The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted by the United Nations in September 2015 are universally applicable in all 193 UN Member States and connect the big challenges of our time, such as hunger and poverty, climate change, health in an urbanised environment, sustainable energy, mobility, economic development and environmental degradation. Sustainability has the characteristics of a ‘wicked problem’, for which there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.

This book tests the hypothesis that the implementation of sustainable development, and in particular the 2015 SDGs, requires tailor-made metagovernance or ‘governance of governance’. This is necessary to develop effective governance and high quality and inclusive public administration and to foster policy and institutional coherence to support implementing the SDGs. Based on the growing literature on governance and metagovernance, and taking into account the specificities of societal factors such as different values and traditions in different countries, the book presents a framework for the design and management of SDG implementation. It shows how hierarchical, network and market governance styles can be combined and how governance failure can be prevented or dealt with. The book presents an overview of fifty ‘shades of governance’ which differ for each governance style, and a sketch of a concrete method to apply sustainability metagovernance.

Metagovernance for Sustainability is relevant to academic and practitioner fields across many disciplines and problem areas. It will be of particular interest to scholars, students and policy-makers studying Sustainable Development, Governance and Metagovernance, Public Management and Capacity Building.

part 1|106 pages

What and for what is governance?

chapter 1|18 pages


The problem with sustainability governance

chapter 2|24 pages

Three governance styles and their hybrids

chapter 3|27 pages

Governance failures and their causes

chapter 4|35 pages

Introducing metagovernance

Governance of governance

part 2|84 pages

Features of metagovernance

chapter 5|51 pages

Fifty shades of governance

A toolbox

chapter 7|18 pages

Mind-sets and mental silos

Rise and fall of simple switches

part 3|106 pages

Metagovernance for sustainability

chapter 9|23 pages


Sketching a method

chapter 11|20 pages


Metagovernance as framework for SDG implementation