental governance" to favour processes of "transition towards sustainability".

• Acquire the skills and abilities necessary to know how to apply the concepts of "environmental governance" and "transition towards sustainability" to specific cases (specific territorial and sectoral areas).


  • Adequately convey information verbally, written and graphic, including the use of new communication and information technologies.
  • Analyze and use information critically.
  • Demonstrate adequate knowledge and use the tools and concepts of the most relevant social science environment.
  • Demonstrate concern for quality and praxis.
  • Demonstrate initiative and adapt to new situations and problems.
  • Information from texts written in foreign languages.
  • Teaming developing personal values regarding social skills and teamwork.
  • Work autonomously

Learning Outcomes

  1. Adequately convey information verbally, written and graphic, including the use of new communication and information technologies.
  2. Analyze and critically assess the functioning of the various state political institutions.
  3. Analyze and use information critically.
  4. Demonstrate concern for quality and praxis.
  5. Demonstrate initiative and adapt to new situations and problems.
  6. Describe the main elements of the political process: socialization, attitudes and political ideologies.
  7. Information from texts written in foreign languages.
  8. Make a diagnosis of the problems of conflict and cooperation to the countries, regions and areas of the international system as it takes.
  9. Make a diagnosis of the problems of security and development to countries, regions and areas of the international system as it takes.
  10. Political actors describe and critically evaluate the political behavior in different socio-political and historical contexts.
  11. Show whether these policies cause conflicts or respond to a consensus.
  12. Teaming developing personal values regarding social skills and teamwork.
  13. Use this demonstration to be interpreted as embodying a political decision.
  14. Work autonomously



1. What is the policy? Conflict management and provision of public goods. Sustainability as a public good.

2. The tragedy of the commons as a metaphor for the political management of sustainability. Sustainability and governance of the commons.

3. Politics and political power: resources and strategies. Political power, legitimacy and coercion.

4. The political system: political actors, institutions and decisions. The concept of governance.


5. What are public policies? Political system and public policies. Sustainability and environmental policies.

6. Who makes public policies? Political actors, resources, interests and belief systems.

7. Networks of actors and policies. The concept of promoter coalition.

8. How are the policies made? Cycle and phases of elaboration.


 9. The concept of governance. Environmental governance and environmental policy.

10. Environmental governance and transitions towards sustainability.


The teaching method proposed for this subject, pursues that the student acquires the competences and
necessary skills to achieve the aforementioned objectives.

• Learning through participatory forms in class (reading seminars and tutorials)
• The use of the virtual campus (moodle classroom) as well as the attendance to courses, seminars or
conferences that take place inside and outside the Faculty.
• The convenience of approaching case studies as an approximation to the practical knowledge of
this subject. The final works of course will follow this methodological perspective and will be supervised by
the teacher.

The student's dedication to this subject is divided into several types of activities, each one of them
with a determined weight of working hours.

This subject is of 3 ECTS, that is, it implies a total dedication of the student of 75 hours.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Group tutorials (and compulsory) for the elaboration of a final course project (classroom practices) 2 0.08 3, 5, 4, 10, 7, 1, 12
Master classes 20 0.8 2, 10, 6
Seminars Required reading 6 0.24 3, 2, 10, 6, 7, 1
Type: Supervised      
Preparation of a final course project 25 1 3, 2, 5, 4, 10, 6, 7, 1, 14, 12
Type: Autonomous      
Study of the notes and the basic and complementary readings 18.5 0.74 3, 2, 4, 10, 6, 7, 14


The evaluation items of this subject are 3:

 1) A control over the contents of the subject that will be done at the end of the syllabus and which will include the readings worked in the seminars. This test will be worth 40% of the final course mark and can be recovered at the end of the course. A score of less than 5 prevents doing the average with the mark of the course work and, therefore, it entails suspending the subject.

 2) The preparation of a final collective work (minimum 3 maximum 4 members) that will be worth 40% of the final mark of course.

And 10% of the final grade corresponds to the obligatory attendance of at least 2 active tutorials. A work score of less than 5 makes it impossible to make an average with the note of the control of contents and, therefore, it entails suspending the subject. Work note can not be retrieved.

