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Victoria University of Wellington

Valentina Dinica web

AProf. Dinica is an expert in governance and regulation for sustainability, with expertise in sustainable nature-based tourism. She has extensive research and teaching experience on how to design, implement, monitor and evaluate policy and legal instruments, partnerships, citizen engagement approaches and multi-level governance arrangements to safeguard ecological values in the context of increased societal demands for the consumptive and non-consumptive use of natural resources. Her published work includes contributions to (concession- and planning-based) regulation theories for environmentally-sustainable tourism in Protected Areas and policy implementation frameworks for eco-effectiveness. She is currently working on a book manuscript for Edward Elgar Publishing entitled “Protected Areas at Crossroads: Regulation, Science and Tourism”. In this book she develops and applies a spectrum approach to the regulation of nature-based tourism that better reflects the often variable ecological values and feasible regulatory eco-objectives - as confirmed by science - for individual (networks of) Protected Areas. This original work has significant potential to inform the governance and regulation of tourism in Antarctica, and Antarctic governance more generally.

Throughout her academic career in New Zealand and The Netherlands, Dr. Dinica contributed to externally-funded research of over $1 US dollars at the nexus of ecological-sustainability and fit-for-purpose regulatory frameworks. She is currently a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, including the Biodiversity Work Group of the Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group. She convenes the Environmental Policy and Politics Network of the Political Science Association of New Zealand. She served as Director of Undergraduate Programs in Public Policy at Victoria University of Wellington and in the university’s Distinctiveness Theme Steering Committee on Sustainability and Resilience. She regularly reviews research proposals for several national European research funding agencies and numerous Q1 journals.

  • Research projects/interests:
    • Integrating conceptual frameworks on the precautionary principle and resilience thinking towards futureproof governance frameworks for environmental sustainability (project starting in 2020; please get in touch if interested).
    • refining and operationalizing key procedural policy instruments such as Strategic Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Assessments to better integrate with land planning tools and better serve nature-based tourism, particularly in areas currently designated as wilderness, such as Antarctica.
    • developing and applying a spectrum approach to the regulation of tourism in Protected Areas and other nature areas on high demand for tourism/non-commercial recreation.

  • For publications visit:
  • To get in touch: email
  • Areas of interest: polar governance, policy and regulation, including:
    • operationalizing the precautionary principle in governance and regulation;
    • the coherent and effective integration of governance for resilience principles and the precautionary principle of strong sustainability;
    • environmentally-sound tourism: regulation, implementation, monitoring, evaluation;
    • interplays between environmental values and science (both with respect to scientific evidence and indeterminable irreduceable uncertainties);
    • citizen and decision-makers’ engagements with scientists and scientific outputs;
    • global environmental politics and environmental governance.