Radical and incremental, a multi-leverage point approach to transformation in ocean governance

Tegan Evans*, Stephen Fletcher, Pierre Failler, Ruth Fletcher, Jonathan Potts

*Corresponding author for this work

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Urgent change is required in the governance of ocean spaces to contend with the increasing presence and impact of human activities, the solution to which is often labelled a ‘transformation.’ While diverse interpretations of this concept exist across academic disciplines, a grounded exploration of the subject with those involved in ocean governance has not been undertaken and is a critical gap in the practical implementation of the concept. Leverage points have been not only identified as a mechanism for change, but also face similar research challenges. Therefore, this research aimed to identify, through 24 expert and practitioner interviews, what exactly transformation means in the context of ocean governance, and how it can be achieved through a leverage points approach. While reactions to and perceptions of the concept were mixed, several definitions of transformation were identified, ultimately hinging on incremental and radical change to define character. A multi-intervention ‘puzzle’ style of leverage points is advocated for. Therefore, ocean governance transformation is proposed to be achieved through a model that recognises the utility and benefits of both radical and incremental change and employs a multi-leverage approach, using interventions at varying depths across the system.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSustainability Science
Early online date6 May 2024
Publication statusEarly online - 6 May 2024


  • Leverage points
  • Ocean governance
  • Sustainability
  • System thinking
  • Transformation

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