 3) Attendance and participation in classes. That will represent 10% of the final year course.


The proposed evaluation method ponders the relative importance given to the type of competence that the student must achieve in this subject:

 1) Evaluate the acquisition of individual and collective competences:

 - With individual control over the contents of the subject and the readings (40% of the final grade) and the compulsory tutorials (10% of the mark of the course work) the individual competences are evaluated of the student. The final course work note evaluates the collective competences of its signatories.

 2) Think of the relative weight that must have the systemic powers (understanding of the matter) imetodológicos:

 -The control over the contents of the subject (40%) aims to evaluate basically the individual systemic capacities of the student, while the control over the follow-up of the tutorials on the work (10% of the final grade) On the other hand, in relation to competences of a more methodological nature (operationalization and application of theoretical concepts to specific cases).

 3) Includes the evidence of individual and collective communicative abilities:

-The course work must be presented publicly by all its signatories, in an agreed format (poster, power-point or other) by those who sign the work. This presentation will be evaluated and will be part of the global mark of the course work.

Finally, the unique and shared note of the course work (40% of the final grade of the subject) will try to put into evidence the balance between the abovementioned competences (individual, collective, systemic, methodological, communicative) achieved, - lectively, for its signatories.

To ask for a reevaluation the student must have been received a mark in activities that represent at least 2/3 of the global mark during the course.

The reevaluation exercise will consist of an individual control over the contents of the subject that will represent 40% of the final evaluation.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Individual control over the progress of the final work of course in tutorials 10% 1 0.04 3, 2, 10, 7, 1, 14
Individual exam over the content of the subject 40% 1.5 0.06 2, 10, 6, 7, 1, 14
Participation and assistance 10% 0.5 0.02 2, 11, 10, 6, 13
Presentation and collective delivery of a final project course 40% 0.5 0.02 3, 2, 5, 4, 11, 10, 6, 8, 9, 1, 14, 12, 13



The student of this subject will have an electronic dossier with guaranteed bibliographic links. However, we consider that the following references can be considered as interesting readings for this subject:


Alfama E. et alt. (2007) Per una nova cultura del territori? Mobilitzacions i conflictes territorials, Icària: Barcelona.

Casademunt, A. (1998): L’interès empresarial de les polítiques ambientals. Barcelona:IEC

Dente, B. (ed.) (1995): Environmental policy in search of new instruments. London:Kluwer Acadaemic Publishers.

Dietz, T; Stern, P.C. (eds.) (2008): Public Participation in Environmental Assesment and decision making. The national Academic Press. Washington, D.C.

Font, J., Font, N. i Subirats, J. (2002): “Las Agendas 21 Locales; la experiencia de Barcelona en perspectiva comparada”, en Blanco, I y Gomà, R. (eds.), Gobiernos Locales y Redes Participativas, Barcelona: Ariel.

Ostrom, Elinor (1990): Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, Cambridge University Press. (Trad.)Elinor Ostrom (2000),. El gobierno de los bienes comunes. La evolución de las instituciones de acción colectiva, México, UNAM-CRIM-FCE

Subirats Joan, Peter Knoepfel, Corinne Larrue, Frédéric Varone (2008): Análisis y gestión de políticas públicas. Barcelona: Ariel.

Subirats, J.; Dente, B. (2014) Decisiones públicas. Barcelona: Ariel

Tello, E.; Jover, G. (2019) “Polítiques i conflictes ambientals a Catalunya 1972 – 2017” cap. 5 (pp. 83 – 98) a Gomà, R.; Subirats, J. (Coords.) (2019) Canvi d’època i polítiques públiques a Catalunya. Barcelona:Galàxia Gutenberg. 

Vallès, J. M.; Martí i Puig, S. (2015): Ciencia Política. Barcelona: Ariel

Jan-Peter Voss, Dierk Bauknecht, René Kemp (2006):Reflexive governance for sustainable development, Edward Elgar Publishing.


The use of a specific program is not foreseen